Nowadays, we're all writers. We write articles, blogs, e-mails, proposals, and essays. But are we writing well? Your spellcheck will only pick up glaring errors in your copy. If you make a typo or use a homonym, the spellcheck will probably miss it. For example, you want to say that your character has a problem with the cops but instead you say caps. Makes for a good laugh – at your expense!
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A good editor will pick up typos, misplaced or dangling modifiers, run-on sentences, misuse of apostrophes, spelling errors that spellcheck has never...
Most of my clients like to send me 500 to 600 words of text so that I can perform a free sample edit. This way I have a sense of their writing style and they get a good picture of my service before either one of us commits to working together. Then, I am available for consultation by phone or on Skype if a client wants to give me more details about a project or ask questions. If not, we can chat back and forth on e-mail until the project is completed.
The first thing I do is ask if there is something in particular a client wants me to look for. Some people are already aware of their problematic areas, but others aren't. If I am critiquing a business proposal or manuscript, I am just as likely to note the strengths of a piece of work as well as its weaknesses.
For nonfiction critiques, I look at structure, organization, flow, readability, consistency, clarity, redundancy, and up-to-date references. For fiction, I assess character development, background setting, plot loopholes, essential cliffhangers at the end of chapters, and the plausibility of the story. In all types of work, I look for repetitious words – a favorite word that an author may have but be unaware of using. My favorite word is however; however, I am aware that I overuse that word! Therefore, when I'm finished writing an article or book, I will go back and do a search for that particular word and substitute synonyms.
When I'm doing a critique, or manuscript evaluation, I make numerous comments in the...
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