Editing as an art

There are a few things that I have learned at this internship, and I would like to share them with you. Some of them were just re-enforcements of what I learned at MP.

1. Editing is hard work. No matter how talented you are or what kind of “eye” you have, concentrating on getting through a manuscript and editing it is ridiculously hard. You have to read it over and over and over again, looking for the smallest mistakes that would admit to the world that someone (be it the author or editor) didn’t do their job. I have an incredibly hard time focusing on one project throughout the day. It makes me want to scream in frustration. Especially the ones that are bad.

2. Editing is a skill. No matter how talented you are or what kind of “eye” you have, you have to learn how to edit and develop your crappy skills into epic ones. I thought I was good at this. I was wrong. I have an eye for it, and I know a little. But after a perusal of The Chicago Manual of Style and reading parts of The Subversive Copyeditor, I realize that I suck. And it will take YEARS, possibly DECADES, before I become even minorly good. Caitlyn, my supervisor, has told me this many times. However, I think Friday was when this idea actually took root in my brain. I’m glad that it finally did. I’m sad I didn’t know this when I started. But that’s what internships are about, right? Learning.

3. I have many pet peeves. Here’s a list: misuse of ellipses, too many parentheses, fragments, starting sentences with coordinating conjunctions, when authors don’t cite their own freaking sources. These are just a few of the things that I’ve learned can tick me off. I’m also annoyed that I continually spell existence wrong (I spell it existance). I have a list of these pet peeves and problem words so I know when I get upset that it’s just something that bothers me and I need to calm down. I have actually been going through and finding all sorts of errors in my blog posts. There are probably many in this one. It makes me unhappy, so I go through and edit when I see errors.

4. Editing has not put me off reading. For which I am extremely grateful. I have read several books since I started this internship, but they have all been Nora Roberts novels. She’s my guilty pleasure. I decided last night that I really need to read Red Pyramid soon. I started it but haven’t finished (isn’t that always how it goes?). I’ve also decided to put off Harry Potter until after the movie a) because I don’t have time and b) because I think it’ll spoil the movie for me. I think that Stephen put this idea into my head, but I don’t remember.

5. I wish I had my own car. This revelation came mainly because my mom and I have had a few miscommunications, many of which happen at my grumpy times. Mornings are incredibly grumpy for me. Right after work is another. I’m not really happy until I get home and close my eyes for fifteen minutes. Unfortunately my mother drives me to and from work, which means she gets hit with my grumpiness if she’s a few seconds late (or if she forgets her phone and picks me up an hour after I’m off).

6. Finally, I love books on tape. When you’re proofreading or checking scripture indexes, there is nothing better than listening to books on tape. I’m currently listening to The Three Musketeers. It’s magnificent. I love Dumas.

I think that’s it. I have a meeting on Thursday with Dan Rich, the man who started Waterbrook, Navpress, and, so I hear, Multnomah (Waterbrook and Multnomah are now one publishing company–Waterbrook-Multnomah). So hopefully I’ll be back to post some excellent publishing tales. I’m pretty excited.



2 thoughts on “Editing as an art

  1. Jenna Pirrie says:

    Except for misused ellipses and sources, my blogging voice would drive you batty according to number 3. Parentheses, “and” sentences, and fragments all over the place! Only in an informal setting like my blog, of course. And comments. Cough.


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