It's November 1, and that means it's National Novel Writing Month! Follow EME administrator Lou Hyde as he joins a half-million writers across the country and throughout the world in producing a first draft of his first novel in the next 30 days--and let him encourage you to do the same!
One set of homonyms that causes many writers trouble is AFFECT and EFFECT. They key to remembering the distinction is that, MOST of the time, ‘affect’ is an action. Get that? ‘A’ for ‘action’ and A for ‘affect’—pretty clever, no? Meanwhile ‘effect’ is a result, or a noun.
Ten questions may seem like a lot. But you've worked hard on your manuscript, and if it's a complete dissertation or thesis, novel or memoir, you're probably going to spend in excess of $1,000 to have it edited. You need to know that it's going to be money well spent, and that you're entrusting your precious work to someone who has the ability to give it the quality treatment it deserves. The following ten questions will help ensure you're in the right hands—so don't be shy about asking them!
How do you choose the right editor? If you are preparing to navigate the world of online editors, perhaps it would help to see them as fitting into one of three main categories: aggregators, independents, and teams. In brief, aggregators are companies that aggregate a number of freelance editors in one website, but with little supervision or coordination of efforts; independents are freelance editors who operate completely on their own; and teams are companies that utilize the services of multiple editors, but with supervision, review of their work, and coordination of their efforts. For some of the key pros and cons of working with each of these groups, read on.
If you’re writing nonfiction, and especially if you’re writing an academic book of some sort, an index is usually a must. Beyond the sheer dollars and cents value of helping book buyers to see that your book has what they need, you wrote the book because you thought it would be useful to people. And when it comes to your book’s usefulness, a good index can make all the difference in whether or not a reader is able to find the information s/he really needs. A really good index analyzes words and concepts, and it shows the connections between them, all while distinguishing substantive discussions of those concepts from merely passing mentions. In short, indexing is a work that requires analysis, judgment, and creativity—which is why it can’t be done by a computer.
While, as a rule, it is always considered unethical for professional editors to directly carry out research on behalf of the student or to make direct changes to the content or structure of a thesis, dissertation, or any paper being submitted for a grade, there are at least three key areas where professional editing may make important contributions to the thesis or dissertation writing process and remain entirely within the bounds of academic integrity. The end result will be your own research and ideas presented in the clearest and most effective way possible--and that's a recipe for academic success!
Take the current economy, add the downsizing of many publishing houses, the need for manuscripts and writers, the hand-tied agents who can’t afford to take on new clients, and the abundance of writers since the advent of the computer. Shake and toss on the table and one solution will surface: Writers who are serious about being published will take matters into their own hands. They will self-publish, write blogs or e-zines, have a website dedicated to their topic, and be active on Facebook and Twitter. Let the team of professional editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy help you to get your manuscript and query into the best possible shape, and to guide you in staking your claim in the world of publishing.
We can never divorce ourselves from the perspectives we bring to our work, of course, but those perspectives don’t have to determine the outcome of our research; if an academic is going to make any kind of real contribution to thought, his or her work has to be free of bias.
After years as a professional editor, following upon nearly two decades as a college professor, I’m astounded by the number of papers I’ve read that have involved plagiarism—even at the doctoral level, where the stakes are extremely high. I like to think that most of it is unintentional. That, in itself, is rather unnerving, however, since it means that you can fall into this trap, too! If your intention is to pass off someone’s work as your own, there’s no advice I can give other than, “Proceed at your own risk, and be prepared for the consequences; any professor who cares to catch you probably will.” If your intention is to avoid plagiarism of the unintentional variety, however, here are a few tips that might help.
A week into National Novel Writing Month, it's a good time to think about what you are trying to accomplish this month--not a final, publishable work, but a worthy first draft. And in the process of taking that first draft to a better second draft and an amazing third draft, consider enlisting the support of the coaches and editors at Edits Made Easy, who will give you just the feedback you need to turn your manuscript into a published book.
Have you identified your ideal reader? Keep in mind that this exercise will not only make your memoir more attractive to a potential publisher, it will help you focus your writing and dig more deeply into the significance of your message. If you have difficulty grasping the concept of this stage of writing, a professional editor, like those you find on the team at Edits Made Easy, can easily guide you through the process.
While both the memoir and the autobiography have elements in common, here are also important ways in which they differ. To determine whether your project falls into one category or the other, here are a few points to consider:
If you’ve been working in APA-5 and now must switch to using APA-6, certainly one of the most obvious changes will be the formatting of headers. Both editions of the APA Manual of Style provide for up to five levels of headings and subheadings, and both direct that numbers and letters should not be used. But the details of each of those levels have changed. The academic editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy can help you to navigate these changes with each and guarantee that your thesis or dissertation is in full compliance with the latest version of APA style.
If you're used to working in APA-5 and now must switch to APA-6, one of the notable differences is the number of spaces that follow final punctuation (periods, question marks, exclamation points) in sentences. Reverting to an earlier practice, and setting itself apart from Chicago, Turabian, MLA, and many other style sheets, the newest version of the APA Publication Manual specifies the use of two character spaces between sentences in draft documents. If you're having trouble with the formatting of your thesis or dissertation, the team of editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy can help ensure that your work is in full compliance with current APA standards.
Remember that the working relationship between an agent and an author is a very close, very involved one. You will be corresponding with them via email and phone a lot. You will go back and forth with your manuscript and receive a lot of consultation. You need someone that you are able to work with to a great extent on a professional level. In this post, Gordon discusses some of the fundamental questions you should ask as you look for an agent. And as always, the team of professional editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy stand ready to help you to write your query letter and synopsis, and to edit your manuscript so it is in the best possible form when you finally send it off.
Finding the right agent and then submitting just what he or she is looking for requires some advance prep work on the part of an author. In this article, EME editor/coach Gordon, who is also an agent for memoirs, offers some tips on identifying the right agent for your book and then approaching that agent in just the right way. And as always, the whole team of editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy stand ready to assist you in preparing your query letter and synopsis, and in editing your book manuscript so it is in the best possible shape before you send it out.
I go to a lot of conferences and talk to a lot of writers, and one of the most common things that these aspiring novelists don’t take advantage of is writing in the short form. “But I write novels. Why should I write short stories?” It’s a fair question, and I wouldn’t recommend writing shorts unless it helps you find success with your novel. It does, both from a technical and a business standpoint. Read on, Grasshopper.
Spring has arrived, and for me, that means writers’ conference season is in full swing. I have well over a dozen events this year, and I’m looking forward to them all. I love the chance to get out and meet writers and hopefully find the next big thing. If you approach a conference in the right way, it can be a wonderful opportunity for you to fill that role.
Agents ask for it, but it’s best when they don’t have to. The unsolicited keeping of a good blog shows a prospective agent (and later, publisher) that you are serious, proactive and effective in building your platform and marketing your work. I greatly prefer an author with an established blog. But if you don’t have a blog and your project is just too attractive to pass up, I may still sign you and then have you start a blog. Blogs are just about necessary these days. They may take time and effort, but I wouldn’t waste yours if it wasn’t worth it.
Like most nonfiction writing, a memoir can best be accomplished by starting with an outline. The outline should be chronological and contain the specific people or events you are most interested in writing about, along with the specific timeframe you would like to cover. To start out by trying to cover your entire life is probably not the best way to go, since it will dilute your story and make the task seem onerous right from the start. Once you have a basic working frame, you can begin to gather information to fill in the blanks around the story. Then, if you feel there is more to be added to the story, you can always add to your outline. Think of each outline entry as a possible chapter in your memoir. And as always, the team of editors and coaches at Edits Made Easy stand ready to help you with your memoir!