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Sorting Through the Red Pencil Marks

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Australian Max Barry, author of Syrup and Jennifer Government has a great blog where he ruminates on writerly matters as well as other topics such as his impending fatherhood.

On this site, he has an interesting bit about getting comments back from his editor and having to decipher all the editor-speak. Several weeks ago, Barry received the marked-up manuscript for his new novel Company in the mail. He writes “Copyediting also reminds you just how archaic the publishing process is. When I write a novel, I use a word processor, nice, proportional fonts, curly/smart quotes, etc, so it looks more or less like the final book. But for submission to my editor, I have to strip all this out, double-space it, change the font to that butt-ugly Courier, and, get this, convert the italics to underlines. This manuscript then gets scribbled on by various people (that‚Äôs me in the green pencil), and finally some poor schmuck types it all back in, thus creating a document that looks near-identical to the one I had to start with. You wondered why it takes 12 months for a book to get published, right? I used to, too.”

Check out Barry’s blog here.