Editing Secrets Made Easy: April 19

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There’s so much to remember when it comes to grammar, punctuation, style, and other mechanics. Sometimes it seems as though these are secrets only your eighth-grade English teacher knows. With that said, I’m happy to invite editors and authors to Editing Secrets Made Easy on April 19, 6:30–8:30 p.m. at Beaver’s Pond Press. (Many thanks to the Pond for graciously opening their office for these classes. It’s a wonderfully creative and inspirational space for bookish folks to gather.)

This will be my second time presenting this class. It’s easily my most popular class to date. Last time, we packed in nearly twenty people, a mix of editors and authors and a few in-betweens. Here’s hoping we get a big turnout this time too. If you didn’t join us for the first go-around, please check it out this time.

I think the class is so popular because everyone wants and needs a better grasp on grammar, punctuation, style—the nuts and bolts. Specifically, everyone wants and needs someone to explain it all in simple, common-sense, easy-to-remember terms. That’s true not only for writers but for editors, and we’re the so-called experts.

Case in point, I’m the first to admit I’m no grammarian. I often forget the difference between a misplaced modifier and a dangling participle. But it doesn’t really matter, so long as I know how to identify each of them in a manuscript and polish them up.

Along those same lines, the class won’t focus on jargon. Rather, it’ll help you recognize there’s something wrong with this sentence: “Sensing a collision, the oncoming bus made Sherry brace herself.” (By the way, that’s a misplaced modifier. I think…)

The other reason Editing Secrets Made Easy is so popular is because these “secrets” are culled from real experiences, real manuscripts, real authors, real editors. With eighteen years of professional editing, I’ve seen these issues pop up in countless raw manuscripts from authors. I’ve also seen them pop up in countless copyedited manuscripts when I do proofreads. For that matter, some of these issues have baffled me too for years. (Lay versus lie. I swear I have to look it up every time, just to be safe.)

Authors, this is a great way to boost your writing. Knowing the ins and outs of mechanics will make you a better writer, hands down. Fact is, master wordsmiths have also mastered the basics of language. And the more you know about mechanics, the better shape your manuscript will be in when it comes time to start the publishing process. You will save yourself time and quite possibly money.

Learning the basics will make all your writing better, including the pieces that don’t go through a professional editor. Think about every tweet, blog post, email, cover letter, and so on. What effect will you create as a professional author if you mistakenly use affect instead of effect?

Editors, this is a great chance for us to gather and learn together. I’m all about sharing knowledge, especially because we no longer have an apprenticeship model in our industry. (Something I’ll discuss more in posts to come.) We need to find our own ways to share trade secrets. There’s something here for everyone, from newbies to seasoned pros.

This particular class creates a unique experience to learn alongside authors. You’ll see how to approach copyediting mechanics in an author-friendly, common-sense way. So, let me break out some jargon here: Maybe you know the difference between a restrictive and nonrestrictive appositive, but do you know how to explain it to an author without making her eyes cross—or worst yet, without sounding patronizing?

So, come one, come all—join us for Editing Secrets Made Easy on April 19. Let’s shed some much-needed light on these secrets!