Category Archives: Proofreader

More Practical Tips from a Grammar Goddess


In the past I’ve referred to myself as “Grammar Nazi” and “Grammar Police,” but I much prefer a recent moniker given to me by one of my talented authors: “guru goddess of editing and formatting,” which I’ve shortened to Grammar Goddess. This title implies benevolence and forgiveness, so it suits me quite well. (Stop laughing.)  And it flows off the tongue better than the other terms. Now I just need to create a logo. 😉

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s continue my “Mind You’re Grammar” series. Part I is HERE and Part II (Deux) is HERE. And HERE is a related post about why you shouldn’t be the only editor of your own work. If you haven’t read them already, go ahead and do so. I’ll wait for you to catch up.

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By Amador Loureiro

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Amador Loureiro

 

All finished? Ready for the next lesson? Here we go then.

  • “They both” and “We both.” When there are two people in a scene and both are doing the same thing, there’s no need to say “they both” or “we both.” There are only two people. The “both” is implied by “they/we.” Like so: “We decided to go to the movies.” Instead of: “We both decided to go to the movies.” You can USE “both” in this case, but it’s redundant, and if I’m your editor, I’m going to edit out that word. Just so you know.
  • “With his hands raised in the air…” Yes…of course…”raised” implies they’re in the air. If he’s going to hold his hands straight in front of him, you would say “With his hands held in front of him, palms facing me…” or some such. Or if his hands were hanging down by his sides, you would say, “His hands were relaxed, his arms hanging at his sides.” See the difference?
  • Awe vs Awww. I see this SO often, my fingers literally itch to edit…even Facebook posts, which is where I see it most often. Since the “e” is silent in any case, I understand how it can be confusing. That’s why I’m talking about it. 🙂 Awe is an expression of reverence. Aw (followed by how ever many ws you want to add (Awwwww) is used to express disgust or disbelief, sentiment or approval.
  • Flea vs flee. I know they sound the same and there’s only one letter difference, so it can be tricky, but a “Flee Market” is so much different than a “Flea Market.” The latter is where you purchase new and gently used goods that other people want to get rid of. The former is a market that I imagine only law enforcement would be interested in attending. (I don’t know why it’s referred to as a “flea” market, since, as far as I know, no one has ever tried to sell actual fleas at a market before.)affect
  • Affect vs Effect. Sneaky words. Only one letter different, but it can make or break the meaning of a sentence. Affect is a verb. Effect is a noun. Like so: “Together, we can affect the world.” And: “The law goes into effect at midnight.” And because the English language just CAN’T be that simple to understand, there are exceptions for both words. Affect can be a noun: “The suspect displayed no affect when confronted with his victims’ accusations.” And effect, when used with an object, can be a verb (this is usually political terminology): “We will effect those changes next week.”

Got all that? Are there any words and/or phrases you have difficulty with in your writing? Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. 🙂

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Filed under Editor, Literary, Literature, Proofreader, Writing

Being Thankful Isn’t Just for the Holiday Season


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Chelsea Francis

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Chelsea Francis

We’re now fully involved in the holiday season. Thanksgiving was a few weeks ago, and Hanukkah recently past. So I thought it would be a good time to list the things for which I’m thankful.

All too often we talk about what’s wrong with the world, because, let’s face it, most of us believe we have ideas to make the world a better place. And so many of those ideas are REALLY good ones. And sometimes, we even have the opportunity to implement those ideas and the world DOES become just a little better.

And you know what? That’s one of the things for which I’m thankful – the great ideas that make our world a better place in which to live. Things like feeding the poor. Whether it be domestic food banks that operate on a consistent basis, or charitable foundations that raise money to feed our fellows in third-world countries. All are equally worthy of our gratitude and support. You never know when you’ll be one of those people in need of such a service.

I’m thankful for The Salvation Army bell-ringers who appear during this time of year dressed as Santa and his Elves, urging us to be more charitable than usual during the “season of giving.” Without The Salvation Army and those bell-ringers who give of their time to raise money for the destitute, there would probably be MORE people in need during this time of year.

I’m thankful for my job. Working for the government – at any level – can be a chancy thing. Politics and all that. But despite the often prickly politics one must be wary of and learn to navigate with care and agility, I enjoy the challenges and benefits of civil service. The government is the best employer I’ve ever had, bar none. It’s much more secure than the private sector, and turnover is less of an issue. For instance, I’ve been working for this particular government agency for more than a decade. Longer than any other previous employer. We’ve had our differences of opinion and I’ve butted heads with a few people, but overall, I’m very thankful to be working at my agency.

The Garfinkles: Hayden (my kiddo), Heather (SIL), Bill (dad) holding Haleigh (niece), Pam (mom); Kevin ("baby" brother), Asher (nephew), Steven (oldest younger brother), Me.

The Garfinkles, 2015: Hayden (my kiddo), Heather (SIL), Bill (dad) holding Haleigh (niece), Pam (mom); Kevin (“baby” brother), Asher (nephew), Steven (oldest younger brother), Me.

My family has been one of my biggest blessings. I’m so fortunate to have supportive, loving parents, and brothers with whom I (usually) get along. Then there’s my lovely, vertically-challenged, hyper-energetic sister-in-law (who often makes me tired just looking at her) – my baby brother’s wife – and their 2 children. My nephew and niece are stinking adorable and I love to spoil them.

My son is a blessing…when he’s not being a brat. He’ll be 15 next month (!!!!). He’s in that awkward stage between childhood and manhood, without the steady, loving guidance of a father. I try to be both mother and father, but am aware that I often fall short. He lives with ADHD and Asperger’s and his mother suffers anxiety and depression and para-menopause, both with strong-willed personalities, so we tend to butt heads a lot. What a pair we are! I pray we survive his teenage years and my para-menopause-ism with our sanity (relatively) intact. And you know what? Based on the moments of brilliance and maturity he sometimes displays, my kiddo is going to be awesome some day. 🙂

Almost 10 years ago, I went under the knife – for my eyes. Lasik ROCKS! I’m thankful that my resulting 20/15 vision still holds up. Lasik surgery is guaranteed for 10 years; 2 months away from my 10th anniversary of this procedure, my eyes are still going strong. Hopefully they’ll continue that way for another 10 years. (Fingers and toes crossed!) Don’t know if I’ll be able to afford this surgery again any time soon…even with the help of insurance. Of course, reading glasses would probably look kinda sexy on me right about now. 😉

This is Gravity.

I’m so blessed to be an integral member of Gravity Imprint, and Booktrope as a whole. I joined Booktrope as an author in 2013, and have never regretted that decision. Since 2014, when I began taking on proofing and editing projects at Booktrope, I’ve honed my editing skills even more and met some fabulous people who I’m honored to call friends. Almost a year ago now, I was offered the opportunity to be an editor/proofreader for the new Gravity Imprint. I accepted, and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. We’re a close-knit, supportive group, directed by the inimitable Rachel Thompson. (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence.) 😉

As much as I have to be thankful for during the holiday season – when there’s actually a little bit of breathing room to stop and count one’s blessings – these are gifts that truly do keep on giving all year long.

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Filed under ADHD, Anxiety, Blogging, Booktrope, Editor, Family, Gravity Imprint, Life, Proofreader, Thankful, Writing

This is the Reason Editing Your Own Work is a Bad Idea


Source: Unsplash.com/AlejandroEscamilla

Source: Unsplash.com/AlejandroEscamilla

I’d like to share writing no-nos (aka Turtle Editor Wendy’s writing pet peeves) I’ve “collected” during my years of editing and proofreading. I’ll be gentle (I hope) and no names will be mentioned. This isn’t intended to be a “roasting” session, rather, a humorous, helpful post about some things to avoid when polishing your work before sending it off to your Editor. It’s easy to miss some things after writing your new Shiny and reading it a bazillion times (even we editors make mistakes *gasp*) , but if you do any of the things I mention here, trust me, you’ll be more aware of them next time. 🙂

Let’s dive right in, shall we? 😉

  1. Twelve Noon & Twelve Midnight. Really? So Noon & Midnight need to be specifically at “twelve?” They can’t be “One Noon” and “Three Midnight?” If they’re always the same – twelve o’clock p.m. for Noon & twelve o’clock a.m. for Midnight, then WHY in the name of all things holy do we need to specify that they are at “twelve?” Please break yourselves of this habit. Twelve p.m. is noon and twelve a.m. is midnight. Period. End of story. If your readers don’t know that, then they may need to go back to elementary school to learn the basics.
  2. “She nodded her head.” Well, what else are you going to nod, your finger? I suppose that’s possible, but why? When you NOD, it’s a given that the item being nodded is your head. You don’t need to say “her head.” You don’t usually “nod” your finger or your hand; you wave a finger, wave a hand. Nodding is usually reserved for your head. Contrarily, “He shook his head no.” In this case, you’ll need to add “his head” because if you write it as “He shook no,” it makes no sense. Many things can be shaken – heads, feet, hands, etc., so you need to specify WHAT was shaken/shook.
  3. “Every step you take, every move you make, I’ll be watching you.” Please don’t tell the reader every move your character makes. Unless they have a disability or infirmity that keepIf you don't like my edits...s them from walking upright, we know they stepped inside the room, shut the door with their hand (as opposed to their foot, maybe?), turned into the room away from the door, walked across the room to the window and opened the curtain to let in the light. We just don’t need all of that; it’s over-sharing (like telling us about the tinkling of urine in the pot as your heroine emptied her bladder…okay, maybe THAT’S more in the vein of TMI, but surely you get my point), and boring. It doesn’t further the action and frustrates the heck out of your editor. Simply tell us that “She entered the room, closed the door behind her and walked to the window, drew back the curtains to let in the sunlight.” See how much cleaner and succinct that is? And your editor won’t scream at you in her head…or leave lots of red marks all over your manuscript.
  4. Stood, not “stood up.” Now this is a personal choice. It seems obvious to me that if a person stands/stood, then they’re standing “up.” But they could also be standing down. This is most common in military or paramilitary (law enforcement) settings. “I said stand down, soldier!” Rarely would someone not affiliated with either military or paramilitary tell someone to “stand down.” Therefore, whenever you write, “She stood up and walked across the room,” the “up” isn’t really necessary. “She stood and walked across the room” is sufficient. Now what I mean by this being a “personal choice.” I’ve edited manuscripts in which the author wrote “stood up” and I’ve left it in. For me, it’s about how the sentence flows around “stood up.” If it seems awkward and “stood” trips easier off the tongue (yes, I often edit aloud), then I’ll edit out “up.” But if it doesn’t mess with the flow of the action, then I’ll often leave it alone. 🙂
  5. Wake me (up) before you go. Another personal choice. Sometimes you need to tell us your character “woke up” and other times, “she awoke” or “please wake him.” Similar to “stood” and “stood up,” whether or not I give the writer a slash of the red pen (metaphorically speaking, because often my edits appear in blue or purple…) depends on how “wake him up” flows with the action taking place within the context of the phrase. If your character is yelling in someone’s ear, “Wake up!” then yes, we want to keep the “up.” If your character “wakes each morning with the sunrise” then “up” is just unnecessary window dressing and red-pen worthy. 🙂

Now go forth, intrepid writers, better armed with tips to help you polish your work, make your editors proud and your manuscripts even more awesome! 🙂

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Filed under Editor, Literature, Proofreader, Writing