The Frugal Editor
edited: Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Frances Lynn
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2007
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"The Frugal Editor: Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success" (Perfect Paperback) by
Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Pre-ordered at Amazon.com
I used to think I knew everything about grammar until I read "The Frugal Editor". If I’d read Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s new book (her previous one was the invaluable "The Frugal book Promoter") before I edited the manuscripts of my novels, it would have saved me a lot of time and anguish.
If I had read this useful tome before attempting to edit my last manuscript before submission, I would have avoided making several glaring hyphenation mistakes, which Carolyn writes about in depth.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson stresses that "The Frugal Editor" doesn't focus on the craft of writing or revision. She assumes that all authors have done revision before they edit their books.
'A good editor will help a writer to find her voice, remain true to it and still move the manuscript from a tough rock to a polished gemstone,' she says.
She even gives practical advice on how to find a good editor, like asking professors in the writing department at one's local university to recommend a good one. And to always ask for references in order to avoid charlatans.
I thought it was particularly interesting that Carolyn edits every document as if it were a manuscript. She stresses it's imperative to carefully edit query letters, cover letters and book proposals. It makes sense as these documents are sent to agents and publishers.
For writers who are confident they know everything about grammar, "The Frugal Editor" book also acts as a useful grammatical refresher course. Howard-Johnson is practical and advises authors not to loose any sleep if a writer doesn't spot a typo or a grammatical mistake. Even experienced writers make glaring grammatical mistakes, so Carolyn gives practical and humorous advice on how to search for 'gremlins', especially adverbs in one's manuscript.
'You may have wondered why in the world-of-writing I would want to search for adverbs, which we all know are perfectly good parts of speech used frequently by the most scholarly among us.
They're ugly, that's why. They're often redundant. They cloak weak verbs. In fact, they are probably first cousins to the gremlin you usually want them out of there. The good news: You can use your Find Function to root them out.'
Carolyn is a humorous writer which makes her advice seem entertaining. For instance, she talks about 'gremlins' as 'very clever guys bent on a writer's destruction.'
'I want you to learn from this book,' she says, 'but I'd also like you to enjoy the editing challenge.'
She gives useful tips on Revision, Editing, Line Editing and Proof reading and insists that your editing will go more smoothly if you've thoroughly revised your manuscript first. Her invaluable book is about making the editing process easier and gives innovative tips on how use both manual and electronic techniques (like the Find Function) for eliminating errors.
She also advises the reader to get useful reference books like "The Chicago Manual of Style", and "Garner's Modern American Usage" (Hardcover).
"The Frugal Editor: Put your best book forward to avoid humiliation and ensure success" is worth buying alone for the numerous links, especially those of the literary agents who 'care enough' to comment on the submitting process. This is an invaluable book for writers, aided by a comprehensive Appendix to help the reader focus on vital information like battling those dreaded gremlins!
I advise authors with any sense to have Carolyn Howard-Johnson's bible within reaching distance of their desks. If nothing else, it will (re-)educate them about the English language.
Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2007
Web Site: Frances Lynn
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|Reviewed by Randall Barfield
|excellent review and very good advice. makes any of us think twice and want to have a look at this book. cheers|
|Reviewed by Carolyn HowardJohnson
Thank you so much for the lovely review. I am excited about this book, as I was about The Frugal Book Promoter. It is a way to reach and help many authors! Glad you liked the section on hyphens. They haunt most of us and there is much disagreement on them, but my book advises on the zero tolerance approach so as not to turn off an editor or agent who has the power to say "Yea" or "Nay" to your book (or short story or freelance query or...well, you get the idea. (-:
|Reviewed by Brett Moore
|I could definitely use this book. I'm no expert on grammar, as I'm sure you will see in my book. I basically hurried the process of publishing it and should have had it professionally edited. The Frugal Editor looks like a good handbook to have.