Sunday, September 12, 2010

Editing Within Different Mediums?

Reading the bit about “One Paragraph, Three Ways” was very interesting, as I had never thought about the importance of preserving the author’s style when editing. However I was wondering if copyediting in different mediums call specifically for different degrees of editing "heaviness". For example, it would probably be safe to assume that maintaining authorial style would be very important in a novel, and so a light copyedit would be used to revise the piece. But what about magazines, newspapers, or web pages? Are there any standards that are restrictive of the medium that the editor must work in?

1 comment:

Pat said...

Interesting question, Ricky. Yes, there are different guidelines for different kinds of writing. For example, you wouldn't heavily copyedit a news reporter's piece--there isn't enough time, and the news reporter should be a pro--but you might do some fact checking.

The novel is a special creature: editors at publishing houses will frequently suggest changes to the authors to make the novels stronger or more entertaining. The line editor or copyeditor has the job of resolving inconsistencies; fixing errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and so forth; and querying the author--or the editor above her--about what remains.

I remember copyediting a pidgin story by Cedric Yamanaka. I hadn't spoken pidgin in decades, but reading the story--and his rendering of pidgin words--brought back memories. I ended up correcting his pidgin in several places. I suddenly felt useful in a different way :-)