The Editing Month festivities at Lulu last month challenged me to consider how one might break habitual bad writing habits and make significant changes to please the reader. I literally dusted off my grandmother’s copy of Strunk’s The Elements of Style in hopes of finding a few elements that would change any manuscript.
From William Strunk, Jr.’s The Elements of Style III. Elementary Principles of Composition:
- Use the active voice: The active voice is more direct and vigorous than the passive. I shall always remember my first visit to Boston is much better than My first visit to Boston will always be remembered by me.
- Put statements in positive form: Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language. Use the word “not” as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion. For example, rather than He was not very often on time one could use He usually came late.
- Omit needless words: Read your manuscript and see how many times you see the fact that and try to replace it with since, because, though or although. Another example is “there is no doubt but that” could simply be “no doubt.”
Too often I meet authors whose excitement of a speedy book launch diminishes the importance of a thorough pre-publishing scrub. One passionate author related the book launch to taking a child to school on the first day of kindergarten. Just as parents send kids equipped with backpacks and lunch boxes, your book should be as equipped with a proper edit. Correctness is contagious.
A professional editor can review your manuscript to determine which elements could make your book an easier and more enjoyable read. Our publishing packages provide the Editorial Quality Review as well as Formatting and Cover design. Buying services in June automatically enters you to win one of two new HP Mini laptops. Plus, use the coupon SVCWIN and we’ll take 15% off any package (maximum discount $1,425). Offer expires 6/30/2011.
*No purchase necessary. Enter coupon code SVCWIN at checkout and receive 15% off any service package or simply publish a work through Lulu.com. The maximum savings for this offer is $100. Sorry, but this offer cannot be applied to previous orders. You can only use this code once per account, and unfortunately you can’t use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on July 8, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don’t miss out! While very unlikely, we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so. Shipping destinations must be within the United States.