In my career as a freelance editor, I have edited over three hundred books. This does not include any editing performed in my former career as a legal assistant, or as the manager of a speaker’s bureau back in the days of pre-networked computers and printers where I had to type something, save it to a floppy disk, take it to a different computer to print, and God help me if there was a typo. With all those words read, dissected, and edited, I have honed my craft. I have also identified the things that annoy me most in someone’s writing. At this point, I’ve pretty much seen it all. With that said, I give you this list, Part One of my most annoying personal peeves as an editor.
As if/As though*: As if writing a book isn’t hard enough, don’t write as though you don’t know what you’re doing; it makes you sound as if you’re trying too hard.
These DO have their place, and are a legitimate device. Don’t overdo it, though.
As: I. Can’t. Even. Please see message below from my Judgy McJudgerson Bitstrips alter ego.
Began: As I began to write this, I began to think about the words that annoyed me the most. As I began contemplating these words, I began to get annoyed all over again, and as I began to grind my teeth, the irony hit me hard.
Before: I woke up this morning before I had my first cup of coffee, and sat down to write this before I began to think about the editing issues that annoy me most. Before I chose the ones I would include in this Part One editing peeves paper, I began to suspect that I sounded like Judgy McJudgerson before I toned it down a little.
But: Y’all writer’s like big “buts” and you cannot lie.
Nod/shake/smile/sigh: Which includes: nodded, nods, nodding, shook, shakes, shaking, smiled, smiles, smiling, sighed, sighing. Oy…some of you? It’s like your characters have palsy with all the nodding and sighing and smiling and shaking of heads:
“He sighed and nodded, shaking his head at the irony with a smile.”
“He smiled, nodding his agreement with a heavy sigh, then shook his head.”
“She shook her head. After nodding her agreement, she said with a smile, ‘I am so tired,’ she sighed.”
Just: Just open your WIP right this very second and just delete just about any “just” you find. I believe you’ll discover the word usually is just not necessary.
Seem: It seems that writers who use the word seem a lot seem to be unsure what they are seemingly trying to say. It can bog down your writing and make it seem like it’s seemingly pretty abstract.
Very: See above re “just”. Same principles. Very often when “very” is used, it’s a word used to fill a very small space, and very frequently is just not very necessary at all.
Felicia will return soon with more of “My Personal Peeves as an Editor”
Felicia A. Sullivan is a popular indie editor, who has edited over three hundred books in various genres. Don’t let her book list scare you. Though there are quite a few books with “Dead” in the title, containing zombies, vampires and various other monsters, she is perfectly at ease editing your romance, sci-fi, fantasy, or any genre, including non-fiction!
You can visit her website here: http://indie-editor.webs.com/
View a partial list of books she has edited here: http://indie-editor.webs.com/booksihaveedited.htm
You can find her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/indieeditor
- My Personal Peeves as an Editor, Part Two - July 16, 2016
- Author PSA – Please, I beg of you, stop writing this sentence. - February 28, 2016
- Author PSA – Either/Or Neither/Nor - January 23, 2016
- Author PSA – Sentences like these. No. That is all. My head is exploding. - January 9, 2016
- Author PSA – Pet Peeves #1 - December 5, 2015
- Author PSA – Began. Another one of “those” words you need to cull. - November 28, 2015
- Author PSA – Needs No Further Explanation - November 21, 2015
- Author PSA – For The Love Of All That Is Good And Right, Please Do Not Ever Start Sentences With These Words! - November 14, 2015
- My Personal Peeves as an Editor, Part One - September 12, 2015