Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Last Step

I’ve received page proofs and the questions that go with them.  There are a lot of questions.  The kind I would’ve expected from a copy editor.  But these are from the proof reader.  I’m beginning to think that this part of the publishing experience has changed.

Obviously the copy editor no longer does the questioning of eyes blue on one page and those same eyes brown on another.  Or the timeline.  Or clothes that miraculously change from morning to afternoon on the same day.

This is now the bailiwick of the proof reader.  When did this change?  Or am I forgetting.  I have to have these in by 1/5/06.  I’ll try to tackle it tomorrow.

I’m very surprised that there are mistakes in the timeline.  When I write I try to keep careful track of that and write Sunday or Monday or whatever day it is at the top of the chapter.  I haven’t looked into it yet, but from my glance at the questions either I got it very mixed up or didn’t clarify.  If the proof reader got it mixed up then I didn’t make it clear, I guess.

I’m glad this is the last thing I’ll have to do on this novel so that I can have a free mind for what comes next.

Right now it feels as though nothing will come next.  Yet I know something will.


Fran said...

Continuity mistakes are often addressed at the copy-editing stage but sometimes at the editing stage too--I think it really depends on the particular house. ...On the other hand, maybe I should say "were often addressed" as I think less and less editing seems to be going on lately (or at least less and less competent editing judging by the mistakes I've seen in too many recently published books), so maybe some stages and the employees involved have been removed and/or altered; maybe most everything's done by people lumped into "proofreaders" at some houses.

I think publishers today may be trying to cut costs, and in general when businesses cost-cut, they often start dumping employees, hiring less employees, or adding more workload onto existing-employee backs, or some combination of all these things. In my opinion, this is a crappy (and nasty) way to run a business; cutting costs in other areas usually makes more sense to me, i.e., cutting out wasteful production methods and waste inside production methods, improving working efficiency, etc.

I worked at a large nonfiction publisher, and that house had editors, copy editors and proofreaders; each had different jobs. I did all three there (and elsewhere when I freelanced). But that place was somewhat "old fashioned" in operation.

It's nice to see you posting again! And I'm glad your situation with a new editor seems to have worked out fine. Keep writing,


Cap'n Bob Napier said...

"Less employees." Tsk-tsk, Fran.

Fran said...

Give me a break.... I think my use of "less" is consistent with my post's content (and would probably be the same in a similar post from someone else) because "employees" sounds as if it's being treated as a single whole entity instead of as a collection of individual humans, which IMO is exactly what too many employers do: nastily treat employees--humans with feelings--like some abstract "thing." And I meant employers hiring less employees as a whole when cutting costs.

Just because I've worked as an editor doesn't necessarily mean I like following "rules"; I don't because I'm not a traditional person at all. I have a conversational writing style. I sometimes prefer using less over fewer; fewer can sound so formal. I also no longer worry about being "perfect" grammar-wise. Lately, I'm allowing myself some sloppiness; it keeps me human. But was my using less in my post such a sloppy usage? Hmmmm....

From http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19970221

"In actual usage, fewer almost always adheres to the traditional rule; the "problem" is that less is often used with countable things. (It is worth mentioning here that the traditional rule has little basis in reality; less has been used with countables since the ninth century, and such use is easily found in the works of major writers throughout the history of English literature. Why the rule got adopted with such intensity is an interesting question, but for our purposes is beside the point.)"


"Of the remaining nine tokens (12% of the total), as many as four involve the noun people...Finally, of the seven known speakers of these nine utterances, six are undergrads and one is junior graduate. This small finding, along with that of older speakers using fewer suggests that, in this particular aspect of speech, US usage is changing."


"Less is a grammatically complex word with several part-of-speech functions, as the entry shows. Its use overlaps with fewer when it qualifies plural nouns, especially in conversation:?Strictly, fewer is more correct in this case. The reason less is used here instead of fewer is that the total amount predominates in the mind over the plurality implied by the strict grammar of the noun."


"Less - some prescriptivists argue that less should not be substituted for fewer. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary notes "The traditional view is that less applies to matters of degree, value, or amount and modifies collective nouns, mass nouns, or nouns denoting an abstract whole while fewer applies to matters of number and modifies plural nouns. Less has been used to modify plural nouns since the days of King Alfred and the usage, though roundly decried, appears to be increasing."


"less" vs "fewer"

"The rule usually encountered is: use "fewer" for things you count (individually), and "less" for things you measure: "fewer apples", "less water". Since "less" is also used as an adverb ("less successful"), "fewer" helps to distinguish "fewer successful professionals" (fewer professionals who are successful) from "less successful professionals" (professionals who are less successful). (No such distinction is possible with "more", which serves as the antonym of both "less" and "fewer".) "Less" has been used in the sense of "fewer" since the time of King Alfred the Great (ninth century), and is still common in that sense, especially informally in the U.S., but in Fowler's day it was so rare in British English that he didn't even mention it."

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Less bullshit=fewer words.