Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps To The Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave by Don McNair
Don McNair’s extensive experience as an editor and author show up in his clear, readable book on how to avoid foggy writing. This is the most complete writing book I have ever read. Mc Nair takes his reader from the first sentence of his or her work in progress to submitting the polished work to a publisher or an agent.
Editor-Proof Your Writing starts from the premise that to be able to fix problems in your writing, an author first needs to know what the problems are. McNair has developed a systematic approach an author can follow to discover and correct the type of errors that doom an otherwise well-written submission to the rejection pile. His book is organized into progressive chapters with exercises to help readers understand the concepts. Readers also are encouraged to apply the knowledge learned to their own work in progress so the WIP improves steadily as the reader works through the chapters.
McNair covers important mistakes culled from his many years as an editor. His writing is clear and easy to follow. Although he focuses on errors, he is not critical. He encourages his readers, noting that writing skills can be improved with attention and practice.
His advice to weed out the word “had,” touched on one of my personal bad habits. Had I known this technique earlier in my career I would have had less editing to do.
I think his book would be especially useful for authors who have completed a work in progress and who wonder what the next step should be.