Left Brain, Right Brain – can you be an editor and a writer?

I’ve just launched a new Facebook page – one dedicated to my creative writing. It’s called Patricia A Bell, Author (@thebellbirdwrites). I’ve decided I need to separate my creative writing and publishing from my proofreading and editing business, and build my author platform. I used to write a blog post here and then post it […]

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Punctuation is SEXY (and using it properly will get you more dates online)

So I have a gripe. A grammarian gripe, if you will. A punctuation protestation. I’m pissed off. I’m aghast. I’m fed up. I’m THIS CLOSE to giving an unsuspecting passer-by a good slap. And you, lucky readers, are about to hear all about it. Read that sentence again. Take particular note of the plural: readers. […]

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Inaugural NZ National Writers’ Forum

Stuck in a room full of writers for an entire weekend? It would be some people’s idea of a nightmare. It was my idea of Heaven at the inaugural National Writers’ Forum in Auckland. The forum was the brainchild of the New Zealand Society of Authors (of which I’m a member). Sometimes inaugural events have […]

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Show, don’t tell

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” This quote by Chekhov may be familiar to some of you. It encapsulates perfectly one of the rules of good fiction writing: Show, don’t tell. Even my eight-year-old daughter knows what it means – they’re taught it at school. […]

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The Book Exchange

I’ve achieved some rather major literary goals this year, and last night I celebrated with two lovely women. There’s me in the middle. (Those holes in my top are a design feature, not a result of drunken undressing in the dark. I wish.) On the right is Joanna, and to the left is Sara: the […]

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How to Avoid Huge Ships

I want to share with you a marvellous book I was gifted earlier this year. I’m the first to admit I am a little anally retentive. That’s one of the reasons being a proofreader is the perfect profession for me – I love finding mistakes and correcting them. (Friends and acquaintances reading this: you may now scrape […]

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Employing a Professional Proofreader

This is an article I wrote for NZ Business and Management Magazine. It’s in the November issue, which is out now. You’re a business that prides itself on communicating effectively to its clients and prospects. You produce brochures, flyers and other written marketing material. Your website is a major component of your communications plan. Your company produces […]

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Why good grammar matters

“Sticklers Unite!” is the rallying cry from Lynne Truss in her #1 New York Times bestseller for grammar nerds, Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. I’m a stickler and proud of it. And not a closeted one, either. My profession—proofreader, editor and writer—is just a tiny giveaway, for a start. Then […]

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What Makes a Good Proofreader?

I wrote this article for New Zealand Author, the official publication of the New Zealand Society of Authors. It was published last week. You have drafted and redrafted. You may have had some or all of your manuscript assessed. Finally, with relief and incredulity, you have typed The End and poured yourself a glass of […]

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A New Name

Dear followers, likers and hangers-on: Just a short post to let you know that I have changed the name of this blog. Previously known as bellbirdwords, it is now called thebellbirdblog. I have just launched my own freelance proofreading, editing and writing business, and I have called it Bellbird Words. This blog, my Facebook page (Bellbird Words) and […]

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