Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: The Subversive Copy Editor

I'm an editor. I love to edit. But what qualifies me?
A love of words and language? Sometimes.
A certain level of skill? Certainly.
The fact of editing? That, probably more than anything.


I'm always searching for books and resources to inform my trade, and when I stumbled on The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) by Carol Fisher Saller, I rejoiced. First of all, subversive anything usually catches my eye (I'm only being honest).

And Saller is that editor at the Chicago Manual of Style online who reads every single question one of the thousands of questions that are submitted to the site each year. Questions come from all over--from editors and authors, covering topics relevant and random.

What's comforting is that often, there is no right answer; even this Chicago style editor will explain that their much-lauded manual is a guide and not the last word on what must or mustn't be done. The choices aren't quite as important in some cases as the consistency in the choices that are made.

Chapters open with a question (a real question that was submitted), topics are addressed all around that question that build the chapter and finally an answer is given to the original question.

This is a great book for both writers and editors, as Saller really addresses each with respect and courtesy for their part in the writing process.

The delicate balance between copy editing, higher-level editing and writing is addressed; this is the first title that I've found that really addresses that balance so completely. And the best part? I found it for under $4 in ebook version for my Kindle.

If you're interested in reading, writing, editing (or reading about writing or editing), this is a great short book to pick up and enjoy.

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