Teach Yourself the Craft of Editing

★ : 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) (Hardcover) by Carol Fisher Saller, reviewed by C. J. Singh on amazon.com, copy posted June 2, 2009 (62 of 63 people found the review helpful.)  – See all my reviews.The Subversive Editor

While teaching courses in editing at UC Berkeley extension, I always assigned The Chicago Manual of Style and Richard Lanham’s Revising Prose (5th Edition) for the introductory course. For the advanced course, we studied Joseph Williams’s Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (ninth edition). As noted in my detailed reviews of the two latter books, most students found them excellent. I’m sure they’d be just as enthusiastic about The Subversive Editor by Carol Fisher Saller. In fact, I’d place this book near the top of the reading list for anyone interested in learning how to edit. Saller, a senior mansucript editor at the University of Chicago Press, also edits “The Chicago Manual of Style Online’s Q&A.” Written with charming wit, her brief book presents numerous tips. For several samples from the book, please read on.

Introducing her book, Saller writes: “Although people outside the Press address us `Dear style goddesses’ and assume we are experts on everything in the `Manual,’ most of the time I feel more like the pathetic little person behind the curtain in `The Wizard of Oz.’ It’s only because I’m surrounded and protected by knowledgeable and generous coworkers that I can assemble the authoritative front that appears in the Q&A” (p. xi).

From the Q&A: “Q/ Oh, English-language gurus, is it ever proper to put a question mark and an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence in formal writing?” (p. 31). “A/ In formal writing, we allow a question mark and an exclamation only in the event that the author was being physically assaulted while writing. Otherwise, no” (p. 43).

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Excellent Copyediting Tutorial on the Current Chicago Manual of Style

 : The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications (Paperback) by Amy Einsohn, reviewed by C. J. Singh on amazon.com, copy posted August 17, 2011 (35 of 37 people found the review helpful.) – See all my reviews.

While teaching UC Berkeley’s courses in “The Professional Sequence in Editing,” I regularly assigned selected exercises in this book’s earlier editions as preparation for more complex exercises in class. The students’ evaluations of the book were always favorable.

Copyeditor's Handbook: Einsohn

This edition presents a fast-track introduction to the many changes in the Chicago Manual of Style, sixteenth edition, 2010. I particularly appreciate the handbook’s references to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage. (See my review of this great usage dictionary on Amazon.) Ever since its publication in 1989, I have regularly enjoyed reading MWDEU’s scholarly entries. These 2300 entries, often witty, drawn mainly from literary sources are a refreshing contrast to Garner’s stridently prescriptive injunctions in the Chicago Manual, drawn mainly from journalistic sources.

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