Monday, June 27, 2011

Progress report: The home stretch

With four days to go until my non-fiction manuscript is due to arrive at the publisher's offices, I am pleased to report that I'm down to the dotting Is and crossing Ts stage. A few niggly missing bits, but I am confident they'll come together. I am actually quite excited, to be honest. Usually I find those niggly bits at midnight, the night before the project is due - and pulling out a whole new case study at that point can be challenging, let me tell you...

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.


  1. I love the word "pedant".

    Remind me one day to tell you about the wonton pendants, if I haven't already?

    So glad it's all optomistic on the deadline front...


  2. I'm a fellow pedant! It annoys me to this day that a mag I write for puts a full stop on the standfirst.
    And on blown quotes. Arrghhh.

    Have you ever seen this? A letter to the subs from a journalist having an absolute rant.

  3. And I meant to say well done on getting the book done!

  4. Need, want, crave your book.

    Love your friend who did ten years in publishing and still is shit at editing! Xxxxx

  5. As one of your niggling bits, I look forward to talking to you on Wednesday!! Oh and I am also very excited for you!! xxx

  6. Love that you can see the finish line at the end of the home stretch.
    When writing and the appearance of the written words consumes your days and nights it can become "addictive" and hard to "leave"
    But now, the sense of accomplishment!
    Yay! woot and all of the words that express congratulations!
    Just in time for school hols.. Enjoy!

  7. Woo hoo!
    I think the 'almost finished / almost made it' feeling might actually be better than the 'done and dusted' feeling!
    Enjoy these last few days of bringing it all together.

  8. Can't wait, Al. And yes, I too was a sub!

  9. I wish I had been a sub, am not very precise or knowledgeable at all. Thank god for editors. Delighted to hear that the book baby is almost delivered. Great to have that done before the kids' holidays.

  10. Al, I have fond memories of the old days of the "Subs' Pit" at a certain fab fash mag. If it's any consolation, I too am still twitchy about widows and orphans, to this day. Good luck with the book!

  11. Congratulations, you are nearly there!
    I imagine being a sub editor would be such an interesting job and giving you a valuable skill set to have now too.
    I can't wait to read your book!

  12. Congratulations! It must feel so godo having all the hard work finished. Relish the moment when you turn it in!

    And now I'm quite paranoid that I'm making hideous grammatical and editing mistakes....

  13. Congratulations! Editing certainly seems to be the hard yards aspect of it (says someone who has written manuscripts but never been able to follow through on editing them!)

    Can't wait to get my paws on it.

  14. I despise editing. I was once a magazine editor, people assume this means I am good at that stuff but we also had sub-editors and proof readers who really do what eds tend to get the credit for.
    Regardless, I did become quite pedantic about these issues which is very frustrating, now with brain damage, I can't see obvious things that really annoy me - like the difference between their, there and they're. I can read something 100 times and not see what used to be blindingly obvious.
    It is karmic payback for being a grammar Nazi for so long, I'm sure.

  15. What a huge achievement. Congratulations!

  16. Ooh, well done. Soon your baby will be safely delivered. Then what happens next?

    I need an editor just to check my blog posts. LOL

  17. Oh how exciting! Well done.

    I was a magazine sub for almost 10 years. I now spend my days mentally correcting signs and menus.

  18. How exciting!!! Yay!! Can't wait!

    I am doing subbing now, I think I'm not a good sub. I bow down to the subs in the mag, they are so good at what they do! But I find myself looking for things subs look for now. Can't help it.

  19. 'Yay' for nearly finishing and a big 'yay' for when you are finished too. Very exciting.

  20. Congratulations on dotting thatlast "i" and crossing that last "t".
    I used to want to be a proof-reader.

  21. Congrats on getting that book done! I can only imagine the weight off your shoulders at this point! I can't wait to here when it is released!

  22. Congratulations - the finish line is finally within sight!

    My husband, being an Editor, is ruthless when it comes to punctuation, so understand your stance on this!

  23. Yay you! I look forward to a celebratory beverage next week x


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