Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

In Geraldine Brooks’ ‘Year of Wonders’ (2001), Part 1 is called ‘Leaf-Fall, 1666’. Readers’ senses are immediately stimulated as autumnal sights, sounds and smells are richly evoked; there is an undercurrent of the foreshadowing of tragedy, decay and death. Chapter 1 is called ‘Apple-picking time’ and the reader can hear the ripened apples tumbling into bins; smell the hay, the […]

I often stand and commune with Pablo Picasso’s 1937 painting,‘Weeping Woman’. It conveys extreme saddness, much of what is experienced by humans, near and far, today. I run my eye over it, wondering whether there’s something that I may have missed since I last stood before it. I go early, alone, with an art buddy, or with a few of […]

It often happens that a writer asks me for an assessment of her or his manuscript (fiction or non-fiction) and I end up mentoring the writer throughout the rewrites until the manuscript is ready for me to edit, proofread and review submission material to be sent to publishers. The support and guidance of a suitable mentor and/or editor is immeasurable, especially […]

I read a lot of non-fiction for work: unpublished manuscripts, final drafts of theses, newsletters, educational resources, essays and business material. I also read non-fiction for my own pleasure and research. My response to each individual non-fiction writing that crosses my desk for appraisal is dependent on many variables; however, the initial challenge is to assess the clarity of the […]