For pointing out gaping plot holes, sagging middles and uneven character development, nothing beats the eagle eyes of a good editor. I wouldn’t publish without one.
But for spell checking, grammar checking and copy editing, I rely on three electronic tools to help me polish my manuscript. My top fave is Word proofing options which I discussed in my last post.
My second favourite is a collection of many things; all the fabulous websites out there created to guide writers.
It’s like having a savvy unbiased critique partner at your command. It’s more sophisticated than Word proofing options; especially because it compares nearby text for repetitions. I highly recommend Autocrit.com.
As for a style guide, it depends on whether you want to go Canadian (me!) or American. If you’re neither, search for a style guide that fits your requirements.
Here’s a link to the Canadian Style Guide where you can find a complete list and further links.
And here’s the link to the Chicago Manual of Style
My go-to grammar site is Grammarbook.com.
My next-up grammar site actually discusses punctuation and grammar. Edittorrent written by Alicia Rasley, an English professor who is also a fiction writer. This is a great resource for comparing fiction and non-fiction. Alicia also wrote The Power of Point of View, a must-read along with Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict.
I do have a couple of personal exception to the rules.
I use the Word version of the ellipsis (…) which treats the three dots as a single character rather than the standard version with spaces before and in between the dots ( . . .). For the same awkward breaking issue, I put spaces after ellipses (… ) and em-dashes(— ). This keeps the punctuation connected to the prior word, but allows your computer, your pdf maker, and your ebook maker to break lines into nicely laid-out units.
The spaced-out ellipsis will break at the end of a sentence leaving two dots on one line and the third dot all by itself on the next line. That looks very odd.
You could use non-breaking spaces, but that’s just a huge PITA.
Typing and formatting is just so much easier my way.
Whichever style guide you use (and you can create your own house guide because you’re the publisher), the most important thing is to be consistent. And remember that most readers don’t care. For them it’s all about the story.
© 2017, Joan Leacott Image courtesy of ningmilo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
One thought on “My #2 Favourite DIY Editing Tool: Websites”
Sometimes a publisher will insist on spaces between the dots, which results in exactly the wrapping issue you mention. So I snuck hard spaces between them as you also mentioned. I used “search and replace” so it was instantaneous and I don’t think it was ever noticed. 😉
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