Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

A few years ago, an author of nonfiction whom I was mentoring as she wrote her new book, shared with me an interview she’d been listening to. The interviewee was Barbara Kingsolver, acclaimed author of historical fiction. Kingsolver was talking about the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and suggested that writing a novel is like creating a garden in the […]

I admire successful writers who write organically, without a plan or even a basic structure. Unfortunately, in my experience as a writing mentor and editor, many ‘organic’ writers end up frustrated because ideas of how to move the plot forward to a successful finale can dry up overnight or they can lose control (and an understanding) of the characters; or […]

Maybe you are reading this article because you are almost ready to have the final draft of your thesis or research paper proofread, which is really a light edit. A thesis represents many months, years for a PhD, of research. You have put in the hard yards: read, researched, reviewed, revised, and carefully edited your thesis, checking that your arguments […]

Many writers are often unsure whether to hyphenate or not to hyphenate a descriptive word combination in a sentence. We all know there are often exceptions to a ‘rule’ in grammar-talk, and many word combos that have required a hyphen to separate them in the past, such as ‘on-line’, ‘stand-alone’ and ‘proof-reader’, are now morphing into one word. When editing […]

Due to the insidious COVID-19 pandemic, people around the globe are bunkering down to try and stop the coronavirus from spreading further. During May, I am discounting my writing consultancy fees. I want to encourage you to write, or keep writing. If you’re well on the way with your writing project, but it’s been sitting on the back-burner of your […]

The long-winded ‘journey’ sentence, often punctuated with too many stops and starts can be excruciating. It can lose readers in its wordiness. Some readers may end up wishing they could sentence the author to the depths of Dante’s Inferno. But I’m rather partial to the occasional well-constructed long sentence—it can be intoxicating. I am glad others agree. In a recent […]

Letters written by British suffragettes imprisoned in London’s Holloway Prison in the early twentieth century, and the Holloway brooch awarded to these women for their bravery on their release, send shivers down my spine. The Holloway brooch succinctly symbolises the militant struggle of the suffragettes as they fought tirelessly for the right of women to vote in political elections. Designed […]

There is no question that writers who approach me for an objective assessment of their unpublished manuscripts are passionate about what they have written, whether it is a work of fiction or non-fiction. However, even though some writers have more ‘talent’ than others, many lose the ability to be objective; it takes courage to plunge into the icy, foreign waters […]

Every editing enquiry I receive requires a bit of digging. I am acutely aware of ensuring that writers who entrust me with the job of editing their completed draft before publication or submission obtain maximum value for money. Digging entails finding out exactly what the writer is expecting from an edit. It’s amazing how different the responses are! And how […]

These days, according to what I read, there is no doubt that the semicolon is considered old-fashioned and not commonly used in sentence construction. Editors and proofreaders have been known to be severely castigated by authors for adding a semicolon when copy-editing their manuscripts. I don’t use semicolons very often, but there are times when a semicolon is the perfect […]