The Oxford Comma and Other Punctuation Discontents

  If you don’t believe language is malleable, go back to original publications of the U.S.’s Civil War era and notice the differences in diction from then to now, the spellings, capitalization practices, and of course, punctuation. Slip back in time to the era of the French Revolution, find a really old copy of Victor…

How Much Editing Is Enough?

You’ve had a request for your complete manuscript from an agent or editor. Suddenly your mouth goes dry. Your knees are shaky. Is your manuscript REALLY ready for prime time? OR Let’s say you’re a DIY person, and you publish yourself through Amazon or Smashwords, or some other self publishing organ. Will your readers toss your book…

The Cost of Proofing

I’ve been doing some contract work lately proofing other people’s writing, both fiction and nonfiction, with a children’s book in the offing. Being of a sunny disposition and sure that those sending their work to me have put it in the best shape possible, I bid what turns out to be paltry sums . But…

José Saramago, R.I.P. – Paper Cuts Blog – NYTimes.com

I've just noticed this sad note. "Blindness" was my introduction to this writer's fascinating style. He tended to use little punctuation – even periods, which can be a burden to the punctuation inclined. But that fact hooked my pal Dave Frauenfelder, an expert at Latin and Greek, because, as I recall, the old Greek was…