An Editor's Magic Touch

It's little wonder many writers thank their editors in forewords, dedications and acknowledgements. As I've found writing book reviews for Writing NSW, editors have a magic touch when it comes to reviewing a writer's work and suggesting edits.

There were many grammatical errors, typos and howlers over the ten years I published my dog club newsletter. In my defence, I caught most of them during the final read … after I’d photocopied it! Oh, how I wish I’d had my editor and proofreader friend, Grammarly, back then.

As a kid growing up in Perth, W.A., in the 1960s and ’70s, I didn’t learn about the Vietnam War from classroom history lessons. Vietnam and the broader Indochina War were on our radio and TV news every morning and evening and in the front page headlines of our daily newspapers.

To help overcome writer's block and start writing the first sentences of A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway is said to have reminded himself: “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

One day in 2001, I saw Amy the yellow lab in Queens Park with her owner, “The bloke with a beard”. He told me that ‘John had died’ and ‘Amy was missing him’. It took a few moments before I realised he was talking about a fellow dog walker, “The old bloke who walked Amy the lab for his neighbour”.

My travel journals are typically student exercise books, with each day's sights and highlights recorded over two or more pages. Daily diaries of work and everyday life are less exciting and it took me many years to settle on a format to jot down the day's events without feeling like it was a chore.

As a volunteer instructor at a local dog club, I’m often asked for advice on choosing a dog. A common misconception among prospective dog owners is that the main concern is matching a dog to your living area.

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