The University Press of North Georgia is proud to be a teaching press and is committed to providing NGCSU college students with real-life instructions and internship experience in a variety of different arenas of publishing. One of the ways this is accomplished is through the “Intro to Publishing” class offered by the English Department and taught by Dr. Bonnie Robinson, UPNG Director.
This week, the students continue to learn about copyediting, sharing the following observations and learning outcomes, especially focusing on the importance and practicality of grammar skills.
An editor must be willing and able to adapt according to each individual project throughout their career. Their job doesn’t stop at correcting grammatical errors; they must revise confusing passages while maintaining the author’s original tone. Editors must make the hard decisions concerning what aspects of the plot works and what the author will need to change in order to offer the reader the best experience possible.
Our class has recently been given copyediting assignments. These assignments allow us to experience one aspect of an editor’s role in the publication process. Last week, we looked at editorial reports. This week, we build on the process by continuing our work with an author. After reading over the manuscript, receiving the reader’s report, and initially contacting the author, the editor must now work through the actual editing process of the manuscript.
Editing consists of two parts simultaneously working together. An editor must first know and properly perform editing marks. What good is having a knowledge of what the sentence should look and sound like if the editor can’t express the needed corrections to the author? This stage of editing causes editors to play by the book, so to speak. If a comma needs to be inserted or taken out, the editor must know the proper copyediting technique to inform the author what needs correcting.
The other part of editing involves a sense of grammatical knowledge and feel that sometimes cannot be taught. An editor must ensure a manuscript flows within a story. Sometimes this change involves a simple addition or subtraction of a comma; sometimes this change involves switching a sentence from active to passive voice, and vice versa; other times, this change involves moving entire paragraphs to different parts of the story for the sake of fluidity and comprehension. This only comes in time with more experience in the field and, while we can get it, in the classroom.