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Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Shann
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby Shann » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:54 pm

glorybee wrote:
lish1936 wrote:
Jan wrote:Is there an instance that I haven't thought of where you think using 'by' is more appropriate?


I'm not sure if the following example is "more appropriate," (is that comma in the right place?) or just wrong. :D

Lillian


Your comma was in the right place. In the US, commas go inside quotation marks.



I'm curious about the comma answer. I would have said that sentence didn't need a comma because it wasn't joining two independent clauses with a conjunction. If you take out the quotation marks and the word more and write it like this: I'm not sure if the following example is appropriate or wrong.
You wouldn't put a comma there so why would you put the comma after appropriate?

I agree that it goes inside the quotation marks, but if I had been editing that, I would have removed the comma. So what am I missing? Why does the comma go after appropriate?

I don't mean to be disagreeable; I just want to understand. Of course I realize that comma rules can vary from expert to expert. :mrgreen:
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby glorybee » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:06 pm

Lillian, you're correct. I was focused in on the comma relative to the quotation marks, and totally missed the big picture of the comma in the whole sentence.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby Granny's Pen » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:25 am

Hi, Jan.

I realize this is not your current lesson, but I just came across it. My question is about setting up to be an on-line copyeditor. How do you receive payment. Paypal seems like the obvious answer, but I'm wondering if there might be other acceptable options. Also, what kind of problems might arise with receiving payment.

Thanks for your help,

Debbie
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby glorybee » Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:50 am

Deborah, you're right that PayPal is the best way to go. That way you can easily use their monthly reports to figure out your income for tax purposes, and you can invoice clients.

However, not everyone has paypal. I accept checks from those who do not.

I've never had a problem with non-payment. That's probably because almost all of my clients were friends first. And I've been very casual about payment schedules; typically I've said that clients can set up whatever's best for them and pay me whenever. This works for me because editing is more of a hobby, and not my primary source of income. It wouldn't work for a serious editor for whom editing is their real job. You might want to ask the other editors who are now featured on FWs home page for more input.

Typing this on my phone with a sleeping baby on my lap--I blame her for any errors.

Good luck in your editing career!
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby Granny's Pen » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:21 am

Thanks for getting back to me, Jan. My PC is in the shop right now, and my tiny little Acer has very little capacity, so I'm kind of on hold for now. It's only a couple of days, though.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby lish1936 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:08 am

Shann wrote:I'm curious about the comma answer. I would have said that sentence didn't need a comma because it wasn't joining two independent clauses with a conjunction. If you take out the quotation marks and the word more and write it like this: I'm not sure if the following example is appropriate or wrong.
You wouldn't put a comma there so why would you put the comma after appropriate?


Jan, I'm just now seeing this. Am I correct that Shann asked the question, but you responded to me? And even though my comma was appropriately placed inside the quote as you said, are you agreeing with Shann that a comma should NOT have been used in the first place? Although, I disagree with Shann about the "more" appropriate."

I hope my question is clear. :roll:

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby glorybee » Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:21 am

Lillian, yes--I responded to Shann, mistakenly taking her for you.

In my opinion, the sentence should have been written like this:

I'm not sure if the following example is "more appropriate" or just wrong.

I was confused, probably, by your question-within-a-sentence. These threads can get long and complicated, with people quoting other people's posts.

A comma would have been used before "or" if "or" was joining two independent clauses. But since "just wrong" is not an independent clause, no comma is necessary. That's the mistake I made originally--focusing on the placement of the comma inside the quotation marks, and not checking to see whether the comma was necessary in the first place.
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby Shann » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:22 pm

Lillian, I only took out the words more and the quotation marks to make it easier for my brain to process. Sometimes if I take away the extras it's easier for me to see. I didn't mean to say the more was wrong, just that by taking it out it's easier to see there are two choices: appropriate or wrong, not a list of choices. Does that make sense? :sorry
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby lish1936 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:18 pm

Shann wrote:I didn't mean to say the more was wrong, just that by taking it out it's easier to see there are two choices: appropriate or wrong, not a list of choices. Does that make sense?


Shann,
It sorta makes sense, in a "bare bones" simple sentence way. I guess I just embellished it with a few adjectives. No need to be sorry - it's all good.

I really appreciate your editorial insights. :hugs2

Blessings,

Lillian
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby Caleb Cheong » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:17 am

Hi Jan!

I'm a newbie and have enjoyed reading your stuffs very much. I find your forum enlightening and stimulating. I hope you don't mind if I go back to the use of dashes.

Is it appropriate to use dashes in dialogue in these manners?

1 " Look!" cried Alf. " There's a rainbow -over there."

2 " But I can- "
"Stop defending yourself!" Claire yelled.

3 "Well, of all people-"
snapped Kate, and looking away, she said no more.

Lots of thanks


Caleb Cheong

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby glorybee » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:07 am

Caleb Cheong wrote:Hi Jan!

I'm a newbie and have enjoyed reading your stuffs very much. I find your forum enlightening and stimulating. I hope you don't mind if I go back to the use of dashes.

Is it appropriate to use dashes in dialogue in these manners?

1 " Look!" cried Alf. " There's a rainbow -over there."

2 " But I can- "
"Stop defending yourself!" Claire yelled.

3 "Well, of all people-"
snapped Kate, and looking away, she said no more.

Lots of thanks


Caleb Cheong

:thankssign


Caleb, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad to answer questions here any time.

First, a technical note. What you've got in your question aren't really dashes at all--they're hyphens. When you're on a computer, a dash is made by hitting the hyphen key twice, with no space between them. Printers call them "em dashes," because they're the same size as a typed letter M. A hyphen is an "en dash," because it is the same size as a typed letter N.

In the examples you gave, a dash would be appropriate, if properly typed. In the first example, it represents a sudden turn in the direction of the sentence. In the second two examples, it represents the speaker's words being cut off before the speaker finishes her sentence.

In your second example, an ellipsis (three dots) would also be appropriate.
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby yarra » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:54 am

Hi Jan, I'm harking back to the various replies you made to Lillian and Shann re where to place a comma when there are quotation marks. Sorry to bring up what you've already sorted out by saying a comma wasn't needed in the sentence.

My query is: In a sentence where the quotation marks are not used for conversation but as they were in that sentence,

(I'm not sure if the following example is "more appropriate" or just wrong.

OR
I'm not sure if the following example is "more appropriate, " or just wrong.)

wouldn't the comma go outside the quotation marks, as it's not conversation? I don't think this is different here in Australia to the US.

I'd write that sentence (if it was to have a comma) this way:

I'm not sure if the following example is "more appropriate", or just wrong.

However, if the sentence was:

"I wonder which is more appropriate," she pondered. the comma would go inside the quotation marks, wouldn't it?

Anyway, I'm sure you've had enough of this one, so apologies for dragging it on. I'm just a bit of a pedant!
Blessings,
Ellen

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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby glorybee » Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:30 am

Ellen, this is my go-to site for punctuation and quotation marks.

It's never easy, and I have to look it up more than I don't, but I'm glad it's all laid out for me there.

Thanks for asking!
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby Shann » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:49 am

glorybee wrote:
Caleb Cheong wrote:Hi Jan!

Is it appropriate to use dashes in dialogue in these manners?
Caleb Cheong
:thankssign


First, a technical note. What you've got in your question aren't really dashes at all--they're hyphens. When you're on a computer, a dash is made by hitting the hyphen key twice, with no space between them. Printers call them "em dashes," because they're the same size as a typed letter M. A hyphen is an "en dash," because it is the same size as a typed letter N.

In your second example, an ellipsis (three dots) would also be appropriate.


This is a side note to the em dash that I just recently learned. Some word processors automatically take the double hyphen (--) and turn it into one smooth long one, but some don't. At least in Word, if you hit the ctrl button and the minus sign on the number pad, it turns it into a perfect-sized em dash.

Also, something I notice often with em dashes is that people put spaces on either side, but there should be no space around them.

This question goes along with the dashes and ellipses. I'm curious if you feel they should be used sparingly. I know for me personally, much like the exclamation point, I find it distracting if a story say the size of a challenge has more than one or two of them. I'm not sure why it distracts me, but I know it does. I often tell people let your words do your exclaiming, trailing, or interrupting. I'm not saying that there aren't times when the punctuation makes a huge difference, but just if overused, it can be distracting. What do you think?
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Re: Be a Better Writer--ASK AN EDITOR/WRITER/Etc.

Postby glorybee » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:29 pm

Shann, the spaces before and after em dashes are a style choice--some publishers prefer them; some do not. I don't really have a preference one way or the other, although I used to prefer the spaceless ones.

As for whether there can be too many dashes: I agree that some pieces end up looking too "dashy." However, since the dash is one of my personal go-to punctuation marks, I suspect that my tolerance for them is higher than yours. It's not really a rule, but a preference.

Can you give me an example of how one's words could do the trailing, without use of dashes or ellipses?
Jan Ackerson

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