I love words. Like a lot. I love reading them. I love writing them. I love talking to people about the words they’re writing and the words they wished they were writing and the words they might someday write. I have a number of word-related degrees and resume items. And I’m adding another: freelance editor.

If you’re interested, send me an email at author.emma.barry (at) Let’s talk about your words.

Words I Like

Miss Bates hates the word “exquisite.” I don’t have strong opinions about exquisite. It’s a fragile word and thus problematic to assign to a person (though I’ll admit I did use it in Brave in Heart; the hero applies it to a longed-for reunion).

Our associations with language are idiosyncratic, the result of reading, personality, accent, and conversation. Here’s mine.

This is a list of words I like:

Continue reading “Words I Like”

The Just Chronicles

I recently finished my very first novel. Like most aspiring writers, I think, I was so relieved to have completed this project that had been a dream of mine since forever. So I ignored the standard “put it in a drawer” advice and started editing right away. And like all people who ignore good advice, I was disappointed in completely predictable ways.

Namely, my manuscript — my beautiful manuscript that took five months and hours without number to write — was riddled with errors. Errors big and errors small. Characters who changed names over the course of the book. Pacing problems. Plot holes. And typos — oh the typos.

The most notable problem, however, was my over-use of one little word: just.

As I worked on my revisions, I realized how many things “just” can mean: only, merely, right now, fair/right, actually. And that’s not even counting its use as a filler word or general intensifier. It’s a useful word, but not to use on every page.

Once I fixed my “just” problem, I did manage to put that first manuscript in a drawer. Oh, I sent it to some contests and beta readers too. I couldn’t resist. But now I’ve moved onto something that makes me even more excited. But also nervous, just a little bit.