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What's missing: Editor's Notes #333
February 17, 2021

Thank god for all the writers who put their words out there, reminding us that we are not alone.
Theirs is an amazing act of faith that somewhere there is a reader.

—Helen Burtch Ible

In this issue:

1. What’s missing
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. My Covid-19 offer to you

1.What’s missing
In our local newspaper, a historian wrote about his thoughts when walking through our area. He thought about what is missing. Specifically, he mentioned ethnic communities that lived here in the past and that have moved on. That got me thinking about what we, as writers, may be missing when we write, and about the writing I’ve enjoyed when someone has provided what is missing.

I sold an article to a major international children’s magazine because I had access to a local teen who had won an international award, beating out the likes of National Geographic. In this case, what was missing for everyone else was this personal access, and it got me the gig.

In The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf, Jon Scieszka writes from the missing point of view of the wolf. No matter what you write, think about potential other points of view from the one you have taken. This goes beyond how you choose to narrate a story. When you write nonfiction, addressing alternate points of view adds depth and credibility to your treatment of the topic. If your aim is to persuade others to your point of view, deal with the strengths and weaknesses of what others are saying. Otherwise, readers can easily dismiss your ideas, thinking that you haven’t considered all the options.

Throughout history, classes of people have been missing from literature: women, religious minorities, people with what have been considered alternate lifestyles, racial minorities, those with disabilities. Look around. Who can you see that others are missing? How can you include these people and their issues? (A word of caution: I have written in the past about appropriation. Those of us who are in the dominant group often assume we know things when we are using our own lens, which serves up a different view from those of the overlooked. In such cases, we do damage to those we believe we are helping.) If you are of a class generally overlooked, you are missing, and you can carve out a niche by writing what you know.

A writer is currently working on a book she could not find when she needed to do some research on a topic. In this case, she is filling a need in a whole area of a topic. What a great marketing opportunity!

Whether you are the missing piece, or you can add a new point of view, or you notice a gap in what’s available in print, keep your eyes open for what’s missing, and ask yourself how you can use what’s missing to make your work better.

2.Tickled my funny bone
At a Car Dealership:
The best way to get back on your feet — miss a car payment.

3. Interesting Web site
A little late for Valentines Day, but if you have love on your mind, you may enjoy these love letters of note.

4. Writing prompt
Mystery writers are always playing with what is missing. Use the mystery in "Tickled my funny bone" above to write a short piece. I’d love to see what you do.

5. My Covid-19 offer to you
Yes, this offer still stands. You will have some warning when it closes, but if you are ready to have your work looked at by an editor, this might be the offer you’ve been waiting for. If so, take advantage now before the final rush.

What follows is a copy and paste from issue number 309. The offer is still in force for you and anyone you choose to tell about it.

Along with the health threat hanging over the world, we are facing a huge financial hit. I’ve decided one thing I can do is to make quality editing less expensive during this trying time.

For subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends, I am suspending the fee for the sample edit to anyone using the code EN19 until I cancel this offer. I intend to keep this offer open as long as the world is in crisis with Covid-19 and its aftermath, so watch this space. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer. You can submit your writing sample at Be sure to click the link below the heading "Promotion Code" to get to the special form for a free sample edit. If you find yourself at a form before clicking the special link, scroll slowly back up the page, and you should see the link for the code (EN19).

But it gets better…

When I return an edited writing sample, I include quotes for the full range of my editing services. Until further notice, I will give a true quote, but I will not charge writers the full amount. I am discounting my services 50% for subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer.

Feel free to pass this offer along to any writing friends you think may be interested. As long as anyone uses the code, I’ll honour the offer.

This is what I can offer you in this time of crisis. I hope it encourages you as you face possible illness and financial uncertainty.

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