The four most important mechanical elements of a pun are conciseness, density, interest, and relevance.
From a copyeditor’s perspective, in-box article submissions can carry a vibe akin to the wild west, with authors throwing around rambunctious punctuation all willy-nilly: random ellipses with ambiguous intent, dashes dropped seemingly at random, and the mother of all punctuation faux pas, the exclamation point! What’s a periodical copyeditor to do?
Given that there is overlap between the different stages of editing, and the fact that some smaller presses forgo line editing altogether, why should we even care about it? It’s a legitimate question. I think the line edit holds an important place in the publishing process, even if it doesn’t get the benefit of being a distinct procedure.
For my four years as an undergraduate, I worked as a tutor at my university’s writing center. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this is what set me on the path to editing. As I approach graduation, I think back to what sent me here, and I came to realize how my tutoring background and training still very much inform who I’ve become as an editor.
Last year, a friend of mine was preparing a manuscript to be pitched to publishers and agents. He asked me to read his manuscript beforehand because he believed my editorial experience would provide him with insight regarding the plausibility of his book getting accepted by a publisher or an agent (it doesn’t). I told him the story was enjoyable but in need of structural work. After revising the manuscript twice, he approached me for tips on how to write his query letter, knowing that I’ve been involved with Ooligan. So to help new authors like my friend, I’ve compiled a list of five reminders that are helpful when writing the dreaded query letter.
These are the opening stages of grief that you may go through when receiving a developmental edit on your manuscript. But don’t worry. You’re not alone.