Issue 16, 16 July 1999
In this issue...
(Note: This checklist is based on guidelines provided by a major commercial publisher for freelance electronic editors preparing material in Microsoft Word, to be imported into Quark Xpress for page layout. Those of us used to editing files to be published in Word will notice considerable differences in the techniques used here, which include stripping out most of the formatting that Word puts in.)
- Make sure you have a printout of the original manuscript before you start
- Save the files onto your hard disk in a folder.
- Make sure each file is saved as a separate, logically-named document;
for example, ch01uned.doc, ch02uned.doc, and so on.
- Keep each level of work (original files, first edit, second edit) in a
separate folder. Name edited files ch01ed1.doc, ch02ed1.doc, and so on for
the first edit, and ch01ed2.doc and so on for the second edit.
- Save regularly, at least every five minutes or so when working on a file.
At the beginning of the first document of a book:
- Select the whole document (Ctrl-A). Choose Normal from the style list.
While the whole document is still selected, go to the Format menu and choose
Style, then Modify. Define your Normal style as Times or Courier, 10 or
12 point, left aligned and clear all tabs. Now your whole document should
be in the Normal style, and any styles that the author has applied will
no longer be in effect. Bold, italic and bullets will be retained, but all
tabs and alignments, different fonts, styles and indents will be gone.
- Define styles for everything needed in the text. You may need to use style
names that correspond to the style names used in the page layout program.
If not, keep a style sheet showing the exact style names you have used,
so the layout person can use the same names.
- When you are defining new styles (or modifying existing ones), be sure to select the Add to Template checkbox in the Style dialog. All the styles you have defined will then be available for use with all of the files in the book.
(I was interested to note that this technique does not attempt to create a template, but rather makes all the changes to the Normal.dot template.)
The checklist then continues:
- Open a new, blank document, which will have available in it all the styles you have defined. Copy all the contents of the second file in the book into this blank document and save it under a new name. Repeat for each chapter in the book.
- Run the spelling checker on each file.
- Replace double spaces with single spaces.
- Use three hyphens to indicate an em-dash and two hyphens to indicate an
- Delete all hard page breaks.
- Turn on paragraph marks and ensure there are no spaces at the end of a
line, and no hard or soft returns within a paragraph.
- Take out all double hard returns that have been used to create space between
- Do not use automatic numbering, because it does not usually import correctly.
- Do use automatic footnotes.
- Change tables to text. (Usually it's easier for the layout person to turn
the text back into a table within the layout program, than to cope with
an imported table.)
- Check with the editorial supervisor to determine:
- What editing changes to mark; this will depend on what the author
wants to see and how heavy the editing is expected to be.
- How to insert author queries; for example, they could be inserted as comments or footnotes (not recommended if the manuscript also has footnotes), or inserted directly into the text in a different color and style, or preceded by AQ or some indication that the material is not final.
- What editing changes to mark; this will depend on what the author wants to see and how heavy the editing is expected to be.
Do you need to use the Internet for research? If you're like me, you know only the rudiments of how to structure a search query and not much about where to look for specialized information.
This site is full of useful tips, and is kept up to date by Tara Calishain, the author of The Official Netscape Guide to Internet Research (now a year old and a bit out of date -- how fast things age on the Internet!) and co-author of Poor Richard's Internet Marketing and Promotions.
If you want current research information, drop by: http://www.researchbuzz.com/.
When in doubt, ask. Even if you're not in doubt, it's often best to ask. No question is too stupid. You will definitely look worse if you don't ask and then get something glaringly wrong. Either your mistake will get published, or someone will catch it before publication and waste a lot of time correcting a problem that could have been prevented.
The copyeditors' discussion list is full of great examples of major mistakes by people who thought they knew what they were doing, but didn't. (If you'd like to join the copyeditors' list, see http://www.jeanweber.com/links/resource.htm for more information.)
Asking questions starts with making sure you and the client understand and agree on what you're supposed to be doing, and continues with such things as terminology, acronyms, and conventions in spelling and punctuation. It includes issues such as "will the target audience understand this term or concept, or do we need to explain it more fully?"
© Copyright 1999, Jean Hollis Weber. All rights reserved.
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