• "He dared to search for answers…" "using only reason" or "by means of reason alone"? #copyedits #
  • Bosphorus? Bosporus? #copyedits #
  • My esteemed editor thinks that "coronated" is an "unlovely verb." Sticking with plain old vanilla "crowned." #copyedits #
  • "First permanent government-run navy" or "first standing government-run navy"? And do the Southern Song beat out King Alfred for the claim? #
  • (Because that's just the sort of thing that a retired naval officer will write me a REALLY snarky letter about if I get it wrong.) #
  • Let's stay consistent with the Medieval World volume. So, Yellow river, not Yellow River; Alexius Comnenus, not Alexios Komnenos… #
  • OK, I hate this style change: from Count of Anjou to count of Anjou, from Prince of Galilee to prince of Galilee…I might push back. #
  • My esteemed editor has just called one of my verb choices "down market." I'm not feeling the love here. #
  • STET is my new favorite word. #
  • No, we will not change County of Edessa to county of Edessa. That would be something else, like a rural location in Texas. #
  • Oddly, no one has yet objected to my use of the verb "clobbered." Which is definitely down-market, IMO. #
  • I don't like the word "whereas." It's stuffy. We will not be substituting it for my more pedestrian "while." STET. #
  • When you start taking punctuation edits as personal insults, it's time for a break. #
  • Bernard of Chartres was quite a schoolmaster: "In some cases he would rely on exhortation, in others, flogging." #
  • This copyeditor does not like Any Capital Letters At All. Longxing Peace Accord, not Longxing peace accord! High King, not high king! ARGH. #
  • What is the point of changing all my "befores" to "earliers"? Does that actually improve the book? I think not. **snorts** #
  • For those just joining me, I'm live-tweeting my experience of reviewing 900 pages of copyedits on the History of the Renaissance. Fun, huh? #
  • My esteemed editor also hates the noun "coronation." And any form thereof. Childhood trauma, maybe? #
  • Sorry, but "grey" and "gray" seem like two different colors to me. I meant GREY. #
  • OK, I AM aware that I should know how to spell Plantagenet. **hides face in shame** #
  • It kind of looks like a herd of wild commas has stampeded through my manuscript and then died in random places. #
  • Oh, forget it. I'm going to go clean stalls now. #
  • One pilgrimage to Mecca = hajj. Two pilgrimages to Mecca = hajjes. I never knew that before. #copyedits #
  • Darn it, leave my semi-colons alone! #copyedits #
  • Took a day away from work to go to the State Fair of Virginia. Unfortunately, not what it was. Maybe next year. #

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Showing 11 comments
  • Jess

    I have some vague idea of actually writing something publishable one of these days and I am enjoying your editing process immensely. I am so encouraged by “watching” you. You don’t make it look easy, but you do make it look do-able. Chucking it in and cleaning out the stalls for a while is so something I would do Thank you! Oh and the kids and I love SOTW. It has been a special treat amidst a trying year that involved our baby undergoing 2 open heart surgeries, another major surgery and not being well. Escaping into learning about the Peacock Throne etc. has been a much needed release for my family and one that has enriched our lives in many ways. Keep going!

  • Therry

    “My esteemed editor also hates the noun “coronation.” And any form thereof. Childhood trauma, maybe?”

    Coronation is way better! IMHO

    I love your tweets!

  • Jaime

    Breathe deeply, but not while cleaning out the stalls. 🙂

  • Di

    Is it the appropriate time to send chocolate truffles?

  • Ashley McG

    This may provide some insight into your editor’s kneejerk reaction to “coronated” and “coronation”:

    “Every copyeditor has at least a short list of words he or she simply detests. … The charges against these words range from ‘ugly and unnecessary—we already have a word for it’ to … ‘corruption of the language by illiterate bureaucrats.’

    “When pressed, however, these rationales wobble and collapse. Why is a particular combination of letters and sounds any uglier than some other combination of letters and sounds? Since some of the beauty and utility of English derive from its wealth of synonyms and near synonyms, what’s wrong with having a few more? …

    “For authors, the matter is a simple one: Authors may freely exert their prerogative to banish whatever words they dislike. For copyeditors, however, the decision to banish an unlikable word should be based on something other than the copyeditor’s own prejudices.” (Amy Einsohn, The Copyeditor’s Handbook, third edition, pp. 393–94)

    If it helps you feel any better, it sounds to me like the venerable Einsohn would rule in your favor!

  • Traci.

    Hi Susan,

    Okay, my rebellion as to the English language rears its head ( I refuse to call it ugly). Good grief! Keep the capital letters! 🙂
    I totally affirm your desire to write the way You want to when it comes to style, and capitals.
    By the way, I enjoy reading your blog.

  • Christina

    Aaaand, this is why I will probably never pursue professional writing. I don’t like people telling me what to do. 🙂 I think I disagree with all of the uncapitalizations! I believe IEW says differently than the copyeditor…ex-Tigris River, not Tigris river. No?

  • Keith Sims

    It is likely too imperious in the modern sense of coronation, but I find the verb ‘enthroned’ to be aesthetically appealling. I would probably find a means of placing enthroned and entombed in some lines of verse.
    BTW, I consider you one of the finest writers of our age. The effort in your effortless prose is obvious. You are always a joy to read. Thanks so much.

  • Keith Sims

    Bophorus would depend on the time period, I think. Pray tell, what was the down-market verb? Clobbered is just good pedestrian fun, something El Kabong would do to the villian. Who can object to such? Stick to your guns on the title capitalization conundrum (old school type).

  • Sahamamama

    Yellow River, Count of Anjou, Prince of Galilee, County of Edessa — yes, I would push back, too. That is aggravating.

    Is “push back” a down-market verb? Perhaps I would clobber back, whereas earlier I would have simply let it stand.

    Of course the plural form of hajj is hajjes. It follows from “Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages.” The plural of pilgrimage.

    900 pages — you are made of sturdy stuff!

  • Melissa in Australia

    please go with coronation, it sounds so much more regal than crowned.

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