Sunday, August 25, 2013

Confessions of a Copy-Editor @ SF Theater Pub Blog

One reason that postings here have been so intermittent is that I've been busy this summer copy-editing two anthologies of plays:
  • the Bay One Acts anthology, which will be available for sale in the lobby and is also a reward for our Kickstarter donors. A $25 donation gets you a ticket to the festival AND a copy of the anthology. Such a deal!
  • Heavenly Bodies, an anthology of plays from the 2011 Olympians Festival, including my own Pleiades. Needless to say, I'm really excited about this one, and will post more details (publication date, etc.) as I have them.
And, for my latest Theater Pub column, I decided to write about my adventures as a copy-editor of play anthologies. Read all about it!

I've spent so much time copy-editing lately that it affects the way I see the world. I've become ever more conscious of typos in the things I read for pleasure. Moreover, after I read that New York Times article about new research indicating that Shakespeare wrote some 325 lines of The Spanish Tragedy, my takeaway was "Just think, if copy-editors had existed in Jacobean England, we wouldn't have this proof." (The text of these lines is riddled with errors and misprints, but the researcher thinks that most of them came about because the printers had trouble reading Shakespeare's messy handwriting.) So perhaps I shouldn't beat myself up if an occasional typo slips into the books I edit? Writers' typos and errors are unique, personal signatures; and as a copy-editor, you develop a very intimate relationship with the text.

And two different friends recently sent me that Onion article about "4 Copy Editors Killed in Ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual Gang Violence." Thing is, though, I'm a freelancer. I have no stylebook. I make my own rules. I'm an outlaw gunslinger, and it's a lonely world.

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