Friday, February 13, 2015

Writer: force yourself to control yourself

All writers have quirks that need to be controlled by their editors, or by the writers themselves.

Sometimes an editor who is paid by a writer will be inclined
to not make a correction ("heck, it's her personal style") that an editor paid by a publisher would correct. That's why it's important for a self-publishing author to recognize personal quirks and foibles and try hard to keep the undesirable, unnecessary and weird off the published page.

Just as your style sheet specifies whether you capitalize the "W" in "web," it's good to have a list -- at least in your head -- of screw-ups to avoid.

One of my perpetual problems is giving too many examples. It's partly pedantry, which I inherited from my father. It may also be a bit of egomania, to show off how much I know.

My natural impulse is to write something like, "British automobile manufacturers -- such as Jaguar, Rover, MG, Triumph, Vauxhall, Austin and Morris -- had reputations for unreliable electrical systems."

Under my self-imposed limit, I am allowed ONLY THREE EXAMPLES," so I'd probably ditch Triumph, Vauxhall, Austin and Morris. I'd still make my point, and save some bytes and trees.

More advice in my Self-Editing for Self-Publishers (What to do before the real editor starts editing-or if you're the only editor)


MG photo from Brett Weinstein. Thanks.

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