Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]