Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Carolyn and Yvonne Have Answered Your Questions About Editing!

Below is the link to a pre-recorded "Conversation with Editors" Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Yvonne Perry, which covers some of the common mistakes writers make and how to correct them. We have also provided helpful tips for impressing a publisher with your query letter.

Here is the link to the recording:

MP3 File

Carolyn is an editor and author of The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward To Avoid Humiliation And Ensure Success (How to Do It Frugally). Yvonne is a full-time freelance ghostwriter and editor, and the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services.

Here are some of the things we have addressed in the podcast:

  • Writing title and header case
  • Is a book titled or entitled?
  • When to use all caps
  • How many spaces between sentences?
  • Serial Commas
  • Writing for Decades
  • Hyphenating
  • Internet and Web site
  • Using Em and En Dashes
  • Overuse of That
  • Writing Dialog
  • Writing Numbers

Here are some of the questions we have received from our readers. We have answered these during our recorded conversation:

MOLLI NICKELL: I'd be interested in opinions on how and when "traditional" publishers will be including digital publishing in their plans, and, how will they promote this low-cost method of making books available in the electronic format.

Also (and yes, this is a second question), I feel writers will want to know more about how traditional publishing houses are opening their own self-publishing divisions, utilizing their editors and designers, but bringing the author aboard to share in some of the pre-publication work?
Heather Summerhayes Cariou Author of Sixtyfive Roses: A Sister's Memoir says, "I went over my manuscript with a fine tooth comb, then had an English teacher friend check it for grammar, punctuation and typos, then my agent and publisher/Editor went through it, then my copy editor, then I did one more sweep and there were STILL a handful of errors that one reviewer found it necessary to point out. What can be done to avoid this with my next book?"
An anonymous guest on Carolyn’s blog wanted to know if we will touch on securing an agent. Yes, we did talk about this!
Barbara Techel, Author of Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog, www.joyfulpaws.com is in the process of writing her second children's book. Her first children's book had a critique group helping with the editing until Barbara felt her manuscript was "good enough" to give to an editor. She no longer has a critique group to run her manuscript by. The book is about half complete now.

Barbara’s question: Is there a good point to bring on an editor? Should I bring one on now for advice or wait till I have the manuscript completed? Or, should I work with an editor during the entire process?


Here is a list of resources Carolyn and I mentioned during our conversation.

Chicago Manual of Style The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers 15th Edition. ISBN 0226104036.

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips™ for Better Writing. Mignon Fogarty. ISBN 978-0-8050-8831-1.

Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies A Guide to Language for Fun & Spite by June Casagrande. ISBN: 1582975612.

Mortal Syntax 101 Language Choices That Will Get You Clobbered by the Grammar Snobs--Even If You're Right by June Casagrande ISBN: 0143113321.

The Frugal Editor Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success by Carolyn Howard-Johnson ISBN 978-0-9785158-7-4

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s newsletter for writers.

The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier, How to Solve the Mystery of Weak Writing by Bonnie Trenga ISBN: 1582975612.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Yvonne, I really had fun doing this with you. You are a wonderful interviewer, so organized. You come highly recommended--by me. (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Website: www.howtodoitfrugally.com

zxcvbnm said...

I had not known why they were called m dash and n dash!

Yvonne Perry said...

Thank you, Carolyn for being such a joy to chat with. Our time flew past and there was so much more we could have covered. We'll have to do this again.

Allyn Evans said...

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!


Yvonne Perry said...

January 15, 2009
Nashville, TN

This frigid morning was a perfect time to stay indoors and listen to your pod cast about editing.

Hello Carolyn, you don’t know me, but Yvonne does. I am part of her editing team.

I enjoyed the pod cast and took notes along the way. I have a few tips and thoughts to share with both of you that came up, but first wanted to thank you for the unexpected fringe benefit of the pod cast. The comfort, ease, humor, and camaraderie (notice that serial killer—I mean comma) you share is delightful. It touched the listener like a topical breeze and made the experience uniquely enjoyable, informative, and feminine.

Here are a few comments and observations about the pod cast.

1. This is a particular bane to me, too—proper capitalization in headlines. The example I believe you were looking for in Chicago, Yvonne, is (in the latest edition) 8.167 which says “. . . (3) Lowercase prepositions, regardless of length, except when they are stressed (through in A River Runs Through It), are used adverbially or adjectivally (up in Look Up, down in Turn Down, on in The On Button, etc.” There’s more, but this seemed to apply to what you were both saying.

2. Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog came to me as a gift. I love the first sentence: “Diagramming sentences is one of those lost skills, like darning socks or playing the sackbut, that no one seems to miss.” Did you reach for the dictionary to look up “sackbut” too?

3. Carolyn, I chuckled at your objection to saying signage instead of signs. You think signage is bad? Try environmental graphics. I worked for a graphic design firm in Austin where I first heard (then used) both terms referring to signs. Who knew there was so much detail in their design, production, fabrication, and installation? When you see it from the inside, the word sign probably is too simple.

4. About finding and replacing the two (or more) spaces between sentences with one? There is a way you can tell exactly where all of the errant spaces are. I always edit like this, and as a courtesy to my clients and a layout/design person, remove all of the extra spaces. The paragraph symbol that is to the left of the zoom box on your toolbar will show you spaces and paragraphs. Click it once and you’ll see how computer savvy or not your author is at a glance. Click it again and the feature goes away.

5. Carolyn, I also think about your comment about the Web address being underlined (and hope I heard and interpreted this issue correctly). Word automatically underlines those www dot things, but you can right click on it and select Remove Hyperlink and it will go away.

That’s enough prattling from me; we’ve all got work to do. I don’t tell Yvonne often enough how much I admire and appreciate her for all the networking and work she does to help others. It’s a joy working with her and knowing her, and now you, Carolyn.

Thank you both again.

Barbara Milbourn