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All the Words’ A Stage, All the Editors’ Merely Stage Props: Volume 1


The Nuances of Language: Definitive Edition



A good editor brings an objective eye to a piece of writing that the writer has long since lost. This, mind you, is a critical job. A writer is supposed to only think about what to write, not about how well he is writing with regards to the intricacies of English rules of grammar, punctuation, and syntax. 


This series of articles has tackled what most of the general populace fails to knock outside the park when it comes to writing. This definitive edition summarizes all that we’ve tackled so far. 


1.1 Brevity 

If the translator only uses basic vocabulary and simple language, replace them with more accurate and wider usage of vocabulary to bring out not just the meanings but the flow of raws as well. 


Use pronouns, synonyms, or similar expressions to avoid repetition of vocabularies or phrases. 


1.2 Fluidity 

Vary the sentence structures to make the text seem less rigid. 


Sentences should follow the known-new contract. 


Avoid run-on sentences and use appropriate transitions to connect sentences. 


Check whether two independent clauses should be or could be connected to each other. Check for redundancy in descriptions. Read the paragraphs again to see whether they make sense. 


1.3 Grammar 

While translators are not entitled to have perfect grammar, the writing they provide should still be at a level where editors would be more focused on improving the writing rather than fixing the mistakes. As for the editors, it is to be expected that their grammar should reach a level where there are little to no mistakes in the final product of the writing. As a side note, perhaps the usage of some extensions like Grammarly in web browsers could help in improving or looking through the grammar mistakes. However, over-reliance is always disastrous. 


1.4 Tenses

All narration should be in past tense or in -ing form. Ex. Change “can” to “could,” “will” to “would,” “farms” to farming or farm, “is” to “was,” “are” to “were,” etc. Exceptions are universal facts that are usually in the present tense; in this case, the context should be the main focus on whether the present tense form of the verb or “is/are” should be used. 


The tenses of dialogues depend on the context. Past, present, or future tenses could be used. 


1.5 Forms 

The forms of pronouns and possessive pronouns should be consistent with the nouns they refer to. 


1.6 Consistency 

All the terms that have been used in writing should be consistent. Whether it’s an important term (names, places, techniques, etc.) or a description (red-haired youth vs. youth with red hair), they should be consistently used throughout the novel. Producing a glossary for the terms is highly recommended, especially in the long run. 


1.7 Continuous Dialogue

When a few consecutive paragraphs are what one person said or thought, it goes like this: 


After carefully distinguishing for a moment, Meng Qi scowled. “It indeed is the Master who is inside, and most of the threads of karma have been broken and no longer connect to the world. [No quotation mark] 


“That is to say, the Master is really dead! [No quotation mark] 


“He died a natural death even though he exchanged for the longevity elixir...” Meng Qi fixed his eyes on the remaining threads of karma. 



Thoughts 

Thoughts or monologues are those instances where dialogue is only spoken in the mind of a character. It is usually preceded or followed by a “he/she thought.” In this case, please italicize it with double quotations. In the meantime, the site will not be able to show italicized words. However, as soon as the site improves in a few months or so, it will eventually show up. Just use italicized words in the google docs to save these thoughts for the meantime. 


No matter if the thought or monologue is in a line by itself or it is a part of a larger paragraph, we use quotation marks. 


E.g.: 

The thought is a line by itself: 


“Why do I feel this way?” 


The thought is a part of a larger paragraph: 


“He’s Roland Wimbledon.” Agatha thought, silently memorizing this name. 

Of course, you may also paraphrase it from the third person point of view. In this case, it doesn’t need to be italicized with a double quotation. 


E.g., Elsa didn’t know why she felt that way.


She made a mental note to memorize his name, Roland Wimbledon.


Ellipsis 

Check whether the punctuation used is right or whether it is appropriate to use them. Another is, please do fix “...…” to just “...” (ellipsis). More information is in the references below. 


Note: There is a space after the ellipsis, not before it. 


E.g., Have you… witnessed this before?


Quotation marks 

Use double quotation marks first and then a single quotation. 

E.g., “HAL said, ‘Good morning, Dave,’ “recalled Frank. 


Writing, like every other endeavor, is merely an augmentation of the brain’s ability to think and confound ideas. Believe in your creativity, in your imagination. Once you do, you will do great things.

 



Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even If I didn’t have it in the beginning.
-Mahatma Gandhi


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