Tag s | Editing

Every Word Counts

Many years ago while editing a nonfiction book, I noticed the author had a proclivity for using the word “very” quite often. To me the repetition jumped off the page.

After deleting 95% of its use, I returned the manuscript; the author was mortified that their work had such an obvious error in it. Hilariously, I later received an email with the word “very” repeated over and over, at least 500 times (very very very very very very, etc.). Then came the message, “Just trying to get that word out of my system before I write my next book.”

Recently I came across a cool online tool where you can see which of your words are repeated too often. Use this link to the WordCounter.net website and run your WIP (work in progress) within its walls.

I ran the Guidelines page on our website in this counter. In a 1,887-word document, I use the word “proposal” 28 times, the word “mail” 20 times, and the word “book” 19 times. Not abnormal considering the nature of the article.

Out of curiosity I ran the full text of a public domain edition of the book The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A’Kempis (59,454 words) and discovered that the word “God” is used 410 times, “things” 336 times, “man” 260 times, and “good” 217 times. On the site there is a little check box on the statistic box that allows it to review three words used together. This book uses the phrase “above all things” 20 times.

The reading level was evaluated to be at 11-12th grade.

In other words (no pun intended), the sample book is well written without odd words or phrases that were overused.

Which begs the question about your work in progress. What words have you overused in your manuscript?

Later I took one paragraph from the A’Kempis book at random and entered it into the system and clicked to have it check for plagiarism. It took me to grammarly.com which reported, “We’ve found 6 writing issues in your text and have also detected significant plagiarism.” To verify the issues, you have to sign up on that site and pay for their services. But apparently teachers use this to check students’ papers for plagiarism.

Read their Privacy Policy to make sure you are comfortable transmitting your work to a website based in Switzerland.

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Four Myths About Editors

Since even the most prolific authors’ experience with editors may be limited to one or two, editors can seem mythical. Let’s unwrap a few assumptions: 1)  Editors don’t have to worry about the market. Agents advise writers to consider the market when writing. This is because editors do have to …

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Editors: Friend or Foe?

Our guest blogger today is our friend Karen Ball! She runs Karen Ball Publishing Services, LLC and is an award-winning, best-selling author; a popular podcaster/ speaker; and the co-creator with Erin Taylor Young of From the Deep, LLC. She has also been executive editor for fiction at Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and …

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A Writer’s Best Friend

If I asked you what you considered to be a writer’s best friend, what would you say? Please don’t say “Wikipedia.” My clients would probably reply, “Bob Hostetler.” But that can’t be everyone’s answer. You might consider “a fine fountain pen” or “a blank page in a brand new journal” …

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Should You Hire a Freelance Editor?

Katie Dale asked, “I am wondering at what stage should I have my memoir edited? After I have an agent? After I have a publisher? Before? Should I consider ever getting professionally edited before I get an agent or publisher? What’s the process?” This is a question being asked more …

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I Love Change, Especially For Someone Else

Several decades ago, the British magazine, The Linguist printed a graphic with the phrase, “The strongest drive is not to Love or Hate; it is one person’s need to change another’s copy.” In the cartoon, the word “change” was crossed out and replaced first by amend, then by revise, alter, …

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Why I Don’t Critique Your Work

A fantastic blog post from Ramona Richards reminded me why I, as a literary agent, don’t offer critiques on rejected proposals. Believe me, as someone who used to write books, I understand the disappointment of the unhelpful rejection letter. So much that I blogged about it (click to read it). …

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A Day in an Editor’s Brain

How’s that for a terrifying blog title? Okay, so we won’t spend a whole day there. But as I pondered how to give you a glimpse into what freelance editors do, it occurred to me that the easiest, and best, method would be to just let you live in this …

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