Evelyn B. Christensen



Book Review

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's The Frugal Editor is for you if you are a person who wants to have your writing published. When you send your manuscript off to an agent or editor it needs to be as error-free as possible. Carolyn does a great job of breaking down the complex task of editing into organized steps. She outlines the overall steps, but she also gives plenty of details to help you with the nitty-gritty.

I'll give you some examples of things that were diamonds for me. Since everybody comes to a book with a different knowledge base, these may be chunks of coal for you, but I can almost guarantee you'll find diamonds of your own in this book.

  • I had not known that some prepositions get capitalized in book titles.
  • I appreciated learning how to enter a word like "for" in Word's Find Function so that I get only the "for" words and not "effort" and "forward."
  • It's been a while since I was on the chair side of classroom desks. I was glad for Carolyn's updates on some grammar and punctuation rules which have changed in the intervening years. For example, "B's" is now written "Bs."
  • I had never used Word's Track Changes option before reading The Frugal Editor. What a wonderfully useful tool, especially as my writer friends and I critique each other's work.

  • Carolyn discusses rules (like use only one space after the period at the end of a sentence) and concepts (like what gerunds and participles are) which we may know or have known, but it's helpful to be reminded and it's helpful to have all the information in one place.

    The Frugal Editor also includes comments from twenty different literary agents telling what mistakes writers should avoid when submitting. It has appendices with additional information and lists plenty of references, both book and online, if you need further information.

    I recommend Carolyn Howard-Johnson's The Frugal Editor highly. It's a great resource.

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