THE CRAFT OF WRITING — SEPTEMBER 2020
THE CRAFT OF WRITING – SEPTEMBER 2020
The Punctuation Test
A couple of months ago, I told you about the games we play in our home. Everything from Scrabble to Monopoly. And I mentioned that word games are a special favorite.
For this month’s interview with Kathy Ide, I’m going to take game-playing to another level. Kathy is an expert in grammar and punctuation, and those are areas I’m a little weak in. So we’re going to have a fun test to see if you can spot errors in my sentences. After all, we’re readers and most of us are writers, so we should be able to pick out the mistakes in no time at all. Right?
Take a look at the sentences below and decide where the errors are.
The Punc Test
- I think its a shame that Mrs. Fletcher’s Fabulous Chicken Restaurant closed.
- Frank ate the hamburger, and went to the park.
- I’ve seen the best movies, including: Casablanca, Forrest Gump, and Schindler’s List.
- Donna told me that “there is nothing like fried ice cream.”
- Is this theme-park a dog friendly place?
You can check your answers here.
How did you do?
If you missed three or more, you might want to brush up on your grammar and punctuation. Kathy Ide’s Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors would be an excellent place to start!
If you only missed one or two, you’re doing well, but you probably need an editor to check your work before you publish. You can find excellent ones at www.ChristianEditor.com.
If you got them all right, you may be ready to become an editor or proofreader yourself! Check out Kathy’s Christian Editor Network at www.ChristianEditorNetwork.com!
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I am delighted to welcome Kathy Ide back to the Craft of Writing Blog Series. Along with her numerous activities in writing, editing, and mentoring, Kathy is owner of the Christian Editor Network, the parent company of four divisions for aspiring and established freelance editors and proofreaders. In addition to her latest book, Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, Kathy has written Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the Capitalization Dictionary. She is also the compiler and editor of a four-book series of Fiction Lover’s Devotional books, including 21 Days of Grace, 21 Days of Love, 21 Days of Joy, and 21 Days of Christmas.
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Welcome back, Kathy, and thank you for joining us!
It’s been a little over a year since you were here last. What have you been doing in the interval?
Still doing a lot of editing for authors, which I love. The SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference went virtual this year, which was a blessing to many people who couldn’t have attended in person.
The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, which I’ve directed the last four years, was cancelled due to COVID-19. The conference center has been hit so hard by the pandemic, I was laid off (along with 90% of the MH employees), and the ministry leaders decided not to sponsor the writers conference anymore. I’m praying they will recover from this terrible situation, and if they do, I’m eager to see what God does there.
In the meantime, I’m enjoying more time with my family now that my conferences, travel, and visiting relatives are off my calendar due to the virus.
What made you want to become an editor?
When I lost my day job in an office, my husband suggested it might be a good opportunity for me to do something different with my career. He asked what I’d choose if I could do anything for a living, and I immediately said, “Write!” But I knew I couldn’t earn a living with my writing at that point. He asked what my second choice would be, and I said, “My critique group likes what I do for them, and I love doing it.” He suggested I see if I could make a career out of that. I asked my workers’ comp coordinator about it, but she said that since I didn’t have a college degree, it was “impossible.” When I heard that word, I heard God say, “Impossible is my specialty,” and I knew it was a direction He wanted me to pursue.
It was one of the best decisions I ever made. While I love writing, helping others improve their writing is an absolute delight for me.
Why did you decide to write Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors?
In my work with authors, as well as attending and teaching at writers’ conferences across the country, I developed several flyers on various aspects of editing. Most were based on advice I’d picked up from best-selling authors I’d met and learned from over the years. Putting those flyers together into a book, weaving in direct quotes from my multi-published author friends, just made sense.
When Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors was published, it was intended to be the first in a series. Editing Secrets seemed like the logical second book.
This has been a strange year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. How has that affected your work?
With the cancellation of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and the in-person SoCal conference, as well as other travel and out-of-state relatives visiting, I am no longer behind on any deadlines! It’s an odd feeling, but I have to say, quite satisfying.
Some of my editing clients are using the extra time to get lots of writing done, so they’re keeping me busy. Other clients are finding it difficult to concentrate on their writing with all that’s going on, so their slots on my calendar have been moved. So it all works out for everyone.
Many of the people who visit this blog are new authors. What one piece of advice would you give to them?
Only one? J Let’s see … I think the most important would be to trust God’s calling and his timing. Many new writers get so excited about what God has put on their hearts to write that they tend to rush the process. They set self-imposed deadlines for when they want their books published before they realize all that’s involved and how long those steps can take. God called you at exactly the right moment for you to learn how to write well, make connections with other writers who can help you hone your craft, work with a professional editor to polish your manuscript, and then follow whatever path he has chosen for publication of that book. He knew at the start how long that process would take. He also knew precisely the right time for your book to be published so it would get into the hands of the people he knew would need to read it. So relax, take your time, do it right, and enjoy the ride.
Other than your own books, what book on the craft of writing would you recommend to our readers?
There are many, and I’d be hard pressed to recommend one craft book above all the others, so I’ll go with The Chicago Manual of Style. It’s not so much on the craft of writing itself, but once you’ve read many craft books and implemented their techniques into your manuscript, it’s important that you do that final polish and make sure your punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling are according to the book industry’s standard guidelines. Because if you have a lot of errors in your manuscript, publishers (and readers) will be so distracted by them they’ll have a hard time getting into your story or your message.
The publishing world seems to be changing daily. What do you see in store for us in the future? What advice would you give to authors to navigate this labyrinth?
That is so true, Kay! My best advice for keeping up with changes in the publishing world is to attend writers’ conferences. COVID-19 has forced several to cancel, but some have gone online … and we’ll be able to have in-person events again at some point. Conferences that have active literary agents and acquisitions editors on faculty will give you the opportunity to find out from them what’s going on in the industry.
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your expertise with us!
Thank you for this opportunity, Kay.