Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Turn Your Thoughts into Eloquence!

I work with undergrad and doctoral students, professionals, and entrepreneurs on personal, academic, and professional projects. I make a difference in their projects in the following key ways:

  • Drawing out the key points, making sure that they are emphasized. As the author, involved in the project (big or small) you know what you want to say. Having an editor can help bring out the eloquence that you intended.
  • Assessing the overall flow of the text and making suggestions about areas that need elaboration/further explanation or those that are redundant.
  • Catching potentially embarrassing errors that could distract from the point being made.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Client Reactions

I have been fortunate to work with some fascinating academics and dedicated professionals on projects as varied as published books, web sites, academic articles, doctoral dissertations and proposals, resumes, book proposals, grant proposals and professional assignments (email, memos, projects). The following represent a sample of the feedback I've received from a few of these projects:

Book: Marion Syversen, Author of Real Deal, Making Big Changes with Small Change says, "I LOVE THE CHANGES. I can’t even tell they are changes except it now reads less ‘BORED NOW!” Less blurting more flowing. ...Perfect." You are MAGNIFICENT!!!!! Your work is BRILLIANT. Honestly brilliant! I LOVE how you explained the buying of the kitchen cabinets. That was beautiful. It covered our modesty and got the point across BRILLIANTLY on the shock and awe of yard sale finds. [Other] edits warrant the same gratitude and outright joy in the way you squeezed out what I MEANT from the crazy initial way I first expressed it. All of you additions are – may I say- inspired! NOW I’m EXCITED!!!! Not feeling like I did when I first felt the problem but couldn’t find my way out of it!

Professional Project: "Thank you for all of your help. I feel better submitting projects when I know that you have reviewed them first... then I know that it will accurately reflect my thoughts, concerns, etc. From e-mail to grants to letters of recommendation, I appreciate all that you do to ensure that my writing presents a consistently professional image." Nanette Milar Madden, P.N.P, C.N.P., San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco.

Dissertation: Dr. Nadine Agosta, University of San Francisco, 2009.
"Thank you for all your sacrifices to turn my research into a "Mona Lisa." Without your help and support, I would never have gotten to this point. I wish I could express the extent of my gratitude. You are a wonderful person. Thank you."

Dissertation: Dr. Patricia Perez, University of San Francisco, 2009.
"Thank you very much for your excellent work! You are awesome, and I hope to continue to work with you. ... I can never thank you enough for all of your help with my dissertation!"

Dissertation: Doctoral Candidate, 2010.
"I can't tell you how much your have helped me during the process of writing this dissertation. I've learned so much about writing and - at least for now - I am free again to put words to paper because I have a direction of what is missing and what needs to be "tweaked." Now when I write it is more productive and the results aren't so disappointing!"

Dissertation: Beryl Banks: Doctoral Candidate, 2010.
"In this season of being thankful, I wanted you to know I'm grateful for you. I look forward to my next round of editing, but mostly your wisdom and patience."

Dissertation Proposal: Chai W. Xiong: "Thank you for your assistance! It has been a great pleasure working with you. I appreciate your input as well as your insightful thought. I look forward to working with you again. I am very honored to have known you!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Contact me

For more information about timelines or prices, contact me today! I can be reached at and am looking forward to hearing from you.

How does it work? I work with most of my clients online, usually first with an exchange of email to help establish a mutual understanding of the scope of the project. Our work is then usually a collaborative process, with my questions and comments informing the development of the final work. The end result is uniquely the work of the client, but polished in such a way that the intended eloquence shines forth. As I provide the "back and forth" through e-mail, I include a running tally of charges so that the final bill contains no surprises.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Editing Tips

The following are EDITING TIPS deisgned for students using the AAA writing style; however, many apply also for APA and writing in general. I prepared these for doctoral students, based on what I noticed to be the most commonly made mistakes. Note that the AAA style guide should be a writer's primary source; this merely highlights common errors.

Simple self-edits: Before submitting, use the Word “search” option to ensure that the following style/grammar issues are correctly used throughout your document.

• Numbers under ten should be spelled out. Exceptions are found in the AAA guide.

• The word “data” is plural when seeking grammatical agreement.

• Don’t use the “royal we” or “one” to refer to an unknown person. “One must remember that…” should be “It is important to remember” or “remembrance carries importance.

• Don’t use hyphens, even “and/or.”

• Capitalize the word “Chapter” whenever referring to a Chapter in the dissertation.

• Special Note for Dr. Herda's students: DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING: impact (unless referring to a physical collision), empowerment, feedback, compare and contrast, perception.


• Quotes should only be indented if they take more than four lines. Per AAA, “if extract takes more than four manuscript lines, make it a block extract.”

• Change the case of the initial letter of quote to fit sentence without using brackets.

• Don’t begin a quote with “…”

• Check for the consistency of spacing in references. “(Ricoeur 1999:25)” is okay; so is “(Ricoeur 1999: 25).” But be consistent!

• Also, check punctuation, making sure that it is after the reference, not before it.

• Where possible, eliminate the passive voice: NOT “the data was analyzed,” but “I analyzed the data.” This is important both for good grammar and to properly appropriate the role of the researcher (participatory).

• A paragraph should not (rarely) end with a quote. Instead, use the quote within the paragraph, then use your own words to explain the quote and close the paragraph. Also, quotes should not stand alone; they should be introduced and explained, in context to the rest of the sentence and paragraph. The relevance of the quote to the text may make sense to you, but it must be explained to the reader!

• Use “United States of America,” rather than “America/n” except for the continental region.


• Before submitting, check each reference to make sure it is included in the bibliography.

• Check appropriate tenses throughout. An author is always present tense, whether alive or dead: “Socrates states….” In the dissertation: Ch 1 and 2 (intro and lit review) are present tense. The research process is in the past tense. Data presentation is mostly in the present tense, with the past tense used as appropriate for specific participant voices. Secondary analysis and final Chapter are both present tense, though secondary analysis chapter can draw in a quote from the participant to make a point. Then it is, “so and so said….” The final Chapter can also include, under policy or curriculum suggestions, “"could, might consider, or other conditional or subjunctive words. In the Author's Reflections, past tense could be used.

• Don’t use long quotes as data. Short quotes are okay, but describe the conversation, don’t insert it in long blocks. Remember to use ethnography (such as Geertz writes) as a presentation guide for data.

• Work to draw a story from the conversations. The data presented should not be a listing of each conversation and what happened, but a story that is drawn from the conversations according to themes.

There are more tips throughout the AAA style guide; be sure to review it periodically to check for specific style issues that are relevant to your work.