Punctuation

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Re: Punctuation

Postby Proofrdr » 20 Oct 2012, 10:39

I don't know if it's just an American English usage. It's in the Chicago Manual of Style that is the most-used style-sheet here.

I approach it as just one method of treating dialog with an intervening action. As I said in my previous post, it's a matter of context, style, nuance. There are grammatical parameters, but when you come down to it, writing is all a matter of many choices. Don't you agree?
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Re: Punctuation

Postby Baker » 21 Oct 2012, 08:18

Absolutely, I agree. :-) But some choices are the author's to make, and some are the editor's. When it comes to punctuation and such matters, in my experience this can vary between publishers and editors. I totally understand P's quest to learn the "right" way to punctuate, but I also know where you're coming from, Proof. Because publishers have their own house style rules, I've found the easiest course is to be consistent in my MS with whateve method I choose to deal with certain points of grammar and punctuation, and then you can discuss it with the editor you are assigned. If there is a "right" way, then it makes sense for authors to consistently use that.

Not all editors take the approach you and Sacchi do. Trust me, authors can run across some martinets wedded to the style manual and much aggravation can ensue.
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Re: Punctuation

Postby Proofrdr » 21 Oct 2012, 09:44

Baker wrote:Not all editors take the approach you and Sacchi do. Trust me, authors can run across some martinets wedded to the style manual and much aggravation can ensue.


I really wasn't aware of how common that is. I just finished editing a book of short stories and, at the end, the author wrote that she learned a lot and I was a kind editor. I found that rather sad. Not that I'm kind, but that it should be an oddity.

In one respect, editing is teaching. How can you teach someone if you are berating them? If I can teach the correct way, my job is easier and, hopefully, the writing gets better.

It could be a power thing with the martinet editors. I guess I lack that inner dominatrix to summon on such occasions. ;)
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Re: Punctuation

Postby Baker » 22 Oct 2012, 08:13

It might be a power thing, but in my experience it's ignorance and possibly insecurity. The worst are those who have had one or two books published and believe that qualifies them to edit the work of others. When they don't know what they're doing, they insist they are right because the style manual/house style rules say so and adamantly refuse to accept there might be any other way of achieving an end. There is no room for discussion with such people. Certainly there is no teaching! And, yes, there is a power imabalance in the editor/author relationship, because generally your contract stipulates you agree to all reasonable changes the publisher stipulates--which in practice means what the editor tells you to do.

Tiny presses that can't afford real editors are prone to employing such people. Working with a knowledgeable, intelligent editor is a joy, no matter how much she wants you to delete or change: working with someone who is not can be a nightmare and pretty destructive. So, you can appreciate why authors want to get it "right": the fewer points of interaction/contention with some editors, the better.
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