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Your Story Matters

Queer Writers: Our Words Matter

My gut told me something was off.

As I reviewed the copy edit of my memoir manuscript—my final chance to make any substantive changes to THE ONLY WAY THROUGH IS OUT—something bothered me about one sentence in Chapter 1, but I didn't know why.

I didn’t even know whether she was literate.

Straightforward, well-intentioned, and no one—not my book coach, my beta readers, my peer reviewers, or my editors—had flagged this particular sentence. If they didn't have a problem with it, maybe I shouldn't either.

I moved on to Chapter 2.

The next day, a post entitled: Words to Avoid—2023 Edition showed up on my social media feed.

And there it was, Word #4: illiterate.

Granted, my sentence contained the word "literate," not "illiterate," but it was close enough to get my attention and read on.

As a writer, I know that words matter—and I also know that I will sometimes get it wrong because language is constantly evolving.

I've learned to avoid...

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Does Your Memoir Need to Be Edited?

The short answer is YES.

The longer answer is that there are many different kinds of editing that are important at different stages in your writing journey.

Developmental Editing

Developmental editing looks at the big picture issues. Is your memoir starting and ending in the right place? Is there a narrative arc? Is the emotion on the page or does the writing feel flat?

When do I hire a developmental editor?

Writers hire a developmental editor after they have a complete draft of their manuscript (and ideally, their manuscript is in as good a shape as they can get it on their own). The developmental editor delivers an editorial letter outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript; sometimes these developmental edits (also sometimes called manuscript evaluations or assessments) include inline comments as well. The writer then returns to the manuscript to execute the suggested changes.

What's the difference between a book coach and a...
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