For anyone confused about all those grammar rules that seem to contradict how everyone talks and writes, check out the The Ultimate Grammar Resource Guide which lists some nice articles demystifying grammar myths and many useful resources for writers. The site also features a wealth of old and new sayings.
I’ve decided to offer a new service, a quick evaluation of manuscripts. If you have finished a novel, but aren’t certain if the plot works, the characters are life-like and engaging, their actions convincing and well enough motivated, I’d be happy to do a quick read without editing and give overall advice on how to improve the novel. Most of my feedback will center around story arch, pacing, character development, plot points, etc. Of course, I will also tell you what works well.
I might actually listen to the novel via the text to speech function of my Kindle to avoid getting distracted by typos, grammar and puctuation issues and stylistic flaws.
For this service I’m charging US$ 10 per 5,000 words. A novel of 80,000 words will cost US$ 160.
Yes, nothing reads more boring than the repetition of the same words over and over again. Example:
He walked down the street, looking over his shoulder every now and then. Then he turned into Madison Avenue and walked faster, no longer looking for pursuers.
Can you spot all echos? There are three, not counting repetitions of ‘he’ and ‘the’.
Echos really bog down the prose. Everyone seems to agree. At the same time, ironically, there’s a tendency to only use ‘said’ for dialog tags, banning even the innocent word ‘asked’, not to mention phrases like: she added, explained, cried, shouted, whispered, murmured…
Oh well, just a fashion thing, I hope.
There’s a set of well-established rules on how to write well. Just don’t stick to them slavishly. One example:
Rule: Avoid weak verbs (and adverbs with it).
Don’t write: He walked fast.
Write: He ran, dashed, jogged, sprinted. Whichever fits best.
But: Don’t forget that most times people simply ‘walk’. Don’t try to avoid ‘walk’ or ‘go’ at all cost or else your prose starts to feel stilted.
The weakest of all verbs is ‘to be’, but would you really edit Hamlet’s famous soliloquy: To be or not to be, that is the question.
With NaNoWriMo over and the holidays ahead, many writers may be polishing up their manuscripts in December. Customers requesting a quote for my editing services before the year ends, will get a ten percent discount for any projects I’ll be working on in January.
I will be traveling a lot over the next couple of months meeting with writers and friends in North America, Australia and India. I will be checking my e-mails regularly, but there might be longer response times. New projects are always welcome. Your virtual bookdoctor is never far from a computer and never too tired to look at a manuscript in need.
The book doctor’s practice has opened today. Please come in and take a look around while I enjoy a glass of champagne with my breakfast. I’m excited and look forward to discovering many new novels waiting for their final polishing. Got my ointments, scalpels, and the bonesaw ready.
This site is still under construction, while your book doctor is sharpening her scalpels. Take a look around now and come back later. More content will be added over the course of the next few days, while my web-wizard is perfecting the design.