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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don't Let Your Editor Give Your Book A Bad Break

This is a tip directly from my SharingwithWriters newsletter. I often share tips from my The Frugal Editor in it--or expand on tips in the book. Or sometimes even update them. To subscribe go to my HowToDoItFrugally Web site and find the subscription link in the upper right corner of most pages.  Do remember that when authors know a lot about editing themselves, the fewer chances a publisher's editor will have of giving their book a "bad break."

Editing Tip:  Avoid what editors call bad breaks. Here are some examples:

~They can be widows (where the last line of a paragraph appears all by its little lonely self on the next page).

~They can be orphans (where a paragraph, title, subhead, title or section begins on one page and gets left dangling there with only one line until the reader gets to the next page).

~A bad break can be a hyphenated word at the end of line that appears as the very last thing a reader sees on any given page.

~A bad break can be a word that breaks incorrectly at the end of a line. Check your dictionary when you must break a word. Dictionaries tell you here syllable breaks are and we don’t break words anywhere but between syllables. We also don’t usually break a long word after the very first syllable or before the last one.

~We also don’t break a name (use a hyphen) after an initials in a name. So, we should leave a name like “J. R. Turner” on one line with attempt to break it even if avoiding the break screws with the spacing a tad.

Don’t forget you’ll find many, many other tips on “Avoiding Humiliation and Ensuring Success” for your book in The Frugal Editor (


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 (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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