Rusty Strait | Senior Reporter

I received a note from Melissa in San Bernardino. Her question was, “Why do I need a line editor? I have a spell check.” That is a question that needs to be answered, and Melissa isn’t aware of some of the rudiments of completing any manuscript.

To begin, if you misspell the word you want but it is a legitimate word otherwise, then you are botching up your work. Spell check doesn’t catch everything. For instance, you meant to say ‘read’ but it came up red and was accepted by spell check, which is an error that a line editor will catch. Despite all the warnings that new writers get, they still send in work with word mistakes that a good line editor will catch. I hope this answers Melissa and others’ questions on this matter.

Now, to other things. You believe you have a manuscript that is just itching for television or films. East Coast Agents rarely handle anything to do with films. If one of their clients has something for film, a good agent will refer you to a Hollywood agent who knows all the ins and outs of film. And you need to be careful with agents and sub-agents to make sure they are all they advertise themselves to be. There are always a dozen sources who will promise to make you a millionaire best-selling writer. Meanwhile, they always need money up front to make that happen. Talk to writer friends about their experience or check with the Authors Guild. All too many new writers get sucked in with blah, blah, blah about your work and what they will do for you. Better to be safe than sorry. Do your investigative work until you find the right agent with a track record. All good agents will tell you who they represent and prove it by the list of authors they have represented.

I’ll be seeing you next week. Until then, keep your eyes and ears open. Just sayin’.

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