Feb 20
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No Trespassing sign

photo by Julie Jor­dan Scott https://​www​.flickr​.com/​p​e​o​p​l​e​/​j​u​l​i​e​j​o​r​d​a​n​s​c​ott/

Mary Nor­ris, a query proof­reader at The New Yorker mag­a­zine, writes in the Feb­ru­ary 23, 2015, issue:

There is a fancy word for “going beyond your province”: “ultra­crep­i­date.” So much of copy edit­ing is about not going beyond your province. Anti-ultracrepidationism. Writ­ers might think we’re apply­ing rules and stick­ing it to their prose in order to make it fit some stan­dard, but just as often we’re back­ing off, mak­ing excep­tions, or at least try­ing to find a bal­ance between doing too much and doing too lit­tle. A lot of the deci­sions you have to make as a copy edi­tor are sub­jec­tive. For instance, an issue that comes up all the time, whether to use “that” or “which,” depends on what the writer means. It’s inter­pre­tive, not mechanical.…

This is so true! As I copy­edit someone’s work, I con­sider my job, first and fore­most, not to be mak­ing all gram­mar and punc­tu­a­tion rigidly cor­rect. In the first place, how — or whether — punc­tu­a­tion is used is, as Nor­ris states, inter­pre­tive, so I’m always striv­ing to under­stand what the author wants read­ers to under­stand. If an author’s comma will lead read­ers to under­stand a sen­tence dif­fer­ently than what I believe the author intends, it’s my job to remove that comma — even if the author really likes that comma! If I’m not sure what the author intends in a sen­tence, it’s my job to query him or her and double-check. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 24
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BOOK REVIEW

I want to tell you about a book so awe­some that I have just read it in the course of a week­end — and I don’t gen­er­ally have time, or make time, to power through some­thing that fast! (By the way, I am get­ting no ben­e­fit by pro­mot­ing this book, since my “dear” state leg­is­la­tors opted last sum­mer not to allow the Ama­zon Asso­ciates affil­i­ate pro­gram to be used in Min­nesota any longer. BOO!!!) Any­way… on to hap­pier things:

Book cover image: "APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur -- How to Publish a Book"

Book cover image: “APE: Author, Pub­lisher, Entre­pre­neur — How to Pub­lish a Book”

The book APE: Author, Pub­lisher, Entre­pre­neur — How to Pub­lish a Book, by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch, con­tains a wealth of infor­ma­tion about just what its title says. Chap­ter by chap­ter, the authors demys­tify the process Read the rest of this entry »

May 20
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Way back in the begin­ning of my foray into copy­edit­ing, a writer named Bathsheba Smithen was referred to me. As we worked together on her first book, Who Cares What You Think … So What You Think?, I was tick­led to dis­cover how much we had in com­mon — despite much of her life and work tak­ing place in inner-city, poverty-challenged neigh­bor­hoods, and mine in Mid­west­ern com­mu­ni­tiess, some prac­ti­cally rural; despite the fact that she is black and I am white; despite the fact that she is in her 20s and I am in my 40s. Turns out, we have lots in com­mon! — not least, that we are both mar­ried and each have a child we have adopted as our own and a younger child we gave birth to; that we both hold Master’s degrees; that we both lean on our Chris­t­ian faith, even amid chal­lenges and doubts. Please take a cou­ple min­utes to meet Sheba for yourself:

I went on to help Sheba with more of her writ­ing: Read the rest of this entry »

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