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Monday, November 16, 2009

Perfecting Editing Skills, One Book at a Time

This list expands the one the in the appendixes of my
The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success and is from a coming booklet I hope you'll add to your editing library.

Also note the one iffy recommendation among them. So much more for a good argument. (-:

Mortal Syntax: 101 Language Choices That Will Get You Clobbered by the Grammar Snobs--Even If You're Right by June Casagrande, Penguin.

Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language." Find it on the Web at:

The Elements of Style: 50th Anniversary Edition, William Strunk and E.B. White, Longman. Kind of a half-hearted recommendation, here, and I suspect this will surprise you. Really this book is best, for academics or those trying to manage English as a second language. English is no longer as rule oriented or as static as people think it is and this book—though it uses "style" in the title—does not allow for publishing style choices or for creative choices that might be made by writers of fiction. If you should decide to refer to it, do not use your old copy. The grammar and style information in old editions are particularly dated.

The Birds and Bees of Words: A Guide to the Most Common Errors in Usage, Spelling, and Grammar by Mary Embree, Allworth Press.

The Author's Toolkit: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Book by Mary Embree, Seaview Publishing, a Writer's Digest Book Club selection.

Usage and Abusage by Eric Partridge and Janet Whitcut, W. W. Norton & Co.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at, where writers will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog.

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