Tag Archives: Grammar

EDITING 101: 06 – He Said / She Said: Dialogue Tags…

In Part 6 of Editing 101, Susan Uttendorfsky discusses dialogue tags and action tags. I found this very enlightening and think it’s something that a lot of writers struggle with. Hop over to The Story Reading Ape’s blog to read Susan’s informative article with its helpful suggestions…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

He Said / She Said: Dialogue Tags

Can you pass the salt?” Richard asked.

Like hell,” Katherine muttered.

Did you say something, sweetie?” Richard continued.

I will not pass you the salt!” Katherine shouted.

And on we go, another happy marriage on the rocks. So, what’s wrong with this exchange? It’s a combination of several things, but we’re going to focus on one: dialogue tags.

In Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King start their chapter on dialogue mechanics by quoting a New York Times reviewer discussing a book by Mr. Robert Ludlum:

Characters in The Bourne Ultimatum seldom “say” anything. Instead, they cry, interject, interrupt, muse, state, counter, conclude, mumble, whisper … intone…

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EDITING 101: 05 – General Plurals…

Susan Uttendorfsky  brings us the fifth in her fabulous editing series via our ever-supportive Story Reading Ape. If you sometimes are addled when pluralizing certain nouns, hop over and read this informative article…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

General Plurals

When we’re writing anything, most plurals are obvious. One man, two men; one table, two tables; one goose, two geese; one moose, two meese… Now wait a minute there. As you can see, sometimes the plural of a noun is not as simple as it seems. Read the following sentences and see if you can figure out which are correct and which are not:

A. Moving out of my apartment, John and Kane, my brother-in-laws, dropped my favorite lamp.

B. All the cannon fired simultaneously at the enemy.

C. Our current cows consist of Jerseyes and Holsteins.

So, how do you think you did?

A. The noun “brother-in-law” is pluralized using the active noun, “brother.” Hence, the sentence shown…

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EDITING 101: 04 – Character Name Consistency…

In Part 4 of Susan Uttendorfsky’s wonderful series on editing, we learn about Character Name Consistency and the benefit of using spreadsheets to keep track of character names, etc. while we’re writing…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

Character Name Consistency

A book I edited had a main character with a name of, say, Paul Charleston, who was a vice president of marketing. Within the first fifty pages, the author had referred to this one character by:

Paul

Paulie

Paulie-Wallie

Mr. Charleston

Paulie C.

Mr. C.

Mr. VP

Mr. Veep

the vice president

the veep

Mr. Marketing

and probably ten others I haven’t remembered. Imagine how confused a reader would have been, as there was no discernible reason for the name changes. In addition, should the author have decided midway to change this character’s name, it would have been impossible to change them all with a simple Find/Replace operation. The risk of missing one—or more than one—was very…

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EDITING 101: 03 – THAT’s the Problem in Revising…

Editing can be a nightmare! But Susan Uttendorfsky takes some of the fright out of it in Part 3 of her incredible Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. A big thank you to both Chris and Susan for hosting and sharing 🙂

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

THAT’s the Problem in Revising

What’s the problem?”

That’s the problem.”

What?”

That.”

I don’t get it.”

That’s the problem.”

Sound like the old “Who’s on first” routine? Extraneous words that make a writer’s work bulky need to be eliminated. But how can you eliminate words that you don’t even see? That’s the problem, and that is one of those words that can usually be cut. Dialogue that is casual regularly contains many incidences of that word, but when it comes to writing, that can usually be deleted.

Are you still confused? If a sentence is understandable without “that” in it, take it out.

Example: “She told him that she was leaving” reads just fine…

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EDITING 101: 02 – Description Depression…

Susan Uttendorfsky brings us her second great article in her Editing 101 series on The Story Reading Ape’s blog: How and why not to over or under describe scenes and characters…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

 Do You Have Description Depression?

Are you a writer who uses rich, lush descriptions for their settings and characters? Or one who just wants “the facts, Ma’am, just the facts”? Is it an effort to decide how much description to use, where, and exactly what?

If you struggle with Description Depression in your writing, you’re not alone. There isn’t a “correct” way to use description in fiction, although, in my humble opinion, you’re better off using too little than too much.

In over describing, a writer runs the risk of annoying their readers. Many readers admit to skipping over large amounts of description. It didn’t used to be that way. Before the age of movies, television, the Internet, and smartphones…

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Language Felonies Infographic…

A big “Thank You!” to The Story Reading Ape for posting this superb infographic from GrammarCheck. After reading this infographic, I found that I scored a little less than (euphemism) brilliant. For example, is it “Many of us authors” or “Many of we authors” fancy ourselves brilliant editors?

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Made for Students, useful for everyone.

Oh My Grammar! Language Felonies: Top 10 Grammar Errors, Common Mistakes, and the Importance of Correct Grammar (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net

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EDITING 101: 01 – Introduction and ‘Redundancies’…

AUTHORS: Christopher Graham is hosting Susan Uttendorfsky on his blog, who is offering a series of posts on editing. Susan has decades of experience, and the series is interactive. Don’t miss this!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Introduction

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing

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Owned by Susan Uttendorfsky

Susan UttendorfskyFor those who have not yet met me, I’m a freelance copy editor living in upstate New York near the Adirondacks. I’ve been writing and editing for over thirty years, and freelancing for the past few years.

I work almost exclusively with independent authors.

A few submit their manuscripts to agents and publishers, but by the time they come to me, most have decided to self-publish.

So what are we going to talk about in this series? Chris and I are of the same mind when it comes to offering information to writers—we want you to learn how to be a good author. So I’ll be sharing wisdom on

  • Self-editing

  • Revising

  • English usage tips

  • Helpful resources

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