I love my editor, but she scares me. Here I sit at my desk, manuscript before me, staring at columns of blue comments.
I’d told her that I'm an English major and work with struggling readers, what I really needed help with was story not the little grammar things. I’d told her she wouldn't need to worry about my grammar or my spelling or any of those “little” issues.
Ha. I didn't know I was a comedienne.
My dear, sweet editor (the fabulous Jane MacKay), not only returned my manuscript with her editorial suggestions for story, but she included several markings regarding misuse of language, punctuation and spelling rules. That's not all. She provided several links to helpful writing tools (The Chicago Manual of Style, for one).
Know what, though? I actually cried tears of joy when I read her email and notes. I cried not because I was hurt or frustrated or worried this book was a load of cr!#. I cried because in the beginning of her email, she said this story was "very well written...warm...sweet...", etc. She even made note about a passage that brought tears to her eyes.
I knew that if she said all that, she believed my story was worth revising.
Most stories are. Hey, revising is part of the writing process, right?
YA Author Shannon Hale says: “Writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
I couldn’t agree more. So here are my top three sites to help you build sandcastles.
Chicago Manual of Style – easy searches for information about style, grammar, usage and more.
Merriam-Webster – my favorite online dictionary site. When in doubt, look it up.
Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips – if websites could be dog-eared, this one’d be in tatters. It’s my go-to page for exactly what the title says. (BTW: the link takes you to my biggest grammar trouble spot)
And if you still haven't read Anne LaMott's "Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life" or Stephen King's "On Writing," what are you waiting for?
Please read my new and improved opening chapter for my YA WIP. Tell me what you think. Share your favorite sites for cleaning up – or preventing - the mess.
Happy sandcastle building.