Book review: Shadow is a Colour

Cézanne, the artist, holds together the strands of multiple narratives in this ambitious debut novel.

Perhaps, a little too ambitious. There’s a lot of competing voices in the book: artists, businessmen, actors, directors. Keeping up with everyone as we flip-flop through the narrative can be quite exhausting.

Continue reading “Book review: Shadow is a Colour”

Cézanne, the artist, holds together the strands of multiple narratives in this ambitious debut novel.

Perhaps, a little too ambitious. There’s a lot of competing voices in the book: artists, businessmen, actors, directors. Keeping up with everyone as we flip-flop through the narrative can be quite exhausting.

Continue reading “Book review: Shadow is a Colour”

It’s all Greek to me

Do you know your recto from your verso? What’s the difference between MSS and MS? What is this stet I keep seeing on the page? Definitions at the end of the post!

The language of editing is complex and confusing, even for those of us who use it daily!

But is this editing jargon useful for authors or is it a distraction. Or worse, is it really just the editor showing off?

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Continue reading “It’s all Greek to me”

Copycat writers

From Beatrix Potter to E. L. James, the world of self-publishing is as old as publishing itself.

And to make your venture into self-publishing as successful as possible, here are a few hints and tips that I have learnt from my experience of working with both traditional publishers and self-publishing authors.

Continue reading “Copycat writers”
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And to make your venture into self-publishing as successful as possible, here are a few hints and tips that I have learnt from my experience of working with both traditional publishers and self-publishing authors.

Continue reading “Copycat writers”

How old are you?

Rude! You should never ask that question!

But, are you the oldest in the room? Or the eldest? What’s the difference?

This is one of those easily confusable words that frequently gets misused in speech and in writing.

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Continue reading “How old are you?”

Telling tall tales

This is something that gets me each time I come across it. I don’t know why, but I must look it up each time I come across this in a manuscript.

They’re six foot. No, they’re six-feet. Or are they six foot tall? Six-foot-tall?

Continue reading “Telling tall tales”

Well, aren’t you dashing!

Well, I’m sure you’ve put your best frock on for this blog post but I’m not here to compliment you!

Instead, we’re going to look at all the different dashes and lines on your page, what the differences are and when you might use them.

Continue reading “Well, aren’t you dashing!”

A fine line: between style and correctness

My job is frequently portrayed as being about pedantry. The correct use of the comma, the correct use of subject, verb agreement, the correct spellings.

It’s true, there are some rules: sentences and proper nouns always begin with a capital letter; some words are always spelt the same way each time.

But that’s not always the case.

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Continue reading “A fine line: between style and correctness”

How it works: Proofreading

The word “proofreading” is often confused with editing. See here for a post that explains the differences between editing and proofreading.

Proofreading is the very last step in the journey towards publication and works differently to editing. This is a follow up to the How it works post detailing how the editing process works.

Because proofreading is the very final stage before publication, a proofreader will not be making changes to a manuscript. The text should have been edited, the pages laid out and everything will be ready for publication. Proofreading is the final opportunity to catch the typos.

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Therefore, when I’m proofreading, I’m typically working with PDF files. This means that I cannot change any of the text. Instead, I’ll mark up the text with a series of symbols that indicate what needs to be changed in the text.

There are, of course, different symbols for different changes and you can find a table of these symbols in the New Hart’s Rules and in the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook which are both invaluable for writers and editors alike.

Here’s how I, as a proofreader, approach working with a manuscript. It should give you an idea about what’s going on when you send your work off to someone.

  1. We agree a budget for the project, if it’s appropriate we’ll agree a focus for your proofread and I’ll get as many details from you as I can, including your style sheet or house style information. This is important at this stage as it gives me something to reference and check your writing against.
  2. You pay a small deposit for the proofread to commence, then send me the file or files, usually PDFs but Word documents work too.
  3. I get to work on your proofread, marking up the manuscript for corrections. For this, I’ll be using lots of tools, doing some research and tidying up the look of your manuscript.
  4. It might be that I need to ask you questions while I’m proofreading. It’s much easier for both of us if you’re aware and keep your eye on your email inbox!
  5. I’ll return the marked-up manuscript to you. There may be a separate queries list or illustrations box.
  6. You pay the remaining balance.
  7. If you have any questions, or something doesn’t make sense, feel free to email me and ask! I’m always happy to answer questions.
  8. You make changes to your manuscript and then publish it!
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Proofreading is about little changes. Perhaps a comma has been dropped or an indent forgotten about. It’s not about changing massive sections of text: that should all be done at the developmental or copyediting stages.

If you’d like more information on proofreading or editing, I’m more than happy to answer questions. Get in touch and I’ll make sure you get a personalised response.

For more information about editing, make sure you follow the blog to get the latest updates direct to your inbox!

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How it works

I know it can seem incredibly daunting when you hand over your manuscript to your editor. You’ve spent hours working away at the prose, carefully selecting each word and building a narrative to engage and entertain your readers.

What is your editor going to do? Are they going to completely rewrite your work, undo all your stylistic decisions and make it their own work? Will you lose your voice?

The simple answer is: no!

Continue reading “How it works”

Book review: Leah on the Offbeat

A YA novel by Becky Albertalli

Not quite a sequel but the events of Leah on the Offbeat happen after Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli’s first in what has become known as the Simon-verse.

We meet again the same characters from Simon as they prepare for graduation and collage. Leah features all the same love interests and fallings out that we know we will find in a coming-of-age novel but there is something lacking in this story.

Click to buy your copy.

But where Simon featured conflict from the start with action driving the plot, here it is the character of Leah and her awkwardness that seems to trip up the narrative.

Leah, not yet out as a bisexual, struggles with her feelings towards Abby in the build up to graduation. Stilted, unfinished dialogue peppers the novel, leaving the characters frustrated and the readers as awkward as Leah.

It’s odd as we first knew Leah as Simon’s best friend: she was unflappable, even after all of Simon’s exploits. But now, she seems a totally different character. True, we are now seeing things from her point of view, but to feel so different, so unsure of herself and so awkward makes it difficult to really root for her.

While it is great that we are seeing more diversity in characters and sure, bisexuality is still relatively new in YA novels, I wonder if this won’t put people off the genre and exploring more. It’s a shame as there was great potential in the story.

Leah is determined that her graduation isn’t going to become a “teen movie cliché” which is exactly what Becky Albertalli has written.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

To buy a copy of Leah on the Offbeat, click here.