Editorial Agreement

Regarding my recent copyediting posts, Tor editor Teresa Nielsen Hayden wrote here that she “emphatically” agrees with almost every particular of them (the one exception being query flags, which publishers differ on), and she adds some interesting commentary of her own.

I’m busy finishing up projects before the World Fantasy Convention. Who else on my f’list is going?

20 thoughts on “Editorial Agreement”

  1. Deanna, so let me ask you something. I’m pretty much familiar with basic punctuation rules. I’ve had a college teacher who took 50 pts off my grade for every run-on, splice, or fragment. But my first person narrative is heavily influenced by character voice.

    Example: It made me weak in the knees; it sapped my will until only melancholy remained; it made me miss something, what I wasn’t sure, but I knew I missed it keenly and couldn’t take another breath without it.

    I know it’s a semicolon, but I would really have liked commas for this series, because I’d like to create a sense of being caught in a melody. Here I consciously corrected the commas on edit, but I know I probably didn’t catch each instance.

    Or here: Somehow I doubted Diaperhead would attack me with a high powered rifle. Not his style.

    I like this fragment. I like it right here the way it is. Does this mean that the copyeditor will basicalyy go through my manuscript and “fix” every single instance I’ve made a choice? The prospect of receiving a manuscript corrected in this way is a bit horrifying.

  2. I wish I was going. More people at WFC that I know than were in Scotland. But, alas, the trip over the pond tapped my resources this year. Unless I win the lottery in the next week.

  3. Hi, Ilona! Well, on the first question, it can be difficult to edit a sentence out of the context of the rest of your style. If you want to use commas in that sentence to preserve the rhythm, and yet don’t want to cause your readers any hardship in parsing, you might consider using an em dash after “something.” (And obviously, if that isn’t the rhythm you’re going for, disregard.) If you feel strongly about the rhythm in such instances, you should discuss it with your editor and provide a note to the copyeditor to that effect. If there aren’t many such instances, and it isn’t clear that you’re trying to create that rhythm, you could mark those particular occurrences with stet marks (dots under the punctuation) to tell the CE they’re intentional.

    There is no way, on your second example, that any copyeditor should “fix” that fragment. It’s fine.

  4. Alas, my punk brother is getting married the weekend of WFC, so I can’t go. He announced this one day after I made my hotel reservations…grumble.

  5. Not this year. :-) We were evacuating from some hurricane or other last year at WorldCon; I don’t usually take them with me to cons.

  6. Ilona, don’t forget that the author’s style can supercede any publisher’s house style (within reason). Nothing is ever set in stone, and you can fight for your commas (or lack thereof) at the copyediting stage.

    (so says the editor that stetted a lot of CE marks because the author was going for **style**)

  7. It’s daunting to authors, though, to think about having to stet a lot of things. Better to prevent that if possible, and everyone will be happier. :-)

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