If you’re a writer or an English major who aced every spelling and grammar quiz in school, you might think to yourself, “Hey, I’m pretty good with words. I understand punctuation, possessives, and present participles. I would make a fantastic copyeditor!” And you could very well be right. But before you dive headfirst into this profession, it’s important to know that for a good copyeditor, grammatical know-how is just the tip of the iceberg; successful copyediting requires a number of additional skills that have nothing to do with whipping out that red pen to correct a dangling modifier. This post outlines some essential copyediting skills that are completely unrelated to grammar and spelling.
Writing a story takes blood, sweat, and tears, and the process of revising one’s own work takes time and dedication. All this hard work culminates in a promising manuscript, but in order to achieve the most success, a manuscript needs the attention of a professional editor. To receive the best editing, it’s important to know what to ask for—and that requires knowing the levels of editing offered.
Though style sheets can seem confusing at first, they are among the most important tools at a copyeditor’s disposal. As long as you keep your style sheet organized and record all of your decisions related to mechanics and style, you should be all right. (Or is it “alright”? Better check the style sheet.)
For grammar experts and novices alike, compiled here is a short list of books dedicated to presenting the particulars of the English language in an accessible, engaging, and fun (yes, fun!) way.
There are so many moments to take in during the editing process, but perhaps one of the most basic considerations is HOW it all happens. There are certain things that HAVE to happen, but they might not always happen in the right order or in the same way for everyone. If it happens and it happens well, is the HOW really that important? Maybe. Maybe not.
Is it really that surprising that our generation is cynical about any analogue workflows when we’ve seen several outmoded in our lifetimes? Unfortunately, it is that exact disillusionment that causes some genuinely useful pre-Y2K skills to be overlooked. Case in point: hand-marked editing.