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Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave (Great Books for Writers) Paperback – April 1, 2013
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Eye-opening ... I didn't realize how many of the writing flaws that McNair outlines show up in my own writing.Very helpful, and I would recommend it to other writers. --tom-farr.blogspot.com
A clear, readable book on how to avoid foggy writing ... the most complete writing book I have ever read. especially useful for authors who have completed a work in progress and who wonder what the next step should be. --Warren Bull, Writers Who Kill
Provides a foolproof method for identifying common misused and overused words and errors ... Any who would edit weak verb forms, redundancies, and more will find this a solid, professional approach to editing one's own work for maximum impact. --Midwest Book Review
"Editor-Proof Your Writing" tells authors everything that I, as an editor, would like them to know. McNair gives real-world advice and takes readers step-by-step to creating a manuscript that shines. A must-read for authors. --Cassiel Knight, See Jane Publish
Don McNair's "21 Steps" program is succinct and to the point and may be just the tool I need to reinforce my own writing skills. "Editor-Proof Your Writing" will make a handy reference for any writer's desk. --ForeWord This Week
"Editor-Proof Your Writing" makes the whole editing process simple. Using Don McNair's method, I reduced my editing time by half. I'll be referring back to this book every time I edit. --Suzanne Lilly, TeacherWriter.net
McNair offers very specific steps to improving your writing. Go from foggy writing that drives editors crazy to clear prose that will have your editor smiling. A valuable asset to the libraries of published or soon-to-be-published authors --Rita Bay
A book about editing that I actually had fun reading ... will help make your writing cleaner, punchier and easier to read ... McNair is a good teacher as well as a good editor. Highly recommended. --Andrew Jack, andrewjackwriting.com
I highly recommend the book to everyone ... a quick and easy read that makes the editing process more efficient. --Stina Lindenblatt
Interesting without being overloaded with a lot of theory ... also good information on critique partners, publishers, and writing the query letter and synopsis. The book helped me produce a more polished story. I highly recommend it. Two thumbs up! --Gale Stanley
Lists 180 redundancies, 250 foggy phrases you should avoid, over 200 clichés you shouldn't use, and 50 dialog sources you can use in place of "he said." If you write fiction, you really ought to pick up this book. --Patricia Fry, Small Publishers, Artists, and Writers Network (SPAWN)
Packed with tips to strengthen your writing and can serve as a guide through the revision process. With this book in my arsenal, my editor's job is about to get a lot harder. --Erika Liodice, Writing the Dream
All writers, seasoned or newbie, should read, absorb, and put to use the lessons Don McNair offers in "Editor-Proof Your Writing." --Lisa Rojany Buccieri, New York Journal of Books
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McNair's book has none of those flaws. It differs from usage manuals in its structure and content—content is organized into 21 different "typical" writing errors, and McNair includes only the information most crucial to aspiring writers. Because of this, the content is clear, concise, and easy to follow. He provides numerous before-and-after examples plus exercises in each chapter. The book also includes several lists of redundant, wordy, cliched, weak, and clumsy phrases that writers should avoid.
McNair makes several assertions in the text:
1. Most writers believe they are better writers than they really are.
2. Even after a writer's manuscript has received the blessing of critique partners, friends, and family, it will almost always require a moderate to heavy edit by a professional before it will be publishable.
3. Writers often believe their manuscript is ready for editing when it still needs another rewrite.
4. Writers use throwaway adverbs and adjectives, fancy-sounding phrases that are actually cliches, and incorrect or unnecessary dialogue tags.
He makes several others as well. So here's the good news and the bad news. The good—every assertion he makes is absolutely correct. I've seen every single example in my editing work, and often double-digit numbers of them in single manuscripts. The bad—McNair's observations and advice are so direct, and his tone so matter-of-fact, that some writers may be offended or go into defensive mode when they see some of their own errors in his examples. That's a shame, because McNair's book is one of the very few that does not launch into rah-rah mode when addressing the typical skill level of most writers. Writers unable to make that first critical assessment or receive critical feedback constructively will never improve, and rather than sugarcoat such a situation by acceding to the argument that bad writing is misunderstood or that the writer has simply not been "discovered," McNair takes the more direct and truthful route—it's simply bad writing.
On the other hand, McNair's writing adeptly translates complex information so that is understandable even to beginning writers. In the chapter on avoiding unnecessary "-ing" words, for example, he does not talk about participles or gerunds, but rather provides examples of exactly what the problem is, as well as some exceptions. With this simple approach, McNair avoids taking the reader down the rabbit hole of language jargon that most typical readers would not recall or that would confuse them more than it would help. The 21 rules are not random, though—they tend to fall into typical categories such as adverbs, passive phrases, infinitives, and expletives. It's just that McNair made the wise decision to dispense with unnecessary labels for words that readers can see quite clearly in the examples without needing to label them with their grammar equivalents.
I anticipated quibbling with McNair in a few areas, but every bit of his advice is sound. He also provides several anecdotes from his experience editing magazines, books, and corporate PR materials. Undoubtedly, some writers will still choose to disagree with McNair on some fundamental areas of writing, not because he is wrong, but rather because they are unwilling to give up on being right by being wrong. But as McNair notes in his book, they'll never be published by a big house (for those who are striving for that outcome).
One of very few books on writing (specifically for writers of books, but the advice here is relevant to virtually all writing) that is easy to understand and can have a dramatic and fairly immediate impact on one's writing skills.
This is an excellent reference book for writers.
As a fellow author I can tell you- this book helps you improve.
It literally tells you how to fix things in your story. Has a huge list of cliche's you can make sure you are not using. Literally 21 steps of editing. He tells you what, why and how, then let's you apply it, in short easy to follow sections.
If you are looking to improve as a writer or editor, you won't be disappointed. It's a great resource, one I have on my desk at all times.
There is a vast amount of information available on the internet about editing. If you follow writers' blogs you can gather everything you need about editing your manuscript. The problem is it takes a lot of time and a lot of reading. This book is a real time saver, because you can have what you need without wasting time searching and waiting for someone to drop the piece of information you just need.
The book is straightforward and full of advices what to do to tighten your prose and to weed out the words making your writing amateurish.
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Author: Don McNair
Genre: Writing Helps/Non-fiction
Recommended Ages: 18 &...Read more