Gold Coast Writers Assoc meeting · Recommended

Gail Tagarro GCW speaker…

Gail Tagarro

The Book Writing Coach. Accredited Editor. Novelist. Writer & Editor of Fiction and Nonfiction. Founder of editors4you

First off, Gail wanted to give Full disclosure. She’s a good writer and editor and thought she didn’t need her book edited. But when her friend read her final copy she’d made a couple of small errors. It’s worth getting someone else to edit your book because you just don’t see the errors. You are blind to your mistakes.

Gail then explained her background and skills. Myth: Editors just correct spelling and punctuation.

Gail Tagarro at Gold Coast Writers October 2021 Meeting

She went on to go through common errors to see if we could pick the errors. This was very interesting and I didn’t take notes as it’s better to say that we all were guessing on some slides.

Many manuscripts she sees have Song Lyrics which are subject to copyright and unless you pay for permission to use them they are better left out.

Macquarie Dictionary is the Australian standard

Unengaging writing – Is harder to point out the problem. It could be that the story is not fully developed. The protagonist fails to engage the reader. The storytelling is like a documentary, this happened then that happened.

Common Errors in Manuscripts

Gail speaker GCW
  • Layout
  • Punctuation (dialoge, general – can be picked up by reading it out loud)
  • Spelling inconsistences
  • Homophones – eg: its it’s
  • Convention inconsistencies
  • Style (word) not utilised
  • Capitalisation errors – mum or Mum
  • Possitive apostrohie for plural
  • Countable or Uncountable nouns – (eg: count coffee grains – can’t count coffee)
  • Run on Sentences
  • Passive voice
  • Breeching copyright

Every writer wants their manuscript to be the best it can be to give it a chance. If you have been invited by the publisher she suggests get a Proof reader then and editor.

Generalisation – Writing is a creative activity – Editing is largely analytical

Me and Gail

Can you do both? Should you edit your own manuscript?

Gail suggests that you can do a certain amount of both but its bed to get it edited. Improving your writing does help by improving your manuscript for the editor.


  • 1 space – enter not shift enter
  • hard paragraph breaks
  • lose tabs and manual spcing
  • smart quotes
  • using styles
  • remove extra paragraph spacing (enter) build into styles
  • page breaks
  • elipses/emdash/endash use consistent?

Gail has a free formatting download on her website –


Editors work on keeping the authors voice. Using old and new paragraphs. Comments to clarify when editing.

Unnecasary complicated writing slows the story down. (eg: acton = fast paced)

Active Voice

Passive voice acceptable, however, Active voice avoids ambiguity. (there is no doubt who is performing the function.)

Power Verbs

Powerful, active verbs enliven writing, making it more creative and satisfying.

Physical gesture vs adverb – ‘Please tell me,’ he pleaded.

Becoming a better writer

  • Read quality literature
  • Read books on writing techiques (eg: Steven King)
  • Use dictionary
  • Use Thesauraus
  • Get A Word A Day
  • Get Apps
  • Play Word Games

Suggested Resources were discussed before Gail took questions from the audience.

The Book Writing Coach

Gail Tagarro

Having trained as a journalist gives me an edge as a book coach—I know the right questions to ask and I know what makes good writing.

I’ve also written and published books myself—so not only am I a coach, but also a self-published author.

As a small business owner of 32 years, and having worked for both corporates and small businesses in a variety of roles, I’ve ‘lived’ the business world. No matter what your background, the reason you want to write a book, or the genre of your book, I’m ready to support you on your writing journey.

Gail has been a friend of mine for many years having been on the Committee of the Gold Coast Writers at the same time. She was the Editor and I was Membership Secretary. After that we worked at the same small publishing house. Her style of writing is quite different to mine as she’s classical and I’m more ad lib (if that makes sense.) I’ve always valued her knowledge and style.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my notes from her presentation. Happy reading my blog following friends. – Jill

4 thoughts on “Gail Tagarro GCW speaker…

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