One time-consuming part of copyediting a manuscript is fine-tuning the formatting. This involves meticulously using the find-and-replace function to seek out double spaces, soft returns, non-curly quotation marks, hyphens that should be en or em dashes, and the like. For the past six years, I have been using a program called FileCleaner to quickly and efficiently deal with this monotony in one easy click. It’s my first step when opening a file. Continue reading “Formatting and Editing Help: Editor’s Toolkit Plus”
Rachel only wears one contact! Her right eye is 20/20 and her left is 20/40. She has very little depth perception, but it makes eye care half off, so she considers it a win.
Lesley misspells her name every time she types it: Lelsey.
My first encounter with the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) was in an editing course in grad school. Up to that point, I’d only really known MLA, though I did use CMS’s bibliography style at the magazine I worked at in college. Holding the big, orange 14th edition in my hands was both terrifying and exhilarating.
When Rachel was a kid, she wanted to be a “lichen scientist.” She used her pink and purple ’90s Caboodle to collect various species of lichens and moss. The Caboodle, which has since been lost, is probably still full of specimens.
Lesley comes from a book-lovin’ family. Her mother works in a library; her sister is an editor; her other sister is a librarian; her dad, well, he loves the book lovers, so that counts, right?
To folks outside the publishing industry, the various dash lengths available can be quite confusing. Hyphen, en dash, em dash . . . what’s the difference? And how do you get your keyboard to do that?
As Chicago Manual of Style 6.75 states, “Though many readers may not notice the difference—especially between an en dash and a hyphen—correct use of the different types is a sign of editorial precision and care.” So let’s take a moment to look at each. Here are examples of all the dash lengths in relation to one another:
- You are a writer, and your words are important.
- Word-processing programs offer so many different ways to treat text.
These two statements seem like they are often juxtaposed in writers’ minds. Why not use some of these elements for emphasis, to make sure your readers know which of your words are most important? What harm can a little bold, some italics, an underline here and there, or all caps do? Oh, and don’t forget the colors!
As an editor, a fellow writer, and one who sits on the editorial board of a publishing company, I am begging you to resist the temptation. Walk with me: Continue reading “The Temptation of Text Treatment”
Rachel once went to see Hanson in concert. She was 21. (Bonus fact: she’s so short, she stood on a cinder block at the venue to see over the crowd of thirteen-year-olds and was yelled at by a security guard.)
Lesley never felt a shot before college because she always fainted before the needle got to her. In college, she fainted after the needle got to her.
In 2009, I received my master of fine arts degree in creative nonfiction from West Virginia University. Through three years of workshops, I learned a lot about structure, audience, and craft. Despite these lessons, for me, one of the hardest parts of writing an essay has always been figuring out a topic. Or, to be honest, not giving up on the topic in the first three paragraphs.
A turning point in my schooling was a visit from the illustrious Brenda Miller, coauthor of Tell It Slant and author of Season of the Body, among other masterpieces. Reading these two very different books and working with her in a small group changed my approach to essay writing. Continue reading “Writing an Essay”
Fun fact about Rachel: she was homeschooled!
Fun fact about Lesley: she used to joust with her sister while riding bareback and using a branch for a lance.