Tips and Tricks from the Editor

Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: It’s Achilles’ heel but James’s foot.

It’s Achilles’ heel but James’s foot. Only ancient names that end with an s do not employ a possessive form of ‘s. All modern names do. One way to avoid the confusion is to rearrange the wording: the heel of Achilles but the foot of James. Yes, it adds words, and sounds a little stuffy, but the confusion of the possessive form is gone. (Note: While not all style guides agree, most do.)

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: What does SIFFY stand for?

Whenever using acronyms in writing, non-fiction or fiction, one needs to define what they mean—normally.  In fictional writing, if you mention the FBI, most will accept that this stands for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But that SIFFY… No one will guess that it stands for So It’s Fast and Furious Youth.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Jill sat and Jack stood…

Phrases like “sit down” and “stood up” have redundancy built in. Down is the only direction one can sit (unless you’re in space) and there is no other way to stand except up. However, Jill can sit next to Jack, but she’s more likely to tumble after him.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Grey or Gray?

The word gray, or grey, is one word where both forms are accepted by both a US and UK English spellchecker. So which is it? An easy way to remember: GrAy is for American English, and GrEy is for English English. There will be places that will prefer one form over the other. However, if in doubt, that simple rule will help.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: We all breathe…

All of us need to breathe, and our characters should be the same. However, be careful with the repetitive use of those actions: taking a deep breath, sighing, remembering to breathe. Search for them, and ensure that you haven’t overused them.

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Trick from the Editor's Hat

Trick from the Editor’s Hat: The Backwards Edit

During a backwards edit, you read a manuscript from the last sentence backwards to the first. When you do this, you’re unable to focus on the story; sentences lose their contextual meaning. As a consequence you focus entirely on the words. (View post for more information.)

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