Editing Rant: Clean Up #1 – Commas

Medieval Manuscript - Rabbit hunting. Rabbit, hunting.

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What to Clean Up before Sending to Editor #1

NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) is completed. You got 50,000 of the most amazing words ever created by humans all in one place. Time to send it off to a publisher right? Wrong!!!!

First thing is personal editing. Ready for editing rant #1?

Learn you commas … PLEASE. “Eat Shoots and Leaves” is the funniest, best-selling book on punctuation you will ever find and it is available at libraries everywhere. Read it – love it – buy your own when you can and mark the heck out of it. The kindle and the paperback version cost about the same so may as well go old-school on this one, because, believe me, you will mark it up.

Need a reason to learn your commas other than becoming rabbit food? Well, in 80K word book I edited, there was a whopping 6K of commas … over half were unnecessary. That means instead of line editing, I was proofreading. As a writer, if you get to the editing stage in a publishing house, you much rather have the editors editing, not proofreading. Don’t kill yourself about it until you are through content editing because you will be changing some of what you wrote, but don’t be lazy either.

Don’t make me proof your punctuation. You won’t like me if I am only proofreading for your punctuation.

Other posts in the Clean Up series
#1 – Commas
#2 – Double Spaces
#3 – Chapter Headings