I keep notes on my editors’ stylistic preferences, mostly to oil the wheels…but in the case of one editor, I’ve amassed quite the list of grievances. Spot the dick!
- Disliked words and phrases: squish, moist, lemon-suck face, grody, belch;
- Adds lots of em-dashes;
- Prefers longer sentences, particularly in dialogue;
- Great at spotting Britishisms I don’t recognise as such.
- Disliked words and phrases: any fake sound-effect words (runch, beeble, skreek);
- Adds adverbs to dialogue tags; prefers tags other than “said”;
- WRITE-INS NEVER MATCH HOUSE STYLE! DO NOT ACCEPT WITHOUT READING!
- Hates colons in any context;
- Puts suggestions at the end of each chapter, not in the margin notes.
- Disliked words and phrases: slit, startled, flipping the bird, brows (always use “eyebrows”), wintry (doesn’t consider it a word), panties, underpants, knickers, Y-fronts, briefs;
- NEVER use any variant of “there is/was,” “it is/was,” etc. Will C&P lengthy margin note on passive description…even for one instance in a 90,000-word manuscript;
- Expects replies to all margin notes;
- Creeped out by doo-wop; will ruin favourite songs with notes on why they’re creepy;
- Adds commas before references to time (“He thought it’d be fine, this time.”);
- Notes can be vague; offended by requests for clarification;
- Unwilling to discuss manuscripts in progress; prefers to correct errors than prevent them;
- Narrow idea of what’s plausible. When pitching concepts, avoid references to anyone doing anything that might be considered extraordinary;
- Leaps on ANY pretext to quote “The Bestseller Code.” FUCK OFF!
- Knows a lot about child psychology.
- Disliked words and phrases: inasmuch;
- Dislikes “fetishistic” descriptions of food and eating;
- Loves anything music-related;
- Prefers short sentences and strong verbs.
- Disliked words and phrases: courtyard, eavestroughs, America (call it the USA);
- Good at spotting sneaky racist shit*;
- Prefers American English, even in pitches/outlines;
- Likes ambitious plot ideas;
- Fun to talk to.
* Which I didn’t know was racist. Obviously I wouldn’t, on purpose, you know…
PS – These aren’t my complete lists. I removed or modified anything that might identify these people to their employers or co-workers (though, besides Mr. Boose, I’d recommend all of them).