Tuesday, June 24, 2008
To stet or not to stet
One of the last entries on my list of "things I wish I'd majored in" is copyediting. It's a tough job, requiring intense attention to detail while not losing sight of the bigger picture.
I do a decent job of submitting a clean manuscript, I think, proofreading meticulously. But, in the end I count on the copyeditor to not fall asleep during the Check for Quotation Marks run-through.
For the most part, I OK every suggestion the copyeditor makes. Only rarely have I used my power of STET.
Here are three instances:
1. The protagonist of my first series is Italian-American from a working class family (read, her father was a laborer). She refers to her parents as "my mother" and "my father." One copyeditor early on in the series wanted to change all those references to "my mom" and "my dad." STET, I cried!
If Gloria (or I) had ever said "Mom" or "Dad," we would have been accused of "acting as if you're too good for Revere" and forced to make the Stations of the Cross for penance.
2. I made a reference in one of my periodic table mysteries to a famous (to physicists) 1935 paper by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen. In the margin, the copyeditor wrote: Was able to locate Einstein; cannot locate Podolsky or Rosen.
I couldn't help wondering how long it took her to locate Einstein.
3. On another occasion, I mentioned Gloria's favorite candy: See's chocolate-covered raisins. The copyeditor wrote in the margin: on their website, See's doesn't sell chocolate-covered raisins.
Now, I know my See's. I was ready to write a long post-it about how they may not sell them on the website, but they are featured in their stores. My husband, an engineer always ready with the most practical solution, said, "Why don't you just send him some?"
So I did – I sent one pound of See's chocolate-covered raisins to my copyeditor and one to my editor. I've been a favorite ever since.
What are your copyedit stories? Do you look forward to reading the red or blue marks? Do any of you readers wish you could make your own copyedit marks?