Dr. Allegra S

Corinth, Vermont, USA

“Polish your words until they shine.”

Dr. Allegra S

Specialist subjects:

Education:

BA Biology and Philosophy

Kirkland College

1974–1978

MD

University of Vermont College of Medicine

1984–1988

Favorite referencing style

I'm most familiar with Chicago Manual of Style, so I'd have to say that's my favorite.

Why I became an editor

Is writing ability an innate talent or a learned skill? At one point I thought talent — which I didn't think I had — was the important part. So to avoid failure, I didn't try. Eventually, I figured out that most of us fail at least once a day, which gives us freedom to try anything we want. Talent may factor into writing excellence, but most of the important parts can be learned. Among other things, I've enjoyed learning the curious intricacies of English grammar. I enjoy proofreading because it is like a puzzle that makes use of what I've learned, and because it allows me to share that knowledge with someone else.

Background and experience

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and New York State and have experience milking cows, driving tractors, and stacking hay. After college, I was in the Peace Corps and taught biology, chemistry, and English as a second language at a secondary school in Congo (then called Zaire).

After I completed my family medicine residency, I worked as a primary care physician in rural Vermont for several years.

Next, I worked for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England providing contraception and gynecological care. After I retired from Planned Parenthood, I developed a woodland I had purchased into a small maple syrup operation. I raised some cows and made cheese for a while. I'm still sugaring, but I've given up the cheese-making.

I started writing fiction about five years ago. I'm currently finishing a novel and planning the next one. No, I haven't published anything.

Somewhere in the mix, I raised a couple kids who turned out perfectly fine in spite of everything.

Why I love proofreading and editing

For me, proofreading is like working a puzzle. I also enjoy crossword puzzles, and proofreading feels similar.

I only started learning about grammar and punctuation recently. Five years ago, I didn't know there were actually rules about when to use semicolons, for instance. I thought you threw them in as the spirit moved you. Now that I've learned a few things, it's fun to make use of them.

I look at searching for mistakes like panning for gold. I get a thrill of victory when I find one.

Dr. Allegra S

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Favorite book:

Favorite books of my life: The Laura Ingalls Wilder series. Favorite recent read: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

Hobbies:

I love to swim, hike, read, write, ride horseback, dance, bake, split wood, garden, snowshoe, play with kids (any, but especially my grandchildren) sew, and build things.

Editing tips:

Get rid of distractions. Look at every single word and punctuation mark carefully. Remember, you're not the writer!

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