Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

I read a lot of non-fiction for work: unpublished manuscripts, final drafts of theses, newsletters, educational resources, essays and business material.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 […]

These days, if we land on the Home page of a business website, we not only want an instant summary of the service or the product/s, we also want it presented in a personalised, eye-catching, well-written nutshell. However, what we’re often faced with is poor grammar and jargon-riddled writing that shows an obvious lack of thought and editing. The ability […]

A few years ago I wrote a thesis with its focus the mid-nineteenth-century painting by British artist Valentine Prinsep, ‘The flight of Jane Shore’. I researched Jane Shore’s life to the point of obsession and got to know this medieval royal mistress so well that I thought I could speak for her—write her story in the genre of historical fiction. […]

‘Good’ editors have a demonstrable knowledge of language, written expression, content development and writing styles. They share a common goal: to help authors improve the quality and structure of their writing in order to increase its potential in targeting readers, and impressing publishers. Sounds straightforward, but there are many questions I need to ask the author/client before editing begins. Every editing […]

When I read the first page of a novel, or a manuscript that crosses my desk for appraisal, I want my senses to be immediately engaged and on alert. There may be intrigue, which grabs my attention, but if I don’t get a visual hit that stimulates my senses, and in particular, a sense of place, then I’m often disappointed. […]

It takes courage for writers to ‘go out on a limb’ in order to develop, and commit to, an individual writing style that satisfies readers. On 9 March 1895, H. G. Wells, English writer and commentator, wrote a review in the ‘Saturday Review’ of Grant Allen’s controversial novel, ‘The Woman Who Did’: “The whole book … is strenuous without strength, […]

He said, she said . . . the all-knowing, all-seeing narrator drones on . . . A few years ago, in a creative writing class focussing on autobiography, I was persuaded to use dialogue in a short memoir. It took a while to get my head around including unrecorded conversations that occurred decades ago. However, I was assured that memoirists and […]

Isabel Archer is a mesmerising character . . . her creator, Henry James, made her so by allowing the reader access to Isabel’s conscious thoughts. A paragraph in ‘The Portrait of a Lady’ (1881) is frequently longer than a page, but how can there be white space on a page if a setting needs visual detail, or if Isabel hasn’t […]

Choosing and arranging words according to their sound can intensify meaning and create rhythm in a sentence; the degree of musicality you employ will depend on the intended mood and tone of your writing.  Geraldine Brooks’ opening paragraph in ‘Year of Wonders’ (2001) awakens the senses and, at the same time, foreshadows a tragic story that begins in the mellow […]

The aim of the first sentence of any written work is to motivate the reader to read on; it can be decisive and declare the theme or argument of the main body of writing, or it can be a teaser. So whether you’re writing a novel, an essay, or just an email, your aim is to arrest the reader’s attention […]