Mary Norris has a gift for your favorite grammarian in this week’s New Yorker: a detailed account of comma policy from a veteran copyeditor. The magazine is notorious for its meticulous house style (where else do you still see a diaeresis over the word coördinate?), which it owes to Mensa-level punctuator Eleanor Gould and her acolytes....more
Posts Tagged: copyediting
Technically perfect writing is important when it comes to journalism or nonfiction, and especially helpful when writing with short deadlines. Fiction writing is different though. Nicole Bernier, over at Beyond the Margins, explains why grammatically sloppy writing might be the product of greater creativity:
Sometimes when creative writers say they don’t notice their own typos, it has a whiff of, well, humblebraggery.
This conversation at the Millions between Edan Lepucki and her copyeditor Susan Bradanini Betz is a beautiful paean to the editing process—and enlightening for anyone who wonders what precisely a copyeditor does.
Lepucki and Betz discuss author/editor compatibility, obsessive style sheets, and Donna Tartt’s anti-copyediting broadside....more
In a conversation for the Slate Book Review, author Donna Tartt and her editor Michael Pietsch talk through the experience of editing her latest novel from both sides of the red pen.
It’s a fascinating insight into the near-magical possibilities of good editing—and what separates it from bad editing....more
Once you train yourself to spot errors, you can’t not spot them….You notice typos in novels, missing words in other magazines, incorrect punctuation on billboards. You have nightmares that your oversight turned Mayor Bloomberg into a “pubic” figure.
Yuka Igarashi of Granta wrote an introspective piece on the trappings and fussiness of copyediting.
The presence of the unedited, the wrongfully edited, and the misspelled can be infuriating to an editor. Igarashi discusses her fight against the urge to edit beyond the office and scrutinize the grammar of her surroundings....more
Proper copy editing includes examining the focus, dredging the main point up from the tenth paragraph to make it more prominent. Proper copy editing addresses the language: rooting out cliches, substituting an ordinary term for jargon when it would serve the reader better, altering infelicitous wording.