Posts Tagged: copyediting

Serial Commas, Subordinate Clauses, and the New Yorker

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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 […]

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Creativity Is Messy

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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, […]

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Author’s Notes

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Writers and editors don’t always get along, but usually their squabbles remain private. Reviewer copies of Moriarty, a new Sherlock Holmes novel, were published and sent to places like the New York Times with notes from author Anthony Horowitz still included. The mistake reveals part of the sometimes secretive editing process, and, as Melville House […]

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The Obsessive, Nerdy Joys of Copyediting

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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. A preview: No, I can’t turn it off, but […]

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What Makes a Good Editor?

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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. For example, here’s this from Tartt: There’s […]

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“Typos on the Internet”

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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. For The Awl, Lori Fradkin writes about the trials and tribulations of the copyeditor. (She uses “copy […]

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Copy Editors Are Your Friends

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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. Proper copy editing prunes, deleting the irrelevant, tightening the […]

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Copyediting George Saunders

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How delightful is this style sheet used by the editors of George Saunders’s forthcoming short-story collection? Highlights include the distinction between “pity whoop” (noun) and “pity-whoop” (verb), the hyphenation of “pre-boner,” and how to put “Darkenfloxx” in the past tense.

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