For Love of the Written Word

Long before I was an editor, I was (and still am) a voracious reader. My love of fiction shaped my life and ultimately changed it in an outstanding way. The opportunity to edit for so many talented writers is a gift that I never take for granted.

About Ellen Campbell

5 Responses to For Love of the Written Word

  1. Profile Cover Art

    Hi Marissa,
    I LOVE that you asked me this! You’ve made my day. Here are a few of the things that I see often:
    1) Misuse of homophones. The list is long but here are some standouts- peek/peak, breech/breach, teeming/teaming, sheer/shear, faze/phase, lead/led. There are lots of sites that list common homophones, and reviewing them is a great idea.
    2) Take care not to change tenses in the middle of a sentence. It sounds easy but it happens more often than you’d think.
    3) When writing dialogue, unless there is a reason not to, write the way people speak. People are rarely strictly grammatical, and they almost without fail use contractions. Reading your dialogue aloud, or having it read to you can be a big help with this.
    4) Repetition. This is a two parter.
    A-Try not to use the same word in consecutive or near consecutive sentences.
    B-Pet words. It’s not at all uncommon to have words that you love and find useful, but their overuse jumps out at the reader. I’ve been known to hand out lists…”You’ve used word x seventeen times in 63,000 words. You’re not allowed to use this word anymore.”
    5) Lastly, lately one of my newer peeves is the rampant overuse of before and within. Use them for effect, use them for gravitas or import, don’t use them because they technically fit. For instance, if I said: “Are you before me? Oh, no you’re within the next room.” I’d sound like a pretentious prat.
    I hope that you find some or all of this useful, and thanks for asking me!

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