Monday, June 27, 2011
In one of my former lives, I was a sub-editor*, one of a dying breed of pedants who honestly cared if there was a 'widow' at the end of a paragraph (one word on a line by itself), and a hyphenated word at the end of the first line of a story. It was my job to ensure that 'house style' was adhered to - spelling, language, punctuation, formatting of text - that facts were checked, and that stories fit the word count for which space had allowed. It's not the most glamorous job in the magazine and newspaper world, but it's like everything - you don't know how important it is, until it's gone. Unfortunately, it's an area of journalism being heavily affected by cost cuts right now. I think we'll all be poorer for it.
But I digress. My point in sharing this exciting part of my work history with you is just to say how glad I am that I spent a few years correcting sentence structure (and spelling), writing winning headlines, ensuring consistency of style throughout a magazine. It certainly makes wrangling tens of thousands of words into some semblance of a manuscript a hell of a lot easier. Even if it doesn't make replacing the repetitive paragraphs any easier.
But I'm nearly there now. The home stretch. Thanks for all that whip-cracking assistance you gave me.
[image: the perfect gift for a former sub-editor from samann1121/etsy]
*You can read more about my glamorous life as Chief Sub-Editor at Vogue Australia here.