Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Conundrums in Editing the Work of Others

You are the editor.  You confront this text:

Sal Friday took a drag on her cigarette and, keeping an eye on the alley, she felt again for her .38. When she heard the switchblade open against her neck, she froze but, for the first time in her life, she knew what to do.

You might let it pass untouched or revise it this way:

 Sal Friday took a drag on her cigarette, and keeping an eye on the alley, she felt again for her .38. When she heard the switchblade open against her neck, she froze, but for the first time in her life, she knew what to do.

Or you might revise it this way:

Sal Friday took a drag on her cigarette, and, keeping an eye on the alley, she felt again for her .38. When she heard the switchblade open against her neck, she froze, but, for the first time in her life, she knew what to do.

So, which choice do you make? At the Chronicle of Education online, Carol Fisher Saller, a senior manuscript editor at the University Chicago Press, offers arguments favoring each choice. The lesson:  the rules aren’t all that hard and fast—even when it comes to punctuation.

Personally, I would choose the second revision.

(ljs)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2012/02/conundrums-in-editing-the-work-of-others.html

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