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The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago (Or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships with Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself) (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)by Carol Fisher Saller
Synopses & Reviews
Each year writers and editors submit over three thousand grammar and style questions to the Q&A page at The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Some are arcane, some simply hilarious—and one editor, Carol Fisher Saller, reads every single one of them. All too often she notes a classic author-editor standoff, wherein both parties refuse to compromise on the "rights" and "wrongs" of prose styling: "This author is giving me a fit." "I wish that I could just DEMAND the use of the serial comma at all times." "My author wants his preface to come at the end of the book. This just seems ridiculous to me. I mean, its not a post-face."
In The Subversive Copy Editor, Saller casts aside this adversarial view and suggests new strategies for keeping the peace. Emphasizing habits of carefulness, transparency, and flexibility, she shows copy editors how to build an environment of trust and cooperation. One chapter takes on the difficult author; another speaks to writers themselves. Throughout, the focus is on serving the reader, even if it means breaking "rules" along the way. Sallers own foibles and misadventures provide ample material: "I mess up all the time," she confesses. "Its how I know things."
Writers, Saller acknowledges, are only half the challenge, as copy editors can also make trouble for themselves. (Does any other book have an index entry that says "terrorists. See copy editors"?) The book includes helpful sections on e-mail etiquette, work-flow management, prioritizing, and organizing computer files. One chapter even addresses the special concerns of freelance editors.
Sallers emphasis on negotiation and flexibility will surprise many copy editors who have absorbed, along with the dos and donts of their stylebooks, an attitude that their way is the right way. In encouraging copy editors to banish their ignorance and disorganization, insecurities and compulsions, the Chicago Q&A presents itself as a kind of alter ego to the comparatively staid Manual of Style. In The Subversive Copy Editor, Saller continues her mission with audacity and good humor.
About the Author
Carol Fisher Saller is a senior manuscript editor at the University of Chicago Press and the editor of TheChicago Manual of Style Onlines Q&A.
Table of Contents
Introduction: I Hear You
Part One: Working with the Writer, For the Reader
1 The Subversive Copy Editor
2 The Good Launch
3 Working for the Reader, through the Writer: Carefulness, Transparency, Flexibility
4 When Things Get Tough: The Difficult Author
5 Dear Writers: A Chapter of Your Own
Part Two: Working with Your Colleagues and Yourself
6 When Things Get Tough (the Sequel): The Dangerous Manuscript
7 Know Thy Word Processor
8 The Living Deadline
9 That Damned Village: Managing Work Relationships
10 The Freelancers Quandaries
11 The Zen of Copyediting
Appendix: You Still Want to Be a Copy Editor? Breaking In
What Our Readers Are Saying
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