This course is intended for the experienced editor who wants to strengthen basic skills and build on them to move toward working with more difficult and dense manuscripts, whether in fiction or nonfiction. Despite our limited time, we will look at both fiction and nonfiction works, keeping in mind that this is advanced copyediting, and should not be confused with developmental editing, or indeed any other type of editing.
This course deals with a basic approach to working with manuscripts that are in need of more than a simple copyedit. In some cases, the problems may not be many but perhaps more subtle than what a copyeditor with limited experience might be able to identify or have the experience to deal with in a smooth way. Many novice copyeditors often miss what we would expect a more experienced editor to recognize as something in need of a fix and know how to fix it.
The course, of four weeks in duration, addresses some of the more problematic issues for editors such as getting a feel for knowing the difference between editing for verbosity and recognizing good emphasis. We discuss working with authors and keeping a good relationship between editor and author. Review of parallelism, dangling modifiers, transitions, and other issues such as how to handle dialects in fiction will be discussed. We know that despite fiction having its own rules, so to speak, it is still important to know the rules before breaking them. In nonfiction, it is expected that an editor work at the level of formal Standard English and be able to deal with documentation.
About the Instructor
A freelance writer and editor for over twenty-five years, Barbara Magalnick has written and edited materials in fields as diverse as history, art history, medicine, law, literature, and language. Her publications include English by Television, English Reader, Brush Up Your English, Lawmaking in the United States, and Safe Conduct. She wrote Social Media: The New Revolution in Communication for EFA. Before launching her freelance career, she worked at several major publishing houses. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and teaches in UC Berkeley’s online certificate program for editors. Barbara is a member of The Authors Guild, a trustee of the Carnegie Fund for Authors, and a board member of EFA. She can be found at barbaramagalnick.com, as well as all the usual social media sites.
- Chicago Manual of Style. (16th ed.) 2010
- Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed). 2004 copyright or later
- Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage (DEU) Not required but highly recommended
- Sin and Syntax. Constance Hale. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2013.
- The Copyeditor’s Handbook. Amy Einsohn (3rd ed.) University of California Press, 2011
- Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. (3rd ed.) Patricia T. O’Conner. Riverhead Trade, 2009.