Help for Creative Writers
AS BOTH A CREATIVE WRITER and long-time editor on the staff of The Chicago Manual of Style, I’ve read thousands of queries and manuscripts submitted by writers of everything from picture books to scholarly monographs.
My conference and retreat sessions are geared toward helping writers give their work a final polish before they submit.
Agents and editors can help with big-picture issues of plot and character. My expertise is complementary to theirs, focusing on issues just as challenging to creative writers: how to use grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and formatting for appropriateness, effectiveness, and authenticity without diluting the power of creative rule-breaking.
Here are some sessions I offer. (All may be supplemented with individual critiques.)
♦ What Writers Need to Know about The Chicago Manual of Style
“Chicago style” is the style most preferred by publishers. But CMOS is nearly 1,200 pages long! What does that mean for the writer? Aren’t creative writers allowed to break all the rules? This introduction to CMOS by one of its editors covers the essentials — including what you can ignore and what you need to know before you break the rules.
♦ Acts of Submission
Each year readers submit thousands of grammar and style questions to the Q&A page at The Chicago Manual of Style Online, and for more than twenty years I read every single one. To me, the number of standoffs between writers and editors (“My editor insists . . .”) began to present a theme: that in editorial battles, the reader is the one who loses. My book The Subversive Copy Editor arose from my search for win-win strategies. This session presents the advice behind the book, which Publishers Weekly called “practical, relentlessly supportive and full of ed-head laughs.”
♦ Understanding Copyediting and Proofreading
Knowing in advance what happens in copyediting and proofreading helps writers understand their responsibilities, manage expectations, and work well with editors.
♦ 10 Very Last Things: Your Submission Checklist
You’re done writing and ready to submit. Ten last-minute double checks will put your manuscript into top form before you click Attach. Learn what’s important and what’s not in formatting and styling a manuscript or cover letter for submission. Learn basic Chicago styles that make you look like a pro, and feel confident that your agent or editor will focus on your content and not be distracted by flaws in presentation.
♦ [Your Topic Here]
Let me know what you need! We’ll work together to tailor a session for your event.