Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader

Maybe you are reading this article because you’re almost ready to have the final draft of your thesis or academic book/research paper edited, copyedited or proofread. You have put in the hard yards: read, researched, written, reviewed, revised, rewritten and carefully edited, checking that your arguments and research really get you, logically and clearly, from the aims to the conclusions. […]

Although ‘principle’ and ‘principal’ sound the same, as do ‘past’ and ‘passed’, they are often used incorrectly in a sentence. These two pairs of words are called homophones — two or more words that sound the same (identical pronunciation), but have different meanings and sometimes different spellings. The term homophone comes from Greek ‘homo-’ (same) and ‘-phone’ (sound), so the […]

There’s no doubt that editing improves the quality of your writing. Self-editing your work, probably many times, comes first. Then comes the decision whether or not to engage an experienced editor. Editors have a demonstrable knowledge of language, written expression, content development and writing styles. They share a common goal: to help authors of fiction and non-fiction, academics, business managers, […]

There is no question that writers who approach me for an assessment of their unpublished manuscripts are passionate about what they have written, whether it is a work of fiction or non-fiction. It takes courage to plunge into icy foreign waters in search of a professional to provide them with a critique of their writing. It takes even greater courage […]

A new year heralds the opportunity to try something different, or to reconnect with a writing project that you may have fallen out of love with at the end of the previous year. You may have run out of puff due to the demands and complexities of life. But a new year is a chance to reboot, to sharpen your […]

I admire successful authors who write organically. These writers depend on waking up most mornings with a new idea to progress their writing project. However, in my experience as a writing mentor and editor, many ‘organic’ writers end up frustrated if ideas dry up overnight or if the huge amount of research/content threatens to overwhelm and destabilise their book project. […]

Whether you’re writing a crime narrative, Young Adult novel or an academic textbook, the ultimate aim is to create sentences that flow effortlessly so your reader is constantly engaged with the content/narrative. This memento mori still life painting by the seventeenth-century Dutch artist Pieter Claesz is a potent reminder that life is short, but our finest work/s will endure. So, […]

Fictional characters don’t have to be human—they can be forces of nature, such as a hurricane that bears down on a town, or an insidious pandemic. Or a character can be the collective personality of a surging, angry mob, moving and acting as one, protesting or murdering in the streets. Not only acting as a force that antagonises and threatens […]

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 […]