494 reputation
38
bio website
location Surrey, United Kingdom
age
visits member for 2 years
seen Jan 23 '13 at 14:37

I have a BA Hons degree in typographic design and Masters degree in business administration. I worked in the publishing industry for 30 years as a setter, copy editor and proof reader, before moving into management. Now semi-retired.

My main interest areas are cookery, cricket, and reading/writing.


Jan
9
comment Very simple markup language for writing fiction
@Jay You don't need a program capable of markup to put in paragraph breaks, italics, or chapter heads, that should all be available in even the most basic word processing program - that's precisely my point.
Jan
9
comment Very simple markup language for writing fiction
@bmearns I understand fully what you're trying to do. Pick up any printed fictional novel you have lying around. How much emphasis do you see in the text beyond that of italicisation and punctuation? None! The writing does it all. However, if that's the way you want to work, then no advice from me will make any difference, but I think you're making a mistake working in that way.
Jan
9
comment What genre appeals to the widest audience?
Good story, good characters, good story, good characters, the genre doesn't matter.
Jan
9
comment How many different words are in the average novel?
J.R. Yes! But as I said, there's so many variables involved this is just a very rough estimate.
Jan
2
comment How many commas is too many?
@JoelShea If the OP is using them correctly, yet still feels there's too many then he needs to look at another aspect of his writing. The OP has not made it clear why he has too many commas, without that information any answer can only be speculative as to why he has too many of them!
Dec
27
comment Switching from past to present tense?
Why be so obvious about them? Wouldn't it be far better to let the reader figure out that they're flashbacks by the narrative?
Dec
24
comment Too much exposition in my full-length play: how to fix it?
Rewrite it without so much description would seem the most obvious way to go!
Dec
18
comment Are music lyrics copyrighted?
Fair use is country-centric. You are assuming (as most people appear to) that the OP is referring to copyright in the USA. That may not be the case and it would not cover copyright issues in other countries. Fair use is mostly prevalent in the USA, it is not necessarily prevalent elsewhere and to give advice based on fair use may be misleading, hence my comment to ignore for profit.
Dec
15
comment Text referencing protected, trademarked™ and copyrighted© names, what is the correct procedure?
There's a simplified guide to this here - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style/Trademarks
Dec
15
comment Should you use two spaces after a period, or just a single one?
Adding double spaces after a full point is redundancy left over from manual typewriter days. When preparing text for publishing all those double spaces have to be removed. In my early days in the publishing industry that person was often me! They're not needed, all you're doing is creating work for someone else, work someone has to pay for. Don't use them.
Dec
14
comment How do collaborating authors choose an agent?
@Standback You're missing the point of my answer completely. I stated quite clearly you select an agent based on the nature and subject matter of the book. Just because an author already has an agent does not mean that agent will be the best one to represent a book on a different subject matter collaborated with a second author. The process of selecting an agent is exactly the same regardless of whether one of both authors already have an agent. This is the way it works - regardless of whether you like the answer or not!
Dec
12
comment How much power does the author have over an original work?
As Neil mentioned - what was in the contract you signed with the Publisher? Did you read it? Did you discuss it with your legal adviser? It's all very well getting a little 'uppity' with regards to the control being exerted over your creative work by the publisher, are you forgetting the commercial risks the publisher is taking with regards to production cost, marketing and advertising costs of your book? Yes a balance needs to be achieved - that's what the contract is for. If you don't like it, don't sign it.
Dec
12
comment Headline method - How do I write The Economist-style headlines?
Very entertaining, informative and well written answer.
Dec
12
comment Differences in personal statements between American and UK universities?
Brit informal to talk evasively to; flatter in order to mislead - thefreedictionary.com/flannel, I was guilty of my own advice! Whoops!
Dec
11
comment Converting Word pages to book pages, for novels?
Assuming of course that the finished novel will also be printed in 12pt Times, which is unlikely. It's more likely to be in a smaller size (depending on the typeface/font chosen) such as 9pt. This of course depends on the format it would be printed in - large format hardback is generally a larger font size than the paperback equivalent. Your method therefore is unreliable.
Dec
11
comment How can I catch more errors when I proofread?
How does this technique help you to catch wrong word spellings such as their/there, road/rode, whet/wet and so on?
Dec
11
comment How can I catch more errors when I proofread?
Steve did you deliberately misspell longhand, to see if anyone would spot it? ;-)