Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader

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 […]

When I am approached by a writer about her or his writing project, I am always curious. I try to gain an understanding of what motivates the author to write about a certain subject or character. Even though there may be a deep desire to write a specific story that focuses on a theme or satisfies a genre that interests […]

If you’re ready to have your writing project (fiction or non-fiction, thesis or academic paper) proofread (or lightly edited), then why not email me via my contact page with a brief overview of your specific requirements, and/or concerns. I understand that it takes courage to hand over one’s writing to be scrutinised by a stranger. Based in Melbourne as a […]

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 […]

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 […]

Silence is a tool that writers of fiction can use to great effect. By silencing a character in a poignant moment, emotion is heightened; interrupting action with silence can magnify drama; allowing a character to inhabit a space devoid of action allows time-out and an opportunity for reflection. For examples of silences in literary writing, seek out authors such as […]

Linking words, or a group of words within sentences, can be equated to the linking of hands to convey connectivity and cohesion. But the linking of certain words or phrases in a sentence using a ‘dash’ requires careful consideration. On many occasions I have had to explain the misuse of hyphens to act as parentheses—to enclose a word, phrase, or […]

‘Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.’ Virginia Woolf’s famous essay ‘A room of one’s own’ (published 90 years ago, in 1929) is a rallying cry for women’s intellectual and social freedom – a feminist tract that calls attention to the missing voices of […]