What’s with editors anyway? Why does a “real” writer need an editor? Surely any writer worth his or her salt knows how to spell, punctuate, and write an engaging sentence! Besides, editors just want to change your writing and make you sound like everyone else out there. They are so full of themselves, thinking they know everything about English and writing–darn grammar nazis! The writer is the one who knows the book the best, not some stranger!
Want to know a secret? I’m not just an editor, I’m also a writer. And I am definitely one of the most protective, overbearing people ever when it comes to my work. After all, I’m an excellent editor, and I’ve been told I’m not half bad at writing either. So not only should I be able to create it, I should be able to edit it until it is perfect, right?
I like… Continue reading
Upspeak, also known as high rising terminal, is a feature of some English accents where statements have a rising intonation pattern in their final syllables.
Have you ever met someone who constantly ended every sentence with a question mark, even if what he–or more likely, she–said was not a question? Maybe you thought of her as a ditz, an airhead, or labelled her a Valley Girl. But did you ever wonder why she spoke that way?
S.A. Slack brought regional accents up to me the other day as we were discussing characters, and we paused to discuss upspeak in more depth. Many people find this manner of speech annoying and can’t help but immediately pass judgment on the speaker. However, isn’t this true of accents in general? Think of a heavy drawl from one of our southern states, or of talking with someone from London, England; speech patterns… Continue reading
I tend to be quite rigid when it comes to the rules of the English language. I love language and am a creature of habit. I like to know that things fit into nice little boxes, follow certain rules, and can be made to look nice, neat, and pretty. I can be very opinionated, as well. Actually, I am perfect for the job of editor!
Language isn’t always as neat and pretty as an OCD editor would like to hope, though. One of the loudest–and most fun–discussions that would bounce around the lunchroom when I used to work at an office with other editors would be about whether the English language is, or should be, a fluid language.
Obviously, our language is fluid: it changes from generation to generation, and as technology shifts and changes. My stance is that the underlying rules should not change; these rules are how we… Continue reading
A good book is as fulfilling to a reader as a favorite meal. How often have you felt as though you were “devouring” a particular novel? Did you find yourself with a satisfyingly full feeling after such a “meal,” perhaps only wishing that there was room for more? If the perfect story is like a delicious meal, then the plot would be the recipe, the events would be the main ingredients, and the characters would be the herbs and spices that give the entire dish depth and flavor.
Studying the “characters” populating her real life is a great way for an author to round out the characters she brings to life on the pages of her next novel. She should be a dedicated people watcher, identifying interesting personal quirks, ingrained habits, and individual tastes that make people stand out. Filing these tidbits of information away, whether mentally or by writing… Continue reading
The etymology of a word is not its definition; rather, it refers to the study of a word’s origin and how its usage has changed and developed. For instance, the word etymology is derived from a Greek word: etymon, which means “the true sense” and the suffix -ology, which indicates the study of a particular branch of knowledge.
While a word’s usage and meaning can dramatically change over time, understanding where our language comes from is useful and important.
Knowing root words and understanding the meanings of prefixes and suffixes will increase your vocabulary by helping you to identify words that are unfamiliar to you.
A large majority of the words in our language have Greco-Roman roots. Let’s look at the word encephalitis. The prefix en- means “in,” the word cephalo- is a Latin root meaning “brain, head, skull,” and the suffix -itis shows that something is… Continue reading