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I'm not going to say everything happens for a reason, or everything works out for the best. I am much too cold and logical and skeptical and even if I wasn't, saying things like that is just asking for the fates to smack you upside the head. Sometimes that which does not kill us leaves us a shredded heap on the pavement, sometimes the only reason something happens is that somebody did something dumb.  Such is the nature of a random cosmos.


It was at least conveniently timed that I be living in the house of an old hand at the writing game when my copyedited manuscript  arrived via Fed-Ex, because if I had recieved this beast on my own, I would have stood staring at it in profound bafflement for hours on end, and eventually keeled over in my tracks.

The copyedited manuscript is a sea of colored pencil marks and post-it notes on the margins.  These are proofreader marks. There is no key to them, you are expected to know that, for example, if you want a change not to be made, you will make three small dots under the mark, and write "STET" over the top, which means "Let it stand."  (It may not stand. However, at least this registers that you WANT it to stand.)

How anyone on earth is supposed to know this is a great bafflement to me. Of equal bafflement was the half-dozen pages of someone else's manuscript shoved in the middle of mine--do all those prospective writers who obsess over the meaning of every word from an editor's desk realize how disorganized these people are? (Seriously. If any of you do that, save yourselves. Abandon hopes of editormancy now. Stop trying to read rejection letters like the entrails of the black goat. These people are organized like the rest of us humans--badly, frantically, and doin' the best they can.)

So anyway, Deb walked me through it, and thank god. I've got about half my manuscript  gone over, which isn't bad, and gave me something productive to do today.

Tomorrow--doctor! Drugs! And hopefully soon sanity! Apartment! Life-as-I-know-it!

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I believe it was Holly Lisle who wrote an essay on her STET stamp and the use thereof. Congratulations on the CEM!

I never bothered with a rubber STET stamp, but given the sheer number of times I used the term on my manuscripts during publishing (no, not everything deserved it, far from it - but I had a lot of projects with a lot of pages), I might have benefited from getting a stamp made.

I imagine it would be cathartic if you really disagreed with the copyeditor. "No! I USE SERIAL COMMAS!" And then a stamp noise straight out of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

I am still bewildered by people who don't, actually.

Long Live the Serial Comma! (My newspaper-editor husband and I have a running battle, in the fun sense, over them).

Hmm. I'm quite sure I remember learning the basic proofreader's marks in high school English class. Certainly things like "join up", "split to two words", the "K" meaning "awkward construction", underline meaning Italicize, triple underscore to capitalize, single strike through of a cap to mean lower case it, and yes, "stet" for let it stand.

In spite of a fair amount of publication in the past, no one has ever called upon me to interpret or use those marks professionally, though. Curious.

Some fool decided that they should be taught in Keyboarding class in my school district. Then again, the people who run my school district are not the best and brightest, so we're probably an anomaly.

Makes as much sense there as in English. They are normally associated with proofreading and copy correction, rather than actual editing, so the original connection was with typesetting and galley proofs. "Keyboarding" (which is a stupid name in my opinion) is much closer to typesetting than English composition is.

yeah, i think they should send an editor's mark bible with each marked up manuscript.

The Chicago Manual of Style was my guide through the archaic hieroglyphics and behavior-patterns of copy editors.

I was all panicked about receiving my first copy-edited manuscript back--I downloaded a PDF of Common Proofreader Marks and everything--and then my copyeditor sent me a Word file with Track Changes turned on. It was a little anti-climactic, to say the least.

How was Book 1 of Black Dogs edited?

All done in Word, nuthin' printed.

Just remember, all the artist conventions like 'I put a little X in this area, I'll fill it in with black when I actually ink it' are just as cryptic to them as 'stet' is to us!

All these conventions get taught, and I think I've seen 'em listed here and there when I've glanced through some of my mom's books on the whole process of writing. I'm sure Google will be able to refresh your memory on them when you're by yourself, if you don't get a little key made.

As one of the people who generates those marks -- though, granted, not for a manuscript like yours -- you have my deepest apologies.

Go take a read of Teresa neilson-haydn's blog, Making Light. One of her essays there is about copyediting.

Remember that this is a good problem to have. *smiles*

Nothing so good as getting back home.

Imagine getting an ms like that the first time you publish.

I'm so glad you're back and (it sounds like) doing well! :)

I'm actually in Raleigh visiting family this week; if you end up having time free for coffee or something you might let me know (I think you have my e-mail from a week or so back) :)

Off-topic: I wrote some limericks to make you feel better.

Ursula draws flying frogs
And they flap and swoop ‘round the green bogs
So when you come down
To Ursula’s Town
Please do not step on their sprogs.

The people here don’t use street signs
Except for the WOMBATS HERE kind
Should you step in a hole,
Apologize, mole!
They’re tunnel-proud, as you will find.

The House of the Horribly Cute
And the opium joint on the butte
Are worth a quick look.
Check the tourist book!
(... and the local house of ill repute.)

And visitors truly can’t miss
Troll-viewing – but know it’s remiss
To fail to bring bread
Or a billy goat’s head
As a gift when you’ve gone to do this.

For the history-minded non-local
The local museum is focal!
Their current exhibit
Is on things that say “ribbit”
But beware – the guide is quite vocal.

If adventure is more of your thing
A crowbar is what you should bring.
Guided underground tours
Of the clockwork sewers
Are a popular circuit in spring.

At the Temple of the Possible Bear,
You’ll learn to cook cajun baked pear
As an odd form of worship
(And entrepreneurship)
For the strange ursine idol that’s there.

Confused? Well, traveler, stay calm,
For at metalandmagic.com
You’ll find all that goes down
In Ursula’s Town.
Come visit this summer! Salaam!

At first I was horrified at all the marks and post-its. But then I started getting worried when I'd get pages that *didn't* have any.

I sent one book to my editor and it was so bad, it came back covered in red ink and yellow post-its; blood and feathers, I called it the Canary.

(documentation, not fiction, and I so miss the editor from that job...)

I keep a copy of Webster's Instant Word Guide next to my computer.
It's a Spelling Dictionary, no definitions, but fantastic when you need to find words you kinda remember and can't think how to spell. It has common abbreviations, uses of punctuation, weights and measures and proofreaders marks in the back.
Smaller than a Readers Digest and about twice as thick, it's the most useful book in my entire house.
(And given that I have at least one bookcase in every room of my house, including the kitchen and bathroom, that's quite a few books.)

Totally off-topic, but I got my box of pretty soaps with your art on them today and I just wuff them. <3 (I gave my boyfriend the Cthulhu one cuz it's so awesome. 'specially the duckie!)

This entry sounds more like you than some of the previous few, which I take as a positive sign, if you want to hear it.

I can't wait to read your book!

The first I got my copyedited manuscript, I hyperventilated. My hubby had to calm me down, LOL

Hehe tell me about it... my usual editor just throws post-it notes all over it, splashes liberally with ink, and has no idea what the editing marks are for. When the boss edits, he uses all those little editing marks, might mark some of the pages he left edits on, and half the time I can skip doing some of them because he won't notice anyway. ...not that I do that intentionally. really.

And what the hell, because I am a link whore:

LIES by Brad Neely

Your first paragraph reminds me of the bit thirty seconds from the end.

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