Sep
24
2010
14

Stop the Presses!!!!!!!

It’s National Punctuation Day! OMG! It’s National Punctuation Day! I had no idea that punctuation had a holiday!

I want to celebrate, but I don’t know how to. I can point to my recent post, The Great Typo Hunt. Or a post a couple years back about Gertrude Stein: Passionate about Punctuation.

image I thought about featuring my very, very favorite writing book: The Art of Styling Sentences, which taught me my very favorite sentence form: A Compound Sentence with Elliptical Construction.

OMG. Just saying that.

Whew!

*fans self*

Let me say it again.

A Compound Sentence with Elliptical Construction:

A red light means stop; a green light, go.

Just. Look. At. That.

I think we should have a moment of silence for the beauty that is punctuation.

Writing is the expression; grammar, the clarity; punctuation, the art.

Just look at how the punctuation in that sentence renders the meaning of the words so clearly! Without repeating the verb! Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s the height of elegance: so simple, so perfect, so classic.

I mean, wow.

Happy Punctuation Day! What’s your favorite punctuation mark? Do you have a favorite sentence pattern involving punctuation?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Writing Craft | Tags: ,
Sep
08
2010
15

The Great Typo Hunt

OMG, I love this book: The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time, by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson. As I already mentioned in my last post, punctuation turns me on. I’m crazy about grammar and copyediting and proofreading and the like. LOVE it.

Also, I love travel.

So this book about two guys who set out on a road trip to fix typos across the country is my kind of book. And it’s told in a hilarious way, so even if you aren’t a copyediting freak like me, you’ll laugh.

One thing I liked about the book was when Jeff realized that most people are unaware there are different styles. Most people think rules are rules, that the God of English wrote them in stone hundreds of years ago and we must all be obedient.

Nah. The fun is in the differing styles, in the interpretation of the rules against the author’s own style, voice, and meaning. Copyediting can be quite a creative pursuit!

They have a blog about the Typo Hunt, and if you’re into this stuff, the Blog of Unnecessary Quotation Marks is hilarious.

Since we’re on the subject of funny misconceptions, last weekend I met some people at a potluck dinner at the RV Resort. I told someone I wrote erotica, and the person next to me said, “You must make a ton of money, writing!”

The person across from me said, “I’ve never known an erotica writer. I would love to know an erotica writer. That would be fun.”

And the best was the woman who said: “Oh! So romance authors hire you to write their sex scenes? How does that work?”

Hah! Love it.

Have you found any funny typos lately? Any amusing misconceptions about the writing business?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures | Tags:
Jul
06
2010
27

Give Copy Editors a Break

It’s not just me. Remember my first post on cleaning up your Word document in “Kindle Formatting for Novels I?” About not using Word like a typewriter? It’s not just if you’re planning on self-publishing; even for print publishers, it can allow your copy editor to get straight to copy editing, rather than cleaning up a mess of formatting.

Well, Carol Seller, senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press, editor of the Chicago Manual of Style Online’s Q&A, and author of The Subversive Copy Editor, agrees.

It’s just that word processing is not what I came on board for all those years ago. I’m not trained to do it, I don’t enjoy doing it, and I don’t really know whether what I do is of use to the typesetter. Just once I’d like to receive a perfectly clean and coded manuscript that would allow me to spend all my time copyediting instead of in rodent control.

After expressing some frustration at “Checking for Squirrels” on The Subversive Copy Editor Blog, she posted a useful list of things writers can do to help in “Advice for Writers: Preparing Your E-Manuscript,” including a few of the things I mentioned:

Never use the Tab key or the Space bar to start a new line.
Never use the Space bar to indent anything. I’ll go further: never hit the Space bar more than once in a row.

I admit I’m sorta in love with copy editing. I adore both editors and copy editors, at least the ones I’ve come in contact with thus far. (One was incompetent, but I liked him anyway.) I read the Chicago Manual of Style for fun. I’m looking forward to the next edition. :-) I need to review it again, though. You kinda have to spend some time maintaining the relationship.

The next Kindle installment coming soon!

Do you love reading style manuals? Do you enjoy copyediting? Do you clean up the “squirrels” before sending it off to a publisher?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Editing | Tags:

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