What exactly is the past perfect? And what’s wrong with using it?
Now and then, a writer or editor asks our online Q&A whether mentioning a brand name in a work of fiction requires permission or the addition of the trademark (™) or registered (®) symbol.
Recently I read through a book to make notes for a professional voice actor who would be reading it for an audiobook production.
The other day, I ran across this line in a recent novel by a best-selling American writer (key words are disguised): “His disposition warmed faster than did the gradually dawning day.”
A few months ago in a conference session, a group of novelists digressed into good-natured complaints about being copyedited. One writer drew a lot of laughs saying, “I mean, I got A’s in English! I know where the freaking commas go!”
In novels and stories and other creative works, words spoken by a character are normally set off from the narrative with quotation marks, and the speaker is identified in the run of text by tags like “she said.”
In editing formal prose, we fix nonstandard English without hesitation. But in editing creative works, we often need to throw out the stylebook so a narrator or character in a novel or play can abuse grammar to good effect. . . .
Janet Burroway is the author of plays, poems, children’s books, a memoir, and eight novels, most recently Bridge of Sand. Her book Writing Fiction (10th ed., University of Chicago Press, 2019) is the most widely used creative writing text in America. . . .
I love Microsoft Word shortcuts, and I post them from time to time when I stumble across a new one. But how’s a body supposed to discover all the features of this gigantic application when so many of them aren’t even visible on the ribbon? To root them out, I went online and browsed around. Confession: half of these tricks
Do you ever find at the end of workday that even though you know darned well you weren’t slacking for even ten minutes, somehow you didn’t make any progress in editing your manuscript? Or do you ever try to explain to someone why even though you put in forty or fifty hours a week, your editing time is way, way less? Recently I was ransacking my archives looking for something, and I ran across a file