Tag Archives: editing

‘Peak’, ‘Peek’ or ‘Pique’ one’s interest?

taking-a-peakI think peek can be taken out of the confusion equation most easily. It simply means ‘a secret look’, and one cannot ‘secret look one’s interest’ and claim grammatical wherewithal. However, errors arise between peak and pique.

Peak is often used wrongly in this expression, presumably because it sounds like it’s bringing one’s interest to a peak, ‘a highest or maximum point’.

The correct phrase is ‘to pique one’s interest’.

Pique, in this context, means ‘to provoke’.

If you ever confuse peek and peak, just remember that peek is like peer, or see the ‘ee’s like a pair of eyes.

I hope this post provoked you interest. Likes, shares, comments and such will be met with eternal gratitude.

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‘Mother’s Day’, ‘Mothers’ Day’ or ‘Mothers Day’?

Another holiday, another apostrophe-based conundrum. The day on which we celebrate our mothers is almost upon us here in the UK, so what should we write on our card? Indeed, which card should we buy? Is it the day that belongs to all the mothers or just our individual mother? Or is it a day for mothers but not belonging to them at all?

The OED goes with Mother’s Day which I think works. A lot of us have only one mum and it’s her day. Celebration in the singular. General usage seems to back this up.

ngramIt seems Ann and Anna Jarvis, the women who invented Mother’s Day in the USA, chose to have the apostrophe before the S too, ‘[Anna] was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.’

She also thought that we should send letters, rather than cards.

I think that’s pretty conclusive, but if you’re still not happy, just go with Mothering Sunday.

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“I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

I’ve had an interesting, fun and varied year of proofreading and editing, as well as starting a new job working in libraries, and another writing for a publisher. I’ve been busy, but having a ridiculously good time. Below I’ve collected what I’ve worked on as Eve Proofreads in 2014. Each of these projects has been such a joy to work on. I’m very lucky so many extraordinarily talented authors have let me read their work. I urge you to have a look through and purchase any that take your fancy; they are all well worth reading. The title quote is from Jerome K. Jerome, who’s pretty good too.

SlashI really loved proofreading Evan Kingston’s Slash Serial.

Slash is a metafictional erotic thriller / comedic murder mystery / romantic slasher, originally published in seven parts. Alexis Bledsoe, star of TV’s #1 family drama, is certain coming out the closet will kill her career, so she turns to erotic fan fiction about herself as her only sexual outlet. But when the stories turn sinister and begin to match real-life murders on the set of her show, she struggles to discover their author’s true identity while trying to keep her own a secret.

Originally published in seven parts, you can download the whole thing here or get the beautiful handmade set here.

Night BusLondon EyesFrances M Thompson hired me for a few of her short stories, published as Night Bus and in the London Eyes collection.

Written by Guardian Top London Blogger Frances M. Thompson, London Eyes is a compilation of thought-provoking contemporary fiction inspired by the sights, sounds and souls of the world’s most popular, and some say greatest, city. Find out how and why one young woman uses the busy streets of the City of London to disappear in An Invisible Girl. In Angel you begin to understand the lengths some people go to to avoid loneliness in London. 

Night Bus is a gentle and thought-provoking short story about dreams, love and the strange things that happen when you get the night bus in London.
Tilde O’Hara is an English woman with Irish parents and a Swedish name.
Tilde O’Hara lives in London with two cats who don’t like her very much.
Tilde O’Hara has a job she loves, a gay best friend she loves and a maisonette she loves, albeit really a bed-sit.
One night Tilde O’Hara meets an old woman on the number 94 bus and everything changes.

Here’s where you can find them.

Bewitching Luke

I really enjoy a bit of YA fantasy. The first book I worked on this year was Ava Smith’s Bewitching Luke. Here’s the synopsis:

Seventeen year old Freya Cook is a witch. She is able to cast spells and tell the future. She is shunned by everyone in the tiny village she lives in and doesn’t have a friend in the world. One day, salvation presents itself in the form of Luke Jones – who just happens to move in next door.

Start reading it on Wattpad.

DemonsI also worked on Joe Clay’s Demons of the Jungle, a darker paranormal fantasy:

Debra and Patricia were in the fight of their lives. The jungle became a prison, filled with nightmares and mysterious happenings. The un-explainable events drove Debra and Patricia to the realization they were part of a much bigger scheme. The demons were planning on taking over humanity and they were to be the mothers of the offspring.

Download it here, and look forward to Joe Clay’s upcoming novel that I also spent time on this year.

The Changing RoomI proofread and helped with the author Q & A and book club questions for The Changing Room by Jane Turley.

“Today, I am in the changing room of my life and tomorrow, win or lose, I’ll move forward a stronger and wiser woman.”

Sandy Lovett’s confused mother and chaotic life are having an effect on her waistline. She knows she needs to change her life but doesn’t know how until she buys a risqué dress which sets in motion a sequence of life-changing events. After years as a mother, carer and full-time employee, Sandy quits her job and places her mother in a care home, and life seems on the up. But disaster is never far away for the hapless Sandy as her mother’s obsessions continue to wreak havoc and her husband’s business begins to fail. Short of cash and needing a flexible job, Sandy joins a sex-chat service. At The Beaver Club Sandy discovers a talent for selling telephone sex – a skill she later regrets when she meets unscrupulous local politician and prospective MP, Trewin Thackeray. The Changing Room is a comedy-drama for all those whose glass is half-full. Preferably with gin and a big fat cherry!

Download it here or get the paperback.

SantaI also worked on Jane Turley’s short story collection A Modern Life, which I hear is Santa’s new favourite book.

A Modern Life is collection of contemporary short stories for time-pressed readers. A reflection on the challenges of living in the 21st century, A Modern Life covers a multitude of topics including marriage, murder, child abduction, climate change and war. It also features Jane Turley’s distinctive slapstick-comedy tales and a chapter of her début comedy, The Changing Room.

Buy the ebook or the paperback.

200 Shorter StoriesIt was great fun working on 200 Shorter Stories by C. H. Aaberry.

Two hundred tales of two hundred letters and spaces.
Plots, worlds and character refined to their essence.
Sci-fi, whimsy, fantasy, horror, thriller and more.
Short stories unlike any you’ve read before.

Get it from Amazon or Smashwords.

ZoI also edited C. H. Aalberry’s new novel Zo and the Impossible Gardens.

Zo woke up in the Impossible Gardens with no memory of how he got there and no way to escape. He is alone, and the night skies are full of stars and moons he does not recognize. Whatever brought Zo to the Gardens leaves him puzzles to solve, rewarding his efforts with strange animals from Earth and beyond. Zo loves adventure, but will he ever get to go home?
This is the story of Zo and the Impossible Gardens.

 

Available here.

SnowburnI proofread E. J. Frost’s sexy sci-fi novel, Snowburn.

Hale Hauser is a Company killer. Perfectly engineered, highly trained, superbly effective. But when ordered to assassinate his own kind, Hale rebels, and the Company buries him in a hole so deep that no one has ever escaped.

After escaping, Hale hides on Kuseros, a backwater Colony on the Deep Frontier. He begins a new life as Sandringham Snow, pilot and smuggler. Hired by Kez, a local runner, to retrieve a box of black-market glands, Hale follows her through the maze of strange loyalties and twisted customs of Kuseros’ underground gangs. In payment, he takes the one thing only a woman can give him, and discovers the one thing his new life is missing.

But Kez has a secret, which will threaten them both. To protect her, Hale must unleash the monster. Can he control the killer inside long enough to discover the truth before it destroys them? Or will he lose everything just as he’s found it?

Buy it here.

Lorenzo's CauseI actually met Stephen R. Harrison in real life after proofreading his debut novel Lorenzo’s Cause. He’s a delight and so is the book.

When Adam Drysdale’s self-inflicted misery drives him to take his own life, his only wish is for oblivion. He soon realises that his wish has not been granted when he finds himself returned to the world as a spirit. But he is no ordinary spirit, because he has the extraordinary ability to possess and control other living creatures.

And so begins Adam’s remarkable journey to uncover the reason behind his existence. It will involve cats and dogs, unwitting pensioners, some shady individuals, a psychotic gang leader and a highly unusual nightclub doorman. His journey will eventually lead him to the heart of why humans exist, and with it what the afterlife has in store for him.

 Lorenzo’s Cause is a humorous, sad, and at times harrowing story, which reflects on the human condition as it twists and turns its way to some novel concepts of what lies beyond.

The ebook and paperback can be purchased on Amazon.

Journey into SpaceSteve Turnbull employed me to edit steampunk space adventure Journey Into Space, 1874.

When the Royal Navy send their first crew into the Void, the first part of the expedition goes off without a hitch. But when the three-man crew discover their assumption that they are the first men in the Void is false, their journey becomes a desperate fight for survival in the harshest environment in the universe: The Void.

Available here. I’m currently working on the next Maliha Anderson mystery, so I strongly recommend you catch up with the first three here.

Johnny Don't March promo 1 copyI’ve just sent back Timothy Hurley‘s extraordinary novel about a soldier coming home, Johnny Don’t March. Look out for that in January.

 

There are a couple of other great titles I got to read this year which aren’t out yet, including Drae Box‘s fantasy adventure The Royal Gift, get a sneak peek here, and the new novel from Buzz Malone(If you haven’t read Silence of Centerville yet, do.)

To every author mentioned here, thank you so much for hiring me this year and for letting me read the products of your brilliant imaginations. You’re all fantastic!

What have you been doing this year? I hope it’s been a good one.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy and productive 2015!

 

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‘Stationary’ or ‘Stationery’?

stationaryBack to school time: a time when proprietors try to cash in on young ones’ collective desire for decorative protractors, pens and paraphernalia. It is also a time when signage misspelling abounds. The A-board to the right was in my shopping precinct. Homophones are tricky. Here’s the correct usage: 

Stationary: adjective; not moving.

Stationery: noun; writing materials. 

The way that I was taught to remember this is to think of the -er in paper. “I bought pap-er from a station-er.”

stationeryTheir etymology is linked. They both originate in the Latin stationarius, which comes from stare which means ‘to stand’. You are stationary when you are standing in one place. Also, stationer (a person who sells stationery) was a tradesperson who had set up at a fixed location and was therefore standing in the same spot, stationary

One more time: 

“The paper is stationery.”

“The car is stationary.”

I hope that was helpful. How do you remember it? Comments welcome!

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A Chat with DIY Author

ADIYA little while ago I was called upon to share some editing knowledge in vocalised format with the Interweb. Click here to listen to my pearls of relative wisdom. 

Everybody loves a podcast. 

Have some background on DIY Author:

DIY Author exists to educate and empower authors with the knowledge and tools they need to do the work, find an audience, and build a career. Whether you are pursuing a deal with traditional publishers, you’re pursuing an independent path, or you’re hoping for the best of both worlds, our mission is to help you navigate the constantly changing landscape of publishing.

Our editorial team works to bring you original and comprehensive articles, expert interviews, innovative case studies, reviews of the latest industry research and the news you need to know to improve your chances of making your best work.

I hope you enjoy the episode. All comments welcome. 

 

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Thirteen Thoughts On Dialogue

Readers love dialogue, or so I’ve read; apparently the white space is less daunting than solid paragraphs. In your novel make sure dialogue is achieving something – plot or character development. The dream is to create a level of naturalism.

  1. frozenInclude interruptions and partial sentences. In real life people often tail off, or leave the other person to fill in the end of their sentence.
  2. Think about how each of your characters would speak.
  3. People’s vocabularies vary with up-bringing, situation, where they live or have lived, level of education etc. Give your characters different vocabularies, though avoid stereotyping.
  4. Related to this, it is worth considering whether they would use different colloquialisms, sayings, cultural references or slang. Evan Kingston is excellent at this.
  5. To create pace with your dialogue and to reflect stress in the characters keep it short and sharp. To create more intrigue and drag things out use longer exchanges.
  6. Sadness or anxiety can be expressed by someone stammering or falling over their words, not quite knowing what to say.
  7. Dialogue is as much about what characters don’t say as what they do. Subtext and mystery will keep your readers intrigued.
  8. Avoid expository dialogue: the dreaded ‘info-dump’. Never let one character lecture another with information just because you want your audience to know it. Make it an exchange of questions and answers. Leave things unsaid or imply them.
  9. Make sure your characters don’t stop or sit down to have conversations. In real life conversation happens while people are doing other things. Please don’t have dialogue meetings.
  10. Use adverbs sparingly when you’re not using tone or accompanying actions to show mood.
  11. To check whether your dialogue flows like real human conversation, read it out loud. Get your friends to join in and make an evening of it. If it doesn’t sound like you intend it to coming from your volunteer thespians, then it probably won’t read right either.
  12. Dialogue should be realistic, but as with everything in novels, it can be more exciting, quicker, wittier and more convenient than real life.
  13. funny-english-men-drinking-teaRelated to the above, do start chapters or sections in the middle of conversations. The start can be dreadfully dull. If books were real life we’d be twelve pages in and still only have established that everyone is fine, weather is happening, and we’d all love a cup of tea, if it’s not too much trouble.

Do you have any further thoughts on dialogue? I would love to see them in the comments. Please do like or share if this has been of any use to you.

If you’d like to have a dialogue with me, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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Ngrams: A Magnificent Editing Tool

Basically, Google Ngrams searches all of the 5.2 million books digitized by Google for whatever word(s) or phrase(s) you want to look for or compare. It then plots them on a graph. This is extremely useful when proofreading as it helps me to choose between variant spellings, particularly if an author has used more than one in their work. 

Have a look at this example:
nerves
Charts like the one below also show which version of a phrase was in common use in a particular era. You can even use it to check whether a word you’re considering using in your period piece was in common usage at that time.

hat

In general, it’s rather interesting to see how words or phrases have risen or fallen in popularity. Here’s the trajectory of ‘twerk’:

twerk

You can also search in many languages, including British or American English, and choose a shorter time span. It can even be used to explore cultural change and the popularity of ideas.

women

It’s a handy and rather interesting tool. Click here to have a go.

What do you think? Have you used it in your editing?

 

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Praise from the Magnificent Buzz Malone

Once upon a time on the Internet, I became acquainted with a brilliant author named Buzz Malone. After seeing my work on Chaunce Stanton’s The Blank Slate Boarding House for Creatives, to my delight he chose me to editSilence of Centerville Cover his novel. If you’re interested to know what working with me is like, he’s written the following.

I had personally edited the thing at least thrice, so I thought if she was really intent upon earning her pay, she might be able to find a dozen misplaced commas throughout the work (you know, if she looked really hard).

I have put about ten hours into the thing since I got it back from Eve, and I am about 5% into her corrections and recommendations. At first, I got the feeling this might be some form of masochism, having paid for the privilege of being rebuked time and again. But as I read and correct and edit and correct and edit and read, I am not feeling any of the usual artist’s angst. I’m going with it, and making the changes (all of them), and I’m thinking about things in my writing that I had never considered before (NO, not just grammar and punctuation).

Hiring this young woman to slash red ink all over my work is the singular best thing I have ever done as an author. It’s not simply making the book better (Mom already has fifty copies, so what’s the point besides one more sale when I change the cover again?), but it is making me a better writer and giving me fuller clarity as to the depth and degree of things I need to consider as I write.

 At the risk of repeating myself over and again… I will NEVER release another book that has not been edited. And more specifically, if she will have me, I will endeavour to have all future works edited by Eve.

I must say that Eve has done an amazing job of editing. Even in spite of the fact that I am already a recognized a master of the English language and grammar, Eve managed to find a few (hundred) places where my perfection could be polished somewhat. Apparently, these little thingamajigs ( : ) have uses beyond making smiley faces? Who knew?

Honestly and seriously, I can say with certainty that despite all of my independent bravado, I will NEVER release another manuscript that Eve has not already reviewed. Her services are entirely too beneficial for the work and for me as a writer, AND too affordable, not to employ her.

I must also say that I have found your services to be too affordable, and far too valuable to me as a writer, to go it on my own ever again. And I am saying that most self published authors I know could forgo a few weekends at the pub, or a few bottles of scotch or rum, and reap the benefits of your services.

I do not (for my own future benefit) desire to imply that your services are too cheap, but rather, that I remain surprised at the volume and depth of your critique, comments and edits. And I find reasonably priced, professional services such as yours, to be just as beneficial to emerging independent authors as print on demand services have been. I don’t think that I can overstate enough the value of the services you are providing to my work, and to the movement itself.

Thank you Buzz!

You can imagine how thrilled I was to read that! As soon as the new edition is available, I urge you all to read Silence of Centerville. It’s a beautifully written, moving novel. I really enjoyed working on it.

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‘Who’s’ or ‘Whose’?

These two words are often confused. We’re used to using apostrophes for possessives and this is not the case here, so this mistake is easily made. It is a similar issue to ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ and is very easy to read past and overlook in your own work. Here’s how to get it right.

TomBakerDrWho

Who’s is the contracted form of who is.

Who’s that wearing the magnificent scarf?

The Doctor, who’s a Time Lord, has a particular fondness for Earth.

Whose is the possessive form of who, it means belonging to whom. 

Whose TARDIS is that?

It belongs to the man whose bow tie is very cool.

tardis-matt_00428408

That’s it for who’s and whose, illustrated by Doctor Who. Any questions, thoughts or Doctor Who memes, you know who to come to! As always, please do like and share if this was at all helpful!

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‘It’s’ or ‘Its’?

These two are commonly confused. Here are the rules:

‘It’s’ is short for ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.

Darth

‘It’s been a long time coming.’

‘It’s not you, it’s me.’

‘It’s a massive hot air balloon shaped like Darth Vader’s head.’

‘It’s rather intimidating.’

‘Its’ is used as the possessive: when something belongs to the ‘it’ in question.

s-BAD-IRON-MAN-COSTUME-large‘The jury has reached its decision: the guy in all the sellotape is not the real Iron Man.’ 

‘The dog chased its tail.’

‘Its colour was unexpected.’

‘The group changed its name.’

 

Could you put ‘it is’ in the sentence instead? Then use ‘it’s’. Could you put ‘him’/’her’ in the sentence? Use ‘Its’.

I’d love to hear from you if you have a good way of remembering this, any questions or good examples!

 

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