Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave (Great Books for Writers)
“All writers, seasoned or newbie, should read, absorb, and put to use the lessons Don McNair offers . . .”
Who among hopeful authors would not want to find a step-by-step guide for avoiding the writing pitfalls common to most? The correct answer is: All writers, seasoned or newbie, should read, absorb, and put to use the lessons Don McNair offers in his nonfiction offering: Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave.
Most writers will work a lifetime only to find themselves unpublished after many attempts. Mr. McNair does not cover all the essentials to writing a good piece of fiction (not plot nor character development, not scene setting nor developing voice), but he does hit heavy on all the crucial mistakes that muck up prose, slow down a reader, and make agents and publishers toss the offending manuscript in the recycling bin after reviewing only a page or two.
Mr. McNair labels these grammatical and stylistic offenses “foggy writing,” defined as “writing that’s full of unnecessary, misused, and overused words.” As the publicity copy puts it so well: “Editor-Proof Your Writing teaches how to edit weak verb forms, strip away author intrusions, ban redundancies, eliminate meaningless phrases, [and] correct passive-voice sentences.”
This book delivers on all of the above.
Most helpfully, Mr. McNair includes numerous lists of foggy phrases to avoid, replacement actions and emotions to use in lieu of dialogue tags, and double parts of speech to watch out for. In addition, the end of every chapter includes exercises to practice editing and paring the content discussed in that chapter or section.
While it would have been preferable for this book to immerse its lessons in more elegant writing and less chatter, writers who have gone to the classes, participated in the workshops, attended the conferences, and paid the editors to make sure their book is otherwise on track in terms of the bigger issues of storyline and character, voice and setting, arc and pacing, Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave provides a last-step methodology for achieving clearer, tighter prose.
And there is no writer, agent, or publisher who could argue about the value of that!