The Comma: “When in Doubt, Leave it Out” (Don’t We Wish!)

Marge Hulburt, author, editor, writing, coaching, author servicesWhen it comes to punctuation, the most aggravating mark in the English language has got to be the comma. It is so misused, I would say at least 80% of my “punctuation time” with the average manuscript is spent editing commas. Authors and editors alike would be ecstatic if only we really could just leave them all out….

This situation does bring with it a hidden gift for you as an author – just by paying attention to a few simple rules, you can easily and significantly improve the professional quality of your own work. Here’s how:   Continue reading

Self-Editing Tips & Tricks (revisited)

Statue of a man thinkingThis is a repost of a popular article from about two years ago. It’s wisdom and guidance are still worthy today. Enjoy!

An editor can be an invaluable resource for adding clarity, impact, and saleability to our written work, but many of us don’t always have an editor at our disposal. When we do choose to hire one, we want our work to be as strong as possible going into the editing process.

Here are some things you can do yourself to add impact to your own writing:

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Organizing the Ineffable

surreal picture of sky, trees, and skyFrom the first few weeks of learning to take a shamanic journey, I knew my journey experiences were destined to become a book. This was not because I had a conscious story or message to bring to the world, but because the journeys were there, in my notebook, calling to me and to the few close friends with whom I shared them.

I struggled for almost eight years to put these journeys into a publishable form, and I learned a few things along the way about organizing the ineffable.

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Self-Publishing for the Right Side of your Brain

The center of a mandala on grassIf you are like most right-brained, highly creative people, you are much more interested in the look and feel of your book and its message than you are in the rules of grammar, details of print and digital formatting, or technical specifications for clear, crisp images on the page. In days gone by, publishing houses took care of all these details and even went out of their way to provide their most popular and finicky authors with stipends and secluded retreats to nurture their creative sensibilities. Writers wrote, and the publishers took care of the rest.

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When You Can’t Write… Speak!

A young couple in serious conversation by a lakeAs a book coach, I have clients come to me who want to write their life stories, but they have difficulty with the writing itself. Some actually write quite well, and all they need is good editing and an outside perspective. Others have great difficulty writing at all. I have found, as a rule, that this second group has no trouble telling me their stories orally at length….

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