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Is using italics for non-English words exoticising?

This post discusses: certain common situations when italics are used issues in using italics for non-English words in fiction common reasons why cultural anthropologists italicise non-English words Editing and language change One of the most exciting things about working as an editor is observing language change firsthand. Language and society are closely linked. And many …

Business report: on the cusp of year four!

The UK tax year just ended (on 5 April). The Narrative Craft will be three years old on 1 May, so it seemed like a good time to get some insight. In this blog post, I’ll cover what clients and services I’ve dropped, how my business has changed, and what (and who) made the last …

National canons, literary fiction, and traditional publishing

Census time! This week I came unstuck when filling in the Scottish census. “What do you feel is your national identity?” I don’t feel any national connection with Englishness, Scottishness, Britishness, or otherwise. If pushed, I’d probably describe myself as a New Scot as this seems inclusive and relatively fluid. These questions are really complex …

Peer review versus academic developmental editing

Academic developmental editing involves looking at big picture issues in a text. It asks questions such as: how does the text hold together as an interesting and convincing piece of writing? Does it meet the conventions of its genre? Does it speak to the audiences it aims to engage with? Is the author’s message clear …

Review: Ready Player One

I both loved this book and really disliked parts of it. If you haven’t read it, here’s what it’s about. The text below contains some spoilers. Key details: Author: Ernest Cline POV/Viewpoint character: First person, immersive. Wade Watts (online avatar: Parzival) – an orphaned teenager living in the ‘stacks’ in Ohio, the mid-twenty-first century equivalent …

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Contextual Distance and Exposition

This post discusses: exposition in ethnography and SFF writing contextual distance, a new concept for understanding the need for exposition the uses of exposition in fiction Exposition What does ethnography have in common with science fiction and fantasy writing? Extensive use of exposition is arguably one point of common ground. SFF authors create new imaginary …

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5 reasons NOT to hire me to edit your manuscript

Let’s keep this simple … why should you NOT hire me to edit your manuscript? This post covers: common reasons why editor–author collaborations fail why you may not want to hire me to edit your manuscript how you can save money, time, or both, by finding the right person for your manuscript several differences between …

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An English-language Editor Takes the Mandarin HSK3 Exam

UPDATE (21/12/21): Scroll to the bottom to find out how I did! The HSK exams test knowledge of Mandarin Chinese. I took the HSK 3 exam on Saturday 11 December. This level tests lower-intermediate (A2–B1) skills. I passed the HSK2 exam one year ago, but this level does not require knowledge of Chinese characters, so …

a white man with blond hair looking at a computer with a look of deep frustration. The man is in his twenties.

5 translation pitfalls in the narrative social sciences

Historians, social anthropologists, and qualitative sociologists often work across different cultural and linguistic contexts. For example, you might do your research in German or Croatian, but publish some of it in English. All of these endeavours involve a kind of cultural translation. They often include the translation of interview excerpts, field observations, and academic texts …