Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Video: 79 Common Mispronunciations




Well, this detours into celebrity names for quite a tangent. If you're going to count names, you could just keep going forever. Why stop at 79?

And actually, irregardless is a word. In the dictionary. Why? Because, contrary to the entire concept of this presentation, the ways people speak define the rules of the language, not the other way around. But, as he says himself: "We're going to continue being pedantic for the rest of the video."

By the way, for a quick article on why telling people they should pronounce "ask" [æsk] instead of [æks] is probably racist, see Walt Wolfram's explanation of the linguistic inferiority principle in his essay "Myth 13: Black Children are Verbally Deprived" from the book Language Myths.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

St. Louis Indie Book Fair



St. Louis author Mark Pannebecker has been hard at work organizing his hometown's first inaugural Indie Book Fair. Beginning at 1:00 pm on Saturday, May 9, the fair will feature booths and live readings until 9:00 pm. For more details, visit the St. Louis Indie Book Fair website or Facebook page. Entry is free; don't miss it!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Copyediting and Proofreading: The Secret to Professionalism

Photograph credit: Alberto G.

I recently conducted a brief survey on reader reactions to typos and other mistakes in writing. The survey was short: just seven questions, with an optional eighth question to sort respondants by occupation. About 500 people responded to the survey via links posted to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

The results are fascinating, and I can’t wait to conduct a second version. In my updates, I intend to clarify some questions, add a few questions, and attempt to attract a more diverse array of respondents. I welcome your suggestions.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Publishing Short Stories

Photo credit: Marcus Hansson.

Writers hate outlines. Of course! Writers want to write, the way painters want to paint and dancers want to dance. But the finished product of any art is the presentation, and presentations require lots of preparation. A well-considered and flexible outline can do wonders to make a story effective. But what about the story of your stories?

Zoom out and add another level to consider: what does your publishing outline look like? A publishing outline is a plan for publishing your stories, and it's always better to plan ahead. Here's how to start:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

4 Steps to Spark Your Creativity

Tapping a Pencil
Look familiar?
(Image couretsy of Rennett Stowe.)

Some writers really crank it out. Russell Blake puts NaNoWriMo champions to shame, birthing 7,000 to 10,000 words per day. Others take it slower: maybe a single chapter per week, or one book per year.

How much you should be writing is up to you, but you really need to try a few different approaches before you figure out what's best, don't you? Here are four guidelines you can follow to get the best work out of yourself:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Knowing Your Narrator & Audience

Storytelling at its finest.

Storytelling is a visual concept for me. The image it evokes typically includes one person telling a story to another, gesticulating, leaning in, furrowing their brow, and widening their eyes at exciting moments. Often, I envision the tradition of telling ghost stories around a fire, where the restless setting of dim, flickering light, strangely illuminated faces, and limited vision are as important to the mood of the story as the speaker's presence.

In this scenario, the speaker's success depends on combining genre and audience, and coordinating the story to best suit those elements.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Beta Readers: Your Board of Advisors

Try to have at least a little diversity among your advisors.

This morning, my partner and I were talking about a few of the tiny insights we've offhandedly shared with each other that have changed the ways we see the world. We're very similar thinkers, which adds to the impact such a seemingly just-in-passing comment can have.

Undoubtedly, everyone holds at least one gem of new insight like this: familiar to themselves, but completely foreign to someone else. If you've ever sat through a team meeting, you've seen just how diverse every person's feedback can be, especially when you're all focused on the same thing. That sort of group discussion can go a long way toward getting a general view of a project's condition — and can reveal what areas need the most attention.

By cultivating a select group of trusted beta readers, you can take advantage of several people's perspectives and improve your writing accordingly.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Editorial Consulting Services

Andrew Doty provides all of Editwright's consultative editorial services, including:

Manuscript Evaluations


Every Manuscript Evaluation begins with a conversation about
  1. your publishing goals and wishes and
  2. what you feel like your manuscript is about.
Then, I will read the manuscript and provide you with a detailed report including
  1. my evaluation of the manuscript's strengths and weaknesses,
  2. recommendations for improving and revising the story,
  3. suggestions for further action and next steps, and
  4. a list of target publications and agents (if relevant and requested).
This type of evaluation can be provided for any type of text, whether it's a 300-word op ed or a 100,000-word philosophical essay. 

A manuscript evaluation is a great way to get a succinct, professional opinion of your writing along with trustworthy advice for the smallest financial investment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What Is Copyediting?

Copyediting (sometimes spelled as two words: copy editing) is low- to medium-level editing involving limited revision and correction of issues in texts.

Copyediting jobs are very hands-on. Copyeditors must understand the goals and intentions of a publication to effectively edit it, as the task often requires some rewriting or rearranging of the text for the sake of clarity or concision.

Because copyeditors have always been responsible for making changes directly to copy, the role hasn't been significantly redefined by the digital age, like proofreading has. While editors may use some esoteric copyediting marks among each other, communication with the writer is made in much clearer language.

After copyediting, an editor will typically return the text to the writer for revisions, so while copyediting involves many direct changes to the copy, it also includes general comments, suggestions, questions, and recommendations. In different situations, copyediting and proofreading may be comparable, but the extra time and attention spent on the text and communicating with the author are what make copyediting a higher-level process than proofreading, which offers no feedback or commentary and very limited revisions.



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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading is traditionally the final step of the editing process, in which the proofreader detects and marks errors in a proof.

A brief introduction: In the days before digital technology, a proofreader would simply mark on the page, typically with proofreaders' marks (a system of professional symbols), where a correction was needed, and another editor would make the changes.

Now that we create and edit our documents on screens and transfer documents online — sometimes never printing a single page until producing the final product — sometimes making a change directly to the text is just as easy as marking it, thus saving a step.