Monday, May 10, 2010

Understanding Editorial Notes 101

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So much of this journey has been trial and error for me. So, it should be no surprise that I didn't understand all of my editing notes. I wanted to share three editorial notes that took me a minute of thinking to understand.


















Explanations:

#1: the little squiggle 'e' means 'delete'. If it is over a single word, delete that word. If it is over a set of parenthesis (as in this example), delete everything in the parenthesis.

#2:
okay, this is the one that really had me stumped. I guess it depends on the handwriting of whoever is making the editorial note, but I originally read this note as "recy". I tried to think of every word "recy" might possibly stand for. Then, it struck me and I realized it is actually "Necy" with the apostrophre making it "nec'y". This notation is asking the writer to consider if the passage is actually necessary. It is not an request to delete, only a suggestion to consider deleting or reworking. You would find it in the side margin of a passage.

#3:
this one should have been easy for me. I've seen it before, but had forgotten. A double (or sometimes triple) line under a letter is a reminder to capitalize that letter.


Now, for those of you who are in, or have been, to college recently, this is likely old hat. But, for someone like me who got her degree...erm...let's just say 'not so recently', it took some effort to understand.

Questions: did you know these three notations? are there any other unusual editorial notations you'd like to share?
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50 comments:

Mary Aalgaard said...

Oh, boy, I'd need a refresher course, too. Thanks for the quick take. Have fun editing!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

It helps if you've headed up writing workshops in middle-school language arts classes. ;)

Jen said...

Sometimes it's good to keep up with the editing notes, I hadn't been in school in several years so when I went into the revision process I found a bunch of editing information and printed off there it gave me a list of examples for what things stood for, I didn't know what "necy" was so that was very helpful!

Ann Best said...

I came over here from Susan Fields. Glad I did. I saw in your profile you like the book Because of Winn Dixie. I LOVE that book. I'd like to write one that's as good.

No, I don't know these editing marks - and I've been a full-time proofreader. Very interesting. I guess if you had to, you would learn what the editing notes mean.

Tess said...

Mary: thanks, it actually has been fun. challenging, but fun.

Caroline: ah, a confession! yes, that would help.

Jen: how could we know if we don't ever use them, right?

Ann: welcome! and yes, we learn because we have to ... trial by fire, I guess :)

Carolyn V. said...

Sometimes I just put *** meaning - please add more stuff. It really needs to go here. =)

Tess said...

Carolyn: really? three asterisks means to expand and expound a bit? good to know!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I didn't know number 2...

Shannon said...

Great refresher. Thanks!

Elle Strauss said...

Thanks for sharing. I know there have been times when it took a while for me to figure out exactly what it was my agent wanted in her edit requests. I would never have figured out nec'y.

Tess said...

Kristen: it was the toughest one, I think

Shannon: sure thing, thanks for coming by.

Elle: yes, you would have eventually figured it out. It took me a while and I had to ask a few people, but it finally came to me. partly because I could tell the text was maybe repetitive...

Sarah said...

Had no idea about nec'y. But it made sense once you explained it. It's such a potent tag- four letters asking you to reconsider an entire passage.

How lovely to be blogging about editorial notes! : )

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I know quite a few because I was a reporter and editors used them. Also, one of my crit partners printed out a list for us. Very helpful. But nec'y was new and glad I am to know it!
Here are a few more for folks:
STET means to disregard the proofmark that had been made
^ means to insert here
# means to add a space

Michelle said...

I didn't know any of these! But lately, I feel like I need a "track changes" button to make notes in anything. :)

Susan R. Mills said...

I wouldn't have had a clue. Thanks for sharing. See, we don't need school. We have Tess!

Katie S said...

I had no clue on the second one. Thanks for explaining.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I've done a lot of editing for work, but I wasn't familiar with deleting a whole phrase in parens. And the nec'y thing would have stumped me for sure!

Amy Saia said...

Ooh, I am a slob compared to you. Very interesting to see how you work and the things you know.

Kelly Bryson said...

I make a line of dots under the word or words that need to stay. I often cross things out, then think better of it, so I use that one all the time! (and I found it in a book on copyediting, so that's a real notation;)

Tess said...

Sarah: it is potent. that's an interesting (but true) observation. and, it is fun, too. no complaints, just gratitude over here.

Tricia: thanks for sharing! I did know the # and ^ but had no clue on the STET. cool stuff to know and share (but maybe just because us writers enjoy stuff like this)

Michelle: I'm surprised .. you're the grammar queen (and I say that in complete admiration and adoration :) )

Susan: hahahaha ... I learn so much from my blogging friends, it's fun to share what we can along this journey

Katie: sure, thanks for coming by

Sherrie: they stumped me, too!

Amy: oh, it's not me doing these neat edits, it's my editor. My editorial notes are scribbles and big "x"'s and diet coke stains (yes, they count, too)

Tess said...

Kelly: yes! I had heard of this, too .. but hadn't used it. very interesting, thanks for sharing that.

laurel said...

Another one I use a lot in critiquing and working as a magazine editor is the line that curves under and around two words or phrases with the word TRANS in the margin. It means "transpose" or flip around the word order.

To break up run-on sentences, I often insert an X inside a circle--the mark for insert period-- then mark to capitalize the intial word of the new sentence with the triple underscore, as you mention.

An angled slash through a letter means make lowercase.

ROM. over words that are bold or italics means to revert the text to Roman, that is, without any special formatting.

Oh, and CK in the margins means "please fact-check this." Typically an editor will make such a notation if the spelling looks off or she thinks you didn't quite get the data right.

Linda Kage said...

I knew one and three, but no way would I have ever figured out number 2. Thanks for the explanation.

Tess said...

Laurel: score! that is some great stuff. thanks so much.

Linda: oh, good. glad I wasn't the only one :)

Heidi Willis said...

I would never have figured out #2!

As an English teacher for many years, I did enough 1 and 3 that they've been burned into my brain.

Funny to see this though...my editor did everything on track changes in Word, so I didn't have any of the typical editing symbols.

Crystal said...

I knew what the first & third marks were since I work in reference publishing, but the 2nd mark left me clueless, until your explanation. Thanks so much for sharing this, Tess! :)

paulgreci said...

I knew the first and the third but I not the second one. I hope your edits go well!!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Tess, I didn't know about nec'y, so thanks! It's true what Heidi said, though. Most editors will probably be using Word tools for revision before long, which means these marks will go the way of the dinosaurs. A little sad. :(

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Number two was news to me...The others I taught to my students when I was teaching. Good post, Tess.

Lydia Kang said...

My second grader knows this stuff better than I do! Thanks for the lesson, and I hope more are coming.
I gave you an award over at my blog, BTW!

Kelly H-Y said...

OK ... I had no idea what the "nec'y" was ... I thought it was 'recy' at first too! Very enlightening post!

Theresa Milstein said...

I didn't know the second one. It's been awhile since I've been in college, so I've forgotten most of them. Thanks for reminding me!

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Number 2 would've thrown me.

lotusgirl said...

I knew the first and 3rd, but it would have taken me a while to figure out 2. Interesting.

covnitkepr1 said...

I’ve enjoyed looking over your blog. I came across it through another blog I follow, and I’m glad I did. I am now a follower of yours as well. Feel free to look over my blog and perhaps become one as well.

Sarah Skilton said...

"Rec'y" definitely had me stumped, too! I appreciate the info.

Tess said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's such a blessing to be able to share this journey with people who care about little squiggly marks and abbreviated edit notations. Who else gets excited about stuff like that???

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Tess--Thanks for stopping by and offering your support...It's a difficult time. I'm spending the day thanking everyone who came by and offered me sympathies. Thanks, dear friend...

Elaine AM Smith said...

I'm glad you shared the mechanics of the editing process: hieroglyphics was never my strongest subject at school ;)

PJ Hoover said...

I knew 1 and 3, but 2 would have had me asking.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

That was great! Tell us more, tell us more! :)

I only knew one of those.
*hangs head in shame*

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I knew about these, but then I was a textbook editor for more years than I'm willing to admit to. : )

By the way, The Chicago Manual of Style is a fabulous reference source. Lots of pages on how to mark a manuscript and understand copyediting hieroglyphics. It's kind of fun, I think.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

The second had me stumped! Thanks for the translations!

Susan Fields said...

I think I would have been able to pull the first and the third from the crevices of my memory somewhere, but I doubt I ever would have figured out the second. Thanks for sharing, and good luck with the revisions!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

interesting - now get back to work! :)

Jill Kemerer said...

Thanks for the tips. I thought it was recy too! :)

Jackee said...

Back when I was doing lots of technical writing, I learned two of these, but I had no idea about #2. Thanks for sharing!

Hope you are doing well, Tess. :o) Publication is fast approaching, isn't it? (Hooray!)

dellgirl said...

Hey Tess. This is a great post, thanks for sharing this info. You really explained it well, even I understood it.

Thanks also for stopping by the other day and for the very nice comments.

Hope you have a great Sunday!

Lisa and Laura said...

Great tips, Tess! Are line edits will be here shortly and we'll be referring back for sure.

Amy Tate said...

Great review! I had forgotten about the squiggl e sign. My problem is reading the editor's handwriting. Getting old stinks, doesn't it?