Denise M Taylor

Writing Consultant I Editor I Proofreader I Teacher

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

There is no question that writers who approach me for an assessment of their unpublished manuscripts are passionate about what they have written, whether it is a work of fiction or non-fiction.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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]