Write well. Write often. Edit wisely.
At some point tomorrow, the Editor’s Blog will officially hit the million-page-views mark.
While I know that the blog actually passed that point sometime in the past few months—I didn’t track stats the first seven or so months of the blog and subscribers read an email version of articles rather than visit the site—I’m still excited to see that milestone in my stats. It’s gratifying to know that you’re contributing something useful, even practical, to others in your field.
Thanks to all who read the articles, who pass them on to others, and who join the conversations in the comments section. I appreciate each of you. I hope every article is useful, easy to understand, thorough, and an encouragement for your writing career. I also hope each gives you some new tidbit about craft or a new approach to try.
Two articles continue to outpace all others—Punctuation in Dialogue and Formatting a Manuscript for Submission together account for more than 20% of all visits to the Editor’s Blog. I’m glad those two articles have proved useful, but I hope you’ll find other articles useful as well. At the bottom of every article are links to related articles, but a great way to see what’s available is to wander through the Archives. There you’ll find the full list of articles on craft, punctuation, grammar, and encouragement for yourself or the writer in your life. The content of the articles is pretty clear from the titles, but you can also search for articles by category or tag or phrase.
It’s a true joy to write these articles on fiction writing and editing—I hope to continue writing them for many years. Don’t be shy about suggesting a topic. I may not be able to get to it right away, but I’ll certainly try to get an article together on any subject important to writers and/or editors. While some articles focus on grammar or punctuation, this is not merely a grammar blog. Other articles focus on the elements of fiction and still others explore the writer’s life.
The purpose of the blog is to look at the wide range of issues that writers and editors face and explore solutions for problem areas while also providing established rules and suggestions that have proven successful for other writers.
I’m not here to tell you what to do; my goal is to give you options for what you can do given the parameters of your story, including genre, era, theme, style, and character backgrounds.
My standard advice is use what works for the story and be consistent throughout that story. Yet there are (of course) a few absolutes—
Use standard manuscript format for submissions
Give agents and editors only what they request
Never submit a first draft to agents and editors
Recognize that grammar and punctuation really are as important as plot, character, dialogue, and setting
Learn the craft
Entertain the reader
Most of the information presented here is not time sensitive, so older blog posts are as relevant as new ones.
I encourage you to explore the blog. Ask questions—though with my own editing duties, it may take a while before I can answer them. Don’t be surprised if other writers and editors answer too. Group discussion is a great method for exploring many sides of an issue.
And again, my thanks to you. You make writing blog articles worthwhile. I hope to read some of your work in the future, either stories you’ve written or those you’ve edited.