Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 10

Things were getting out of hand with listing the links at the top of each post for the previous posts, so I've moved them to the bottom. Don't worry, they're still there.When I started this, I never thought I'd reach this many posts on tips for self-editing, but here's Part 10: Editing and Writing Reference BooksThis was a logical progression. After all, I use editing references when I'm editing and when I'm writing, and I thought that since there are so many out there that you guys would appreciate a look at what I use.Is this the be-all-end-all of writing/editing guides? Hardly. I find new ones occasionally, but these are the books I keep going back to. And if you have suggestions or have a favorite one you use, I'd love to hear about it! Post in the comments to share with everyone.Here I've picked my five favorites, and I'll nutshell them for you in terms of what I like...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 9.5

Part 1: Look it up!Part 2:  Read it out loud.Part 3:  Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.Part 4:  Consistency, consistency, consistency!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.Part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire!Part 8: Editors Aren't PerfectI had quite a few that I thought would be helpful, so here's the second half of Part 9: FSEs (Frequently Seen Errors)Men who sound like womenAs a woman who frequently writes male perspectives, it's a (fun) challenge to get in their heads and write from their point of view. But we've collectively read so many stories where the male characters are basically women with penises. So, if you're writing a man, try very hard to see things from their perspectives. How do they think? A man who is describing a woman's clothing would notice different things than a woman would--is the dress tight, pink, and short? He's not going to notice that...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 9

Part 1: Look it up!Part 2:  Read it out loud.Part 3:  Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.Part 4:  Consistency, consistency, consistency!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.Part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire!Part 8: Editors Aren't PerfectHere's Part 9: FSEs (Frequently Seen Errors)I was chatting with some friends in the freelance editing world recently, and the subject of common mistakes we see over and over in our various projects came up. Basically, these were frequently seen errors (I'll call them FSEs because I like to throw an acronym in now and then) that we saw in manuscripts--grammar, spelling, punctuation, plot, pacing, phrasing, you name it. We've all been doing this a while, so we notice trends.And I thought that since this is a series on how to self-edit, it could maybe do some good in helping folks see if they're doing any of these things that drive editors crazy.  Because a...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 8

Part 1: Look it up!Part 2:  Read it out loud.Part 3:  Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.Part 4:  Consistency, consistency, consistency!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.Part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire!Welcome to Part 8: Editors Aren't Perfect.I'm often asked whether anything trips me up as an editor. And the answer is, unequivocally, YES. There are just some things that, even after repeated hammerings-in, just don't make it into my thick scull.I'm not afraid to admit that I don't know everything related to writing, but that's why I own copies of several different editing and/or style guides.But what stumps me? What's bookmarked and dog-eared in my editing reference books?I'll tell you.Keep in mind that these are just a few things, and, for the sake of brevity, I'm not going to go into detail on the correct meanings or usage of them--feel free to look those up, though I might...
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Interview Time with Susan Kaye Quinn!

Whoa, my friends are popping out books all over the place, and my friend Susan Kaye Quinn is a writing machine.  And if you read middle-grade books, have a middle-grade reader, or love books that are a little different, she's one you want to check out.  Onward!Hi, Susan!  I'd like to start with the most important question--I know we both share the love of a good cup of tea. What's your favorite? My current is Irish Breakfast, although I just came off a wicked bender of all forms of Chai (without milk – heresy, I know.)Tell everyone about yourself and how you started writing...I smile every time I hear how you began. I’m an ex-rocket scientist and mom of three, who started writing fiction (seriously) about five years ago… and never looked back.It's so cool that you're an actual rocket scientist!  And what are your favorite and least favorite parts about being a writer? Favorite—creating something entirely new out of thin air....
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 5

Since this little editing series is clearly getting away from me, I'm just going to make these links to the previous entries a permanent fixture in the beginning of each one.  Yay for easy access! Part 1:  Look it up!  Part 2:  Read it out loud.  Part 3:  Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.  Part 4:  Consistency, consistency, consistency!And now, introducing...5) Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Have I mentioned I love puns? Anyway...A dialogue tag is a little verb that assigns speech to a character.  Here's a great article on them that's definitely worth the read, but I'm going to go over them in general terms.  I will also assume that whoever is reading this is reasonably skilled at writing and is now in the editing process.  This is, after all, an editing tips post, and I'm assuming that we're working with a finished manuscript and it's being edited and cleaned up.  I'm a big proponent of writing what...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 4

Whoa! Someone's on a blogging roll now! Part 1 of this series of entries on how to do a great job of editing your manuscript to ready it for publication (self-pub or traditional publishing, makes no matter to me), discussed looking up things you don't know, or verifying information. Part 2 was all about looking like a crazy person (hey, if you're a writer, you already hear voices in your head...) and reading your work out loud to yourself to catch errors, especially in dialogue. Part 3 went over having someone who really knows what they're doing look your manuscript over. And part 4 is about...4)  Consistency, consistency, consistency! Um, okay, but what the heck does that even mean? One way to interpret that is to write consistently (a bit every day) and edit consistently as well.  And that's awesome advice, but that's not how I mean it.Because this series is about editing, I'm begging you to use versions of...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 3

To recap, the first tip for doing a good job on editing your own manuscript encouraged you lovely writers to look it up.  The second one wanted you to read your manuscript out loud to yourself. Onward to the third one!3) Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.And by that, I mean a professional editor, or a beta reader, or a critique group in your local writer's association, or some form of one of these things. I can't tell you the number of times I (and my fellow editors...yes, we talk about this stuff) have heard some variation of:  "Thanks, but I can't afford [your services] right now, so I'll have my friend who's an English major/English teacher/blogger friend/sister in high school who gets straight A's in English/etc. read it over for me. That's pretty much the same thing as what you do, right?"There's a reason we charge what we do, and that's because we know what to look...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 2

So my first tip in this series was to look things up if you don't know them.  Seems intuitive enough, right?  Well, my second tip for effectively editing your own work might not be as obvious...2)  Read it out loud.I mean exactly what this says...read your work out loud to yourself.  Or you can read it out loud to some lucky person you've suckered into listening.  Doesn't really matter.  Just make sure you read it--ALL of it--out loud.  Slowly. Why do this, you ask?  Won't this take forever? Yes, it can.  But reading your manuscript aloud to yourself can help you find errors, particularly of the kind that result in wonky-sounding sentences, that you wouldn't find otherwise.  Trust me on this.  Something about hearing it for real rather than in your head makes you process the words in a different way.  If it sounds strange out loud, it sounds strange on paper and you can fix it.  This is especially effective...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 1

In this new year, I'd like to do more to help my fellow writers.  I've always been inspired by the lovely Susan Kaye Quinn, who has always been so open to assisting other authors who ask for it.  She even compiled a new ebook that combines a series of blog entries (along with new material) to help folks make up their mind whether they want to self-publish or not, and how to do just that. But what to help other authors with, exactly?  What skill set do I have that I can use for the greater good?Well, I'm an editor.  A real-life professional one.  So we'll start there.  I'll give a few credentials to start...I'm contracted with a mid-size publisher to edit with them. I do free-lance editing, as well as critiquing in various forms for people.  I've also been part of a team that accepts/rejects online submissions to an online story archive.  So I've been editing in some form...
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