How to Edit and Proofread Badly
At Chapterhouse we have been teaching students to copy-edit and proofread since the days when you saw your own GP, had your own bank manager and could make a simple phone call about your gas bill in under forty minutes. Feel the splenetic anger of the over-indulged if you will!
In that time some things have remained constant, however.
Both these breeds are still alive and well and wrecking a manuscript and harassing an author somewhere near you right now. Our Chapterhouse Editorial Skills courses have fought the good fight to eradicate them, cleanse our publishing world of their pernicious type, but we have failed. They live on, editing and proofreading in every corner of this sceptred isle and every other isle and landmass where we have taught.
The problem lies partly in the fact that people who love proofreading and copy-editing like to find fault: it’s in their nature. And sometimes they lack discretion and balance. They think that the book is theirs not the author’s. We’ve all been there, absorbed in a piece of editing or proofreading and forgetting that we are there to help an author, not to carp and find fault.
So captiousness be gone! (By the way, how easily cautiousness misprints for captiousness. Strange.)