Category Archives: editing and proofreading

Editing Done

I finished my editing for the upcoming issue of Sci Phi Journal (might be out by Christmas, I’ll post). I basically did a third of the editing (a little less if you count the flash fiction, but I threw in the editor’s From the Editor (that’s not me) and an author’s bio for good measure).

Here are Sci Phi’s past issues. There are only two so far, three is on its way. Buy it! I want to keep doing this. I’d be in dog heaven if I could get paid for it. Also the first two issues sport John C. Wright as contributor. That’s worth the price of admission right there.

It was good fun. I like seeing the polished, final result. I hope I didn’t miss anything… I did a last minute final check before it goes to the editor for finalization. I like solving a problem like “is the double space after sentences still used?” “workout is a word but is worksout? Better go research it”

Language changes all the time.

And I love spending two hours scouring over the Chicago Manual of Style for a nuance in punctuation.

Until the next issue, if I’m asked back, I going to be busy doing some writing of my own.

“© 2015 Sci Phi Publications
Cover Art by Cat Leonard
Ebook Design by Jason Rennie
Edited by Jason Rennie, Robert J. Wigard and Peter Sean Bradley”

Excerpt From: Jason Rennie. “Sci Phi Journal #3.” iBooks.

See? That’s me name on the 4th line, 3rd name.


Time to Upgrade the CMOS

No, I am not talking electronics. I’m talking about my Chicago Manual of Style 14th edition from 1993. In it they briefly talk about the increase of writing by computer (they actually had to say these programs are known as word processors) but the book is largely from the point of view of the old proofreading mark-up style. On paper (which I still feel is as it should be).

Anyone ever heard of kerning? Anyone under 30?

I used to know all (well, a lot) those copyediting scribbles and markups.

Anyway this article I’m editing uses two spaces between sentences. Now I do remember many years ago hitting the space key twice on my old Remington after every sentence. But, when reading this article it occurred to me: when did I stop doing that? Who told me to stop doing that?

I spent a half hour trying to find the rule in my CMOS. Nothing. I tried Google. Got a lot of hits on that. Double spacing after sentences is out. The newer edition, now 16th, has an entry called Spacing: between words and sentences 2.9, 2.11.

Perhaps it wasn’t mentioned in the older CMOS due to manual typesetting or something, or the difference in fonts. I don’t suppose anyone edits on paper anymore. Except for Harlan Ellison’s editor because Ellison refuses to use a computer. So I’ve read.

The problem is I like to include the CMOS citation for corrections, unless they are obvious mess-ups. And, it needn’t be said, not every rule applies, especially in fiction where a broken rule is often on purpose.


Editing is Fun and Educational!

Caveat: I am using one sentence of a story I recently edited (it only had three errors though). I do not give the name of the author nor the title of the story. I am mentioning only what I perceived as one glitch in an otherwise talented (and I think young) author. And I am only using it to spin off the resulting ideas that it led me to. Ideas that are largely still half-formed.

I was editing a short story, and though written competently there was something that was bugging me about it. The author felt the need to be exact spatially. Valleys were a kilometer wide, X was three meters to the left, a cliff face was sixty meters, someone was three meters away from someone else, etc. There were 16 instances of this sort of exact measurement.

At first I took it as an author’s quirk and not one I liked very much (because it felt like one of my own). Then it hit me why but it wasn’t just a subjective displeasure of mine. It stood out in the following scene. There is a man standing at the bank of a lake upon a large flat rock, there is a woman in the water below and in front of him, they are talking. And then the following sentence.

She laughed and pushed away from the rock, treading water about two metres from the edge.

That isn’t necessary and is six words in excess. Here is what I wrote as feedback:

…it conveys mistrust of the reader’s imagination. For instance, the following sentence (the 16th instance of giving specific measurements):  “She laughed and pushed away from the rock, treading water about two metres from the edge. could have been rendered, “She laughed and pushed away from the rock, treading water.” The reader will not think she pushed off from the rock with such force that she propelled herself clear across the lake and they are now unable to see or hear each other; the reader will do the necessary work automatically with his own imagination and so the measurement is superfluous. And it shaves 6 words off the sentence!

Continue reading


A Little Quiet

I’ll probably not be posting for the next week or so. Maybe. Judging by my output here the last couple months it seems hardly necessary to announce such a thing beforehand. But I know why in advance this time.

I’ll be doing a little proofreading gig for upstart science fiction magazine Sci Phi Journal. This gig is a lot cleaner material than the work I did for Mr. Wright’s book earlier this year. That needed thorough proof reading because they were a collection of essays from his blog that he dashes of in between his fiction writing. I just went through the first swing of one article for the magazine and was disappointed at not finding an error.

That was just the first swing though, you never proof read material once. Well, I don’t anyway.

This time the open source (LibreOffice) software is working fine – the files are individual and, thus, much smaller. I noticed one article (they are kept on Dropbox until publication) has been given a once over already. I have no idea how to do this. Not the proofreading or the tracked corrections, but the whole modern collaborative upload and download document thing (ME DINOSAUR! ME ROAR!) I can download the article but I cannot upload, or don’t know how.

I think when I am done I may try to submit a story myself…