Karen Reddick runs the Red Pen Editor and is the author of Grammar Done Right. We asked her about her book and her views on writing and editing.
Hi Karen, and welcome to Daily Writing Tips. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, Sharon. Thank you for inviting me.
I am a freelance book editor, specializing in nonfiction developmental, copyediting, and proofreading of books in the genre of business, how-to, self-help, political, and humor. I provide the same services for fiction in the genre of mystery, thriller, romance, and urban. I also offer author support for authors that have a book in them, but don’t know what steps to take to get their book into published form.
How did you get into editing?
Finding typos has always been my gift. It’s as if the mistakes jump off the page and land in my lap. I am also an avid reader, and I truly love words. I love how words come together to make sentences and sentences come together to make paragraphs and paragraphs come together to make stories. I’ve always been fascinated with how good sentence structure can bring life to a story. I took my love for the written word and my ability to find mistakes and combined them to create The Red Pen Editor.
What makes a good editor, in your opinion?
To me, there are three types of editors: the educated, the experienced, and the gifted. A good editor should possess all three of these qualities.
How did you come to write Grammar Done Right?
Grammar Done Right! came about after I started a weekly Grammar Tips ezine back in 2005. By the end of 2007 I had over 100 tips on grammar and style usage. So, the logical next step was to take those grammar and writing tips and create a book. Now, nearing the end of 2008, I’ll have 52 more tips to share. I believe there might be a Grammar Done Right! 2nd Edition in the near future.
You describe it as ‘The only reference book you’ll need to read’. What about the book justifies that claim?
My goal when writing the book was to make it as clear and concise as possible. A quick reference guide that anyone, from 5th grade to adult, could pick up and find an easy explanation for a certain grammar or style rule. The reference books I, and many others, use are those huge tomes that take forever to look up rules with impossibly long explanations of the rule that an average person can’t understand. Therefore, Grammar Done Right! provides easy-to-find, and understand, references to the most common grammar and writing rules and puts them in a quick, commonsense format.
I first found you through the Grammar Done Right comic strip. How and why did you come to do that?
Somebody on Twitter posted a reference to Bitstrips.com. I went to the site out of curiosity. I’m always looking for ways to promote my editing business and my book and something at this site just clicked. Plus, I believe laughter truly is the best medicine, so anything that I can create that might cause another person to smile, or laugh out loud, is okay by me.
What kind of response has the strip had?
All of my grammar comics have developed a strong following. I can also share the comics on my blog, on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, and StumbleUpon. That’s great exposure!
What’s the best advice you have ever had about writing or editing?
Cut out unnecessary words! Your ultimate goal as a writer is to attract readers. Readers are busy people and most don’t have time for leisure reading anymore. Write concise, to the point, and forget all the extra jargon. Your readers will love you for it.
What’s the best advice you have ever given about writing or editing?
Cut out unnecessary words and banish the adverb! Our language is filled with so many wonderful verbs, let’s be creative and use them.
What’s your favorite word at the moment and why?
My favorite word right now is: Appreciation. I’m all about being thankful and grateful for what I am given every day. The chance to wake up healthy, happy, and the freedom to create my own destiny.
5 thoughts on “Grammar Done Right – Interview With Karen Reddick”
so your endorsing this book then?
@Loden, no, we just did an interview with the author.
Thanks for posting my interview. Feel free to direct your grammar questions my way. I’m happy to help!
Are there any saving words for the adverb?
I enjoyed your article (can you sense a but is coming?) but having finished it , I wondered why you used more words than were necessary.
Your (ultmate )sic goal is to attract listeners.
Readers are very busy people and don’t have time for leisure reading (anymore).
Write concisely (OOPS an adverb), “to the point “, (I thought this was covered by CONCISE or should it have been concisely.
I think abandoning adverbs is a mistake: they are part of your armoury;they provide variety to your writing.