Author and Editor at Work: Making a Better Work 9781487574383

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Author and Editor at Work

University of Toronto Press Toronto Buffalo London

Authorand Editor at Work Making a Better Book

Elsie Myers Stainton

© University of Toronto Press 1982 Toronto Buffalo London Printed in Canada Reprinted in 2018 ISBN 978-0-8020-6449-3 (paper)

Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data Stainton, Elsie Myers, 1911Author and editor at work Includes index. ISBN 978-0-8020-6449-3 (paper) 1. Manuscript preparation (Authorship). 2. Manuscripts - Editing - Handbooks, manuals, etc. 3. Publishers and publishing. I. Title. PNI60.S72 808'.02 C81-094993-8

To the memory of William Strunk, Jr, with love

Since I have tried to omit needless words, could this effort be considered a small flower for the grave at Pleasant Grove, up beyond the golf course on the hill? No - I am afraid he would not find the figure of speech definite, specific, and concrete enough.




1 For Authors The uses of books The who-what-why Titles Maxim: Revise (and throw away) Adequate magnitude


Punctuation and speech Rules of punctuation Grammatical agreement Sentences Metaphors Notes Cross references

Tables and charts Abbreviations Subheads The editor How to get along with publishers


For Editors Business Dogged judgement and sweet talk Prefaces and introductions Parts of speech


Qualifiers That and which New words Foreign scripts and transliteration Words of foreign origin

Lectures Feminist pressures British and American usage What-to-dos Conclusions for editors

viii Contents 3

On Author-Editor Relations Experience Venerable authors Good and bad writers Trust


Crazy and nasty authors Careless and careful editors and authors House style

Reading proof Indexes Rising costs Language


The Bookshelf: The Uses of Dictionaries


5 More Books: Some Pointers on Style





Almost everybody thinks anybody can be an editor. Most editors think few can be good editors. Many good editors sometimes think nobody fully appreciates them. Yet any editor knows that some people have no literary skills, that many of these people are writing books, and that some of them, quite a few in fact, appreciate what a good editor contributes. Herewith, from a swann of notions about writing and publishing, I've sorted out a gaggle of problems, a pack of problem-solvings, a flock of helpful hints, a pod of dos and don 'ts, and a pride of comforting thoughts. This brood of ideas follows the primordial order: the first part is addressed to authors, the second to editors. A third part adjures each to consider the other. In the publishing jungle, an author needs to know something about the concerns of a publisher as well as how to write a book. An editor needs to consider the author's feelings as well as how to improve his prose. Almost any author can use editorial help, and every author can profit from a publisher's experience in producing and selling books (and getting them reviewed). Knowing what causes problems for a publisher is important infonnation for an author. Understanding how such problems can be solved, or avoided, is useful to both authors and editors. And some knowledge too about the ploys an editor may try with an author is valuable to both, as possible editorial tactics on the one hand, and as possible forewarning on the other. So both constituencies might well be interested in all these recommendations on writing, editing, and publishing. As managing editor of a publishing house, I have seen intelligent writers reject sensible improvements proposed by editors, and I also have seen experienced editors about to suggest unnecessary changes to authors. Often, though, the lively mix of good suggestions and a willing author accomplishes small wonders. That happy combination is what I aim to foster here.

x Preface In order to give credit where credit is due, I cheerfully acknowledge the many improvements made by my friend Bernhard Kendler, editor extraordinary of Cornell University Press. Major portions of this book are derived, with additions, revisions, and reorganization, from seven articles published by the University of Toronto Press in Scholarly Publishing, January and June 1977, January, April, and October 1978, and April and October I 980. Eleanor Harman and Ian Montagnes, of Toronto, contributed outstanding, impeccable editing throughout. E.M.S.

Ellis Hollow Ithaca, New York

Author and Editor at Work

1 For Authors The surest way for an author to get along with publishers is to write a good book. The best procedure for getting a manuscript published is to write a good book. 'Good' here includes the meaning 'so good (useful, informative, interesting, charming, or unusual) that thousands of people will want to read it - or, preferably, buy it.' Most authors have been around universities for a while and have read a great deal, so they know something about books - good and bad books - and probably something about writing a book. An author may have checked the MHRA Style Book or a comparable handbook, studied sections of the Chicago Manual of Style, and had a look at Strunk and White's Elements of Style . He or she may have read books or taken courses on how to write. Now the pencils are sharpened and a new typewriter ribbon is in place. The author has a set of ideas, some research as backup, and the will to persevere. How can an editor help her or him to write and publish a book? THE USES OF BOOKS

Everyone knows how useful books are. They summarize facts and ideas already known; they impart newly discovered facts and developing ideas; they assist in teaching; they enable scholars to engage in dialogue; they tell how to do things; they inspire; they amuse. The whole span of history as well as the future is grist for the book mill. Some books have changed the course of history; books are part of that history. But books are also published to be sold. Publishers usually, not always, have this purpose in mind. A good publisher will ask first whether the work is any

4 Author and Editor at Work good. Some authors think about sales; others do not. Suit yourself, but publishers must weigh a book's saleability, for they are in business. Their business is to find publishable manuscripts, produce books, and sell them. A commercial publisher is in business to make money. A university press hopes to break even. So, while increasing the store of human knowledge and attending to certain human needs, a publisher has to consider costs: What royalties, if any, should be paid to the author (the prime mover)? What quality of article should be produced (cheap, passable, good, excellent)? How many of these can be sold at what price? The questions are interrelated. Is every author aware that these realities may impinge on his dreams? Does a scholar wish to address only the happy few who are privy to the secrets of Greek or Sanskrit? If so, publication may not be feasible , or an institutional subsidy may be needed to help with publishing costs. Does a researcher expect readers to know the latest lingo of macroanalytical and microanalytical anthropological theory, and does he object to supplying explanations for terms ('My readers will know')? If so, he should be prepared for rejection, since a publisher needs to sell the product to more than the knowledgeable few. Is the medievalist depending on readers to have in mind dates and pertinent facts of early Eastern European history? If so, he'd better be prepared to forgo royalties on the few copies that will be sold. Such attitudes contribute to circumscribing knowledge rather than disseminating it. THE WHO-WHAT-WHY

Sometime in the process of writing a book an author could firm up his purpose and sharpen his focus by writing, or thinking about, a paragraph of advertising copy to explain the who-what-why of his presentation: Who will buy and read the book? What is new or special about it? Why is it important; that is, why should it - one of many being written by aspiring authors - be published? These practical questions inevitably must be asked by a prospective publisher. Don't-know, can'tbe-sure, maybe-this-or-that answers could spell rejection. Some authors start writing a book by typing on a sheet of paper the title of their projected work. Others write the book first and name it later. Whichever sequence is preferred, for factual or scholarly books a 'working title,' indicating the direction of the presentation or argument, can serve as a limiting aperture to keep the discussion within the frame. Relevant asides and profitable digressions can still be included in the picture, knowingly. When the progression of ideas

For Authors 5 draws the thought in another direction from that intended, the writer will be aware . The use of a working title for literary, historical, sociological, and scientific studies ( where the research is completed, or well under way, before the writing) could hardly damage the goods; it is a reminder of the who-what-why. In philosophical analysis, poetry, and fiction, however, the writer-thinker-feeler may wish to follow freely where his pen leads him - or he may have plotted it all out well in advance. An author will not go wrong by aiming for a concise, straightforward, meaningful, unembellished title to describe the book, avoiding poetic, ambiguous, or abstruse terms. TITLES

The title of a book is its special tag, its distinguishing label. The choice of words is limited only by the number of words in the English language, yet how few of them show up in titles. An earlier generation was fond of Nature and Patterns ; Study has long been favoured; Vision, Structure, and Stance are in vogue now ; Shape is on the way in. Popular, fashionable words have the advantage of telegraphing meanings to those who are in the know; hence use of them is justified in titles, which must tell much in brief space. Esoteric terms are not useful. Although generality is needed, vagueness is not , and the metaphoric use of words in titles, except for poetry and fiction , is usually confusing. Sometimes the poetic title cherished by the author will serve as a subtitle ; the main title then carries the burden and could stand alone ; the subtitle adds another shade of meaning. The poetic main title that requires a subtitle is bad. No question about it, it's bad: Vision and Response: A Study in Optics Vision and Response : The Perception by Rhesus Monkeys of Colour-coded Commands Vision and Response: What the Honey Bee Can See and What He Does about It Vision and Response : Case Studies in the Motor Control of Disturbed Children Vision and Response : Advances in Agricultural Development Vision and Response : A Case Study in Urban Renewal Vision and Response in Ndembu Ritual Vision and Response : The Effects of Pinups on Healthy Adolescent Males Vision and Response : The Mormon Trek Westward

6 Author and Editor at Work Vision and Response: A Comparison of Old and New Testament Attitudes towards Revelation Vision and Response : The Genius of Salvador Dali Vision and Response : Milton's Apocalyptic Genius Vision and Response : Browning's Rhetorical Stance Vision and Response: Coleridge's Meditative Stance Vision and Response, Symbolism and Stance in the Poetry of Dylan Thomas Notice that the offending words are somewhat more acceptable when they do not stand alone, but for scholarly works and serious nonfiction the title, where every word counts, has no room for metaphors, poetic allusion, or all-purpose words of uncertain meaning. Some manuscripts start out with titles everyone likes. Some have titles the author himself questions. Some have titles the author loves and the publisher can't stand. In evaluating the appropriateness of a title the editor asks of course whether it describes the book. Another important question is whether the title will help sell the book. The two concerns may not coincide. Here the advice of the sales and advertising departments brings in the world of business, where producing a good book is not enough; the book must be advertised and its publishing costs retrieved from sales. (No roses are blushing unseen around publishing houses; somebody is trying to sell them.) The mention of increased sales may help persuade some authors, but others may not be influenced by the possibility of wider distribution. Caution: An author should not be pressed to hurry over changing a title that he has lived with for a long time. MAXIM : REVISE (AND THROW AWAY)

All worthy writers I've known or heard about revise and revise and revise - and throw away. The revising of some books has gone on into galley proof and page proof and beyond. A publisher has to take the view that small (they must be small) last-minute changes are not worth the money and delay they cost. His advice must take the form: revise, revise, revise at the manuscript stage. After copy is put into type , let it stand except for errors. Corrections in photocomposition are even more costly (time-consuming) than corrections in hot-metal composition. Although methods for making changes are improving, alterations in proof will hardly become less expensive, so the dictum 'Rewrite your book before it goes into proof' is sound.

For Authors 7 A writer, ashe concentrates on his own thoughts, and struggles to express them, needs to keep in mind others than himself - those he is talking to and hopes to reach. Here rewriting helps. The first few times through a writer may have to concentrate on self-expression. The next few times through he would do well to consider the other fellow, that wonderful person, his dear reader. He should consider not what the reader wishes or expects to hear; he should be concerned that the reader may understand what has been said. The best of writers, the greats, need only satisfy themselves: what is good for the greats is good. The rest of us may need to follow the rules of grammar and punctuation, to write and rewrite, and to consider the other fellow. Henry James said of American writers: 'It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.' Just so, it takes a great deal of writing to produce a little book. For formal prose that is expected, or intended, to appear in print, my formula for writing and rewriting involves a lot of typing. It is quite different from procedures one might use in, for example, writing letters or answering questions on a written exam. My original draft is usually an unkempt scribble. I make no attempt to keep it neat; I cross out, reinstate, write over, alter, insert, rearrange, and expand - impulsively. No one could decipher it, and someone might wonder how orderly thought could emerge from such a mess. The truth is that the germs of order are there, the chromosomes may be determined, but another move is required before I, or anyone, can discern even the outline of an integrated body. Not until I type up a perfect copy - using correction fluid and tape if need be am I ready to work on details and on the order and symmetry of the parts. At this stage physical imperfections in the copy are for me distractions, damaging to the thought. (Is this the editor complex?) The perfect copy enables me to see what I have. Then I start messing it up, and after I've done what seems to be all I can to improve the writing, I retype - once again aiming for a perfect typescript. At this advanced stage, more improvements often come to mind easily, and even though, while typing, small felicities had suggested themselves and were included, still further changes sometimes seem necessary. Again I retype. Sometimes I know when I'm finished, sometimes not. (This paragraph was typed four times, about average for me. Was that enough?) The material never seems worse for being revised. Although it can be recognized as having sprung from the original, inevitably the finished body has a sharper outline, a clearer shape, and a more pleasing proportion of parts. Alas, some authors I have known thrust a struggling premature infant upon the world, depriving their child of the poise and maturity it might have had at full term.

8 Author and Editor at Work For me, retyping is important in the mechanics and ritual of writing. For others the travail may take other fonns. But I know from my own experiences in editing that some authors could have greatly improved their writing by working with cleaner manuscripts. A text in print need not look shockingly different to its author if the final typescript is almost as clean as the pages of a book. After the publisher's ministrations, some manuscripts do look shockingly different . And sometimes a manuscript is sent to the printer with many pencilled changes; at that point the loss of time in retyping and the risk of introducing errors may outweigh the penalty charge for poor copy that the printer will add to the cost of composition. All the more reason then to start with immaculate copy; everyone benefits when the author provides a clean typescript. The editor is not distracted from his proper task by trying to decipher the author's handwriting. The editor also can suggest small changes without calling for substantial retyping (printers will tolerate about ten small alterations per page). The de signer has a clearer picture of the book's complexity. Revising a manuscript may involve deleting something, adding something, or altering what's already written; it also may involve rearranging parts. What's deleted, added, altered, or rearranged may be a word (or two), a sentence (or two), or whole paragraphs and sections. Many writers read and revise the output of the preceding work day as a start on new composition. An author rarely looks for something to delete unless he, or she, has been so advised by a publisher. Nevertheless, deleting is an important part of revising. One looks for repetition and redundancy. Although an idea may need to be explained in several ways, sometimes in the struggle to communicate a writer just repeats himself. Some of the repetition had better be left out. Deleting a superfluous, redundant word or two, the simplest kind of revision, usually brings rewards out of all proportion to the effort: 'No useful purpose is served' - delete useful. 'He raised his arm up' - delete up. When you can use four words instead of five, you have improved your efficiency - and your style - by 20 per cent. Often something, maybe not much, needs to be added. A step in the reasoning may have been omitted, making tough going for the reader. A conclusion may have been inadequately expressed, lacking the final punch. Further good ideas, that have come to mind since the writing, can be included to advantage. When one finds that she, or he, has written a passage that seems ambiguous, not quite clear, or definitely murky, then adding more in the same vein will not help. Rewriting is necessary - perhaps to replace a vague term with a more precise one, a dubious generality with substantial specifics, or an elaborate metaphor with

For Authors 9 a simple statement. If possible, one should always replace the vague , all-purpose word 'things' with more precise terminology - 'ideas,' or 'facts,' or 'characteristics,' or 'hopes and fears,' or 'baseball gloves and bats.' The all-purpose generality 'Everything went to pieces' might be replaced by ' His health failed, he lost his job, and his wife left him' or by 'The cost of leather went up, the demand for saddlebags went down, and the business went bankrupt.' And better give up 'The nightingale, the thrush, the lark of Italian opera was stilled' for simply 'The great Caruso died.' Occasionally a sentence, a paragraph, or a longer passage intrudes into a discussion where it doesn't belong. It may be related to the material at hand but serves as a tangent directing the thought away from, rather than towards, the point intended. These subtle intrusions are difficult to spot. Once found, they sometimes can be relocated, particularly if the idea expressed is sound and useful. Indeed, now and then, whole sections excised from one part fit neatly elsewhere. Discarding something you have written is difficult, almost painful. It goes against nature, like vomiting. Instead of making use of something, it's chucked away . Still, as the body may benefit from getting rid of food it cannot digest, so a manuscript may be better off minus some unsuitable , unassimilated passages. Here William Strunk's pronouncement 'Omit needless words' may be expanded to 'Omit unnecessary paragraphs' and extended as well to deleting tangential ideas and cumbrous scholarly apparatus. Keep in mind that a short book is more likely to be published than a long one; the shorter book involves less risk, less capital investment, for the publisher. Likewise a simple book, without tables, charts, and unusual type faces, is relatively cheaper to produce, can carry a lower price, thus may be easier to sell, hence will be more appealing to a publisher. When a manuscript is finally retyped, professionally or otherwise, it must be carefully checked for typographical errors, for they become the author's errors when the manuscript is passed on to a publisher. And when a manuscript is photocopied for submission to a publisher, every page must be examined to make sure that every character in every line is there and legible . Finally, the quality of typing paper is important. Heavy white bond (not the easy-to-erase type) is best. After all, it must go through the wars - evaluation, editing, design, composition, and proofreading - before it can be retired. ADEQUATE MAGNITUDE

Attaining the adequate, or appropriate, magnitude is the most delicate calculation

10 Author and Editor at Work in the writing of a book. It depends upon what the author has found out about his subject - but not upon the extent of his research, or upon the number of his facts, or upon the intensity of his own interest. Adequacy can be ten pages for a child's primer, one hundred pages for a freshman handbook, a thousand pages for a scholarly tome. The adequacy of a presentation involves 'for whom?' In Aristotle's definition of tragedy, attaining adequate magnitude involved the spectators. For most books the extent of the author's interest is matched by few of his potential readers. Could we say, therefore, that a scholar should not include all that he has found out, everything he knows, about his subject? Shouldn't he be selective, severely so, with his sights on who wants to read what he's writing, who would buy it in book form if the price were quite high? Maybe this kind of restraint would bring forth better books. How did it happen, then, that one university press, which boasts it stays in the black, published ten huge volumes - with illustrations, and requiring Latin and Italian as well as English - on the life and letters of a seventeenth-century Italian embryologist? The labour on these volumes encompassed thirty years; the author was afraid he would die before it was finished. Yet no reader or reviewer has called the work too long; all praise its scope, its completeness, and its re-creation of another age. The ten volumes will not be bought by thousands of scholars. But the paper is expected to last for four hundred years, and thousands of persons through the years will turn the pages to discover something they could not otherwise know. The foundations and institutions that helped support this project feel repaid. These ten volumes are worth the cost. One should note, though, that this author as a younger man first tried his hand and proved his mettle with a much shorter study of a single work by an early scientist. Perhaps, too, one should ask whether this kind of scholarship now belongs to another age, along with the beautiful letterpress imprint that gives tangible pleasure as the hand passes over the pages. Yes, adequate magnitude calls for delicate calculation. PUNCTUATION AND SPEECH

Early in my career as an editor I was assigned a manuscript consisting of four lectures by a noted anthropologist. His vocabulary was exact; his sentences were clear and forthright ; his information was interesting, his ideas exciting; but his punctuation was bad. As this distinguished scholar prepared his lectures, he used

For Authors 11 punctuation in his copy to indicate pauses for emphasis - the longer the pause, the heavier the punctuation. Colons and semicolons peppered his reading text. Semicolons were frequently used before but in uncomplicated compound sentences. There were sentences like 'The most important factors influencing village life were: climate; kinship; work; and religion.' Deleting colons and altering semicolons to commas distressed the author. Although he responded pleasantly that he understood what I was trying to do, he insisted that structure was built into his sentences; each item in the lists was extremely important; the colons and semicolons strengthened the emphasis. And the force of the buts was enhanced by the semicolons. Citing rules from prestigious grammars did not impress this resolute author. The colons and semicolons are in the book. And I've remembered them, unhappily, for twenty years. Other editors might be less troubled. Punctuation is an important asset in expressing meanings. Our written language does not enable us to show the inflections and pauses of spoken discourse. In speech we never say in so many words where periods, commas, colons, semicolons, question marks, and exclamation points might come. In reading aloud, we leave them out. By means of a pause, a breath, an intonation, we group words in the necessary combinations for communicating thoughts. Since written language does not indicate the changes in tone and pauses of speech, these must be shown by the words themselves, by their order and arrangement, and by punctuation. The gifted writer arranges words and punctuation so the rhythm, cadences, and pauses fall naturally and meaningfully. Sean O'Casey, with sparing use of punctuation, could spin out long sentences which, although read aloud rapidly, guide a reader unfailingly. Most punctuation marks separate groups of words into units of communication. The question mark and the exclamation point, however, add meaning, although not without help; the words and their order in the sentence must indicate a question or an exclamation. Indeed, ending a simple declarative sentence with an exclamation point to express the writer's amazement is frowned upon by stylists. RULES OF PUNCTUATION

A sentence is commonly defined as a word or group of words - beginning with a capital letter and usually ending with a period - that expresses a complete thought. 'Hello' is a sentence. 'Jesus wept' is a sentence. 'A rainbow in the eastern sky at sunset with a hint of the pot of gold at the top of the hill,' although it may

12 Author and Editor at Work suggest a scene, paint a picture, or convey a mood, does not qualify as a sentence, because a thought has not been expressed (there is no verb). If 'I saw' or 'It was' is understood in the context where these phrases stand, then a thought is conveyed. While expressing thought - communication - is the primary function of a sentence, helping to express thoughts is the primary function of punctuation. The 'rules' of punctuation are important guidelines. Sticking close to them enables a writer to cue his reader in quickly to the significance of his words and the order in which he has used them. The soundest argument for respecting rules is that more persons are likely to understand the usage, hence will read the message with the least effort: let the reader's attention focus on the thought, rather than on the means of expressing the thought . Eccentric punctuation is a hindrance to understanding. It can be used to startle, or to give the reader pause, if that's what's wanted. But punctuation is both a boon and a nuisance. Along with written words, it enables us to make our thoughts known farther than we can shout. Without it, the words alone might be puzzling to our communicants. Yet the rules of punctuation are a bother, and they are sometimes downgraded by calling them just conventions established by common usage throughout the years. As usage changes, writers are tempted to alter it still further. The modification, or blurring, of rules of punctuation is ongoing. The trend is illustrated by the latest advice about the use of commas in the Chicago Manual of Style (I 2th edition, 1969): 'A dependent clause that precedes the main clause should usually be set off by a comma ... ' 'An adverbial phrase at the beginning of a sentence is frequently followed by a comma.' 'The comma is sometimes omitted after short introductory adverbial phrases.' Notice the softening effect of the words I have italicized. The thirteenth edition may possibly omit some of these 'rules.' How can one achieve a satisfactory compromise with the old rules? A writer may wish to use as few commas as possible. That's modern and sensible. The oldfashioned rule says that long introductory phrases should be set off by commas. How long is 'long'? My rule is: consider whether the reader will at once see where the introductory part ends and the bones of the sentence begin. If, as the reader finishes the last word of the introductory phrase, he cannot be sure that it is the last, put in a comma. In using fewer commas, we should not be sloppy, but just omit needless punctuation. Another old rule is that words out of order in a sentence should be set off by commas. What is meant by 'out of order'? Order in an English declarative sen-

For Authors 13 tence has been defined as subject, followed by modifiers of subject, followed by predicate, followed by modifiers ofpredicate . Here too, a short out-of-order phrase may be immediately clear to the reader without commas. Sometimes the phrase may be clear, but the commas help in other ways. For example, two paragraphs back, the openings 'Along with written words, it enables us . .. 'and 'Without it, the words alone ... ' would be clear minus the commas, but, since calling attention to the with and the without is desirable, I used commas. For the sake of nuance a little clutter is added. But the sentences are correctly punctuated either with or without commas (and the author, not the editor, should decide). GRAMMATICAL AGREEMENT

Some grammatical rules are changing. Others are not. One rule that doesn't change has to do with antecedents. Faulty reference is very easy for the author to miss, because he always knows what or whom he means. An editor, too, may be carried along by the sense, and overlook the ambiguity. For the sake of improved communication and understanding, it is pru• dent to ensure that the antecedents for this, it, they, them, their, she, he, which are unambiguous, not just there, but unmistakably connected to the referent. Watch that an it, starting out as a singular (a company or an organization, for example), doesn't become a plural, ambiguous they farther along, as the thought turns to the persons who constitute the organization. Check that one referent, an it or a them , used twice in a sentence does not refer to different antecedents. I prefer he and him in the same sentence to refer to the same person, though this may be asking a lot. Most writers and editors find they must check that a verb agrees in number with its subject when long subordinate phrases intervene between subject and verb. Who is foolproof against making a mistake like the following? 'This system, however, commonly preferred by sociologists, veterinarians, and other researchers, of bracketed note numbers in the text and numbered items in the bibliography, are especially convenient for referring to current research.' Another danger is changing tenses in midstream. Often a writer must decide whether he will tell a story in the present or the past tense. In quoting an author long dead, his writings may be regarded as living, existing in the present, even though the incidents of his life happened in the past. Walt Whitman is a tough case. Shall it be Whitman says, 'I celebrate myself,' or Whitman said, 'I celebrate myself'? The choice of tense often depends upon nearby words, especially the

14 Author and Editor at Work verbs: 'Whitman was just a clerk in the Attorney General's office, but he said, "I celebrate myself ... I am large - I contain multitudes." ' If excerpts are quoted from the poet's work as though from the living present, the present tense fits well. 'Whitman says: "Sing on, there in the swamp!/ 0 singer bashful and tender! I hear your notes - I hear your call." ' With the same quotation from 'When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd,' two tenses can be combined if care is taken: 'Whitman was at home in woods and swamps; from experiences there he says, "Sing on, there in the swamp!"' Although some authors and editors may prefer said here, to my ear it is not better. SENTENCES Since every piece of prose consists of sentences, variety in the structure of sentences enlivens writing. The form of a sentence also can be adapted to the intended meaning. A plain simple sentence - just a subject and a predicate - is serviceable, and, like a one-two punch, gets the point across straightaway: 'Jesus saves' summarizes a long story in two words. With three words the simple sentence can score a knockout: 'War is hell.' With a slightly more complex predicate, the simple sentence can be forceful and expressive: 'He's a grand, ungodly, god-like man.' Or add an object for the verb and the simple sentence is powerful: 'The soul refuses all limits.' A compound sentence, not necessarily elaborate but with parallel parts balanced, makes comparisons easier in both the telling and the manner of telling: 'Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end pre-exists in the means, the fruit in the seed.' More elaborate compounds, deftly handled, can be enlightening: ' Ahab's above the common; Ahab's been in colleges, as well as 'mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders than the waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier, stranger foes than whales.' Although we may not hope to write as well as Emerson and Melville, we can at least try to use their best as models. A periodic sentence has specific uses. The well-wrought, well-placed periodic sentence pleases everyone - author, editor, and reader. Emphasize 'well-wrought,' because a periodic sentence is built up, constructed, so that each of its elements, the subordinate clauses and modifying phrases, can be understood as eased into place, but the whole is capped and illumined by the closing words. The closing words are the important ones. Smartly designed periodic sentences give distinc-

For Authors 1S tion, elegance, grace, and sometimes a touch of feeling to ordinary prose. They are especially useful when a writer wishes to call attention to a significant summary or pronouncement: 'If we dream of a society of men to replace armed camps, we must prepare to meet its cost by seeking to deepen, by every aid of art and common experience, the sense of human equality which is dearer to every man, in his best and worst hours, than his own distinction and glory.' Feeling, always a difficult element to handle, can, when effectively used in this way, raise a passage above the common: 'The outcast boy and the humble African who find in a union of hearts the strength to defy the angry God of inequality are deathless symbols of the deep current, mightier than the Mississippi, which carries the Republic onward.' This ordering of elements is not a play on words, not a device to embellish prose; it is feeling strikingly expressed and thereby communicated. I am fond of these two periodic sentences from Are Men Equal? by my late husband, Henry Alonzo Myers. William Strunk, Jr, and E.B. White and others have something to say about writing periodic sentences. The presumption is that the art of fashioning them can be taught and learned. Authors might well try to learn that art. The average practitioner may not reach emotional heights, but can highlight a point effectively. Sometimes an editor, at a critical place in a manuscript, can reorder the parts of a sentence into a purposeful, suspenseful sequence, saving the best till last. Still, this kind of sentence had better not be overused. The suspense and heightened exposition need to be saved for important places. The most useful sentence of all is the straightforward informative statement: 'The box was seven feet long, three feet wide, and two feet high.' 'Verdi was born in the village of Roncole, Italy, on October IO, 1813.' 'Israel is bounded on the west by the Mediterranean Sea, on the north by Lebanon, on the east by Syria and Jordan, and on the south by Egypt and the Red Sea.' 'John Stuart Mill was born a Utilitarian and died a Utilitarian, and spent a lifetime defending Utilitarian principles.' Such sentences are the staples of writing. In them the aim is to be clear without question. The danger is overloading. The going gets rough for a reader when too many facts are crammed into one such sentence; then that sentence had better be divided into two or more sentences. An artful mix of short and long, simple and complex, straightforward and periodic sentences gives prose variety and vigour. A short sentence, among longer, discursive, complex ones, sometimes can bring a picture into focus and imprint it on the memory. A long sentence sometimes .can give the composite picture that is needed.

16 Author and Editor at Work

METAPHORS Metaphors and similes - so-called figures of speech - are as common and as useful in formal writing as they are in everyday speech. They come so naturally to mind that one could hardly avoid them even if one wanted to. Seldom, however, does one come across a well-worked-out, many-faceted metaphor. 'The field of psychology is an important area of study .' Here are two common, useful metaphors, both pertaining to two-dimensional space and applied to concepts that have no spatial dimension. This field is not one of my favourite metaphors, but trying to get rid of it from time to time has given me a decent respect for it. If we speak of digging into the field of psychology and turning up some helpful insights, we have extended the metaphor and have given it, figuratively , another dimension. General use in this fashion of these terms has added the metaphorical meanings to definitions of the terms. Usage has extended the meanings of countless words like alive, bloom, dribble, drift, horizon, tap , vein, wave. The language thus is a continuously fertile field for cultivating new metaphorical uses of old words. 'I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons' - this simple, pleasant simile fits well into a discourse on nature. It could have been expanded and reused, although Emerson does not do so, yet it is attune with the many other metaphors in 'Nature.' This essay could serve as a manual on metaphors: 'Good writing and brilliant discourse,' Emerson says, 'are perpetual allegories.' 'In the woods,' he says, 'I become a transparent eyeball,' and his discussion of eyesight and nature stretches the mind. The most satisfying kind of metaphor - like the best of jokes - builds up, develops, expands, and has ramifications. Sometimes likenesses among disparate things are not actually expressed, but terminology from one area of thought is applied to another as never before: 'I had better never see a book than to be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite instead of a system.' What an illuminating and instructive early formulation of 'Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string' ! The metaphors we admire in poetry may not belong in prose, even in formal, elegant prose. Where is a place for the 'still unravished bride of quietness,' the 'foster-child of silence and slow time,' save in the ode where it belongs? Yet one of the grandest metaphors in the English language is a piece of prose written by the poet Robert Bridges: 'If one English poet might be recalled to-day from the dead to continue the work which he left unfinished on earth .. . the crown of his country's desire would be set on the head of John Keats.'

For Authors 17 Misuse of metaphors is all too common. Comparisons can be inappropriate or forced or wildly imprecise. The mixed metaphor is the butt of many jokes, yet is not easy to avoid . Beware: A rocky road cannot become as smooth as silk. A person cannot be soured by constant nit-picking. An idea cannot be blasted by spiking it or soft-pedalled by sweeping it under the carpet. NOTES

After roughing out the subject, length, and who-what-why of a book in progress and reflecting upon points of style in writing, an author might well consider, even early on, some details of format : whether to use or dispense with notes, whether specific cross references will be needed, whether tables or charts or both could be helpful (and even if helpful, whether necessary), whether abbreviations are called for , whether subheads or other divisions within chapters could contribute . Forethought on these matters will repay a writer and save conflict with editors. The mechanics of a book, the scholarly trappings or lack of them, are signposts of what a book is. From them a reader can quickly judge whether or not the book is for him, whether or not he is interested in this presentation. In selecting a format, then, an author needs to consider the potential attitude of the persons he hopes will read the work as well as the possible requirements of the presentation. First, consider notes. Long, learned notes are regarded by many authors as the essential insignia of scholarship - and by many readers as 'Do not enter' signs. Long, scholarly notes are intrinsically valuable in many books and sometimes make good reading. In one work, on allegory , the notes were needed at the bottom of the page for ready reference, but were so long that the distraught printer in making up the page proof, try as he might, could not avoid several pages consisting wholly of 'footnotes.' One reviewer objected to this 'compulsive' noting of everything the author had discovered around the subject. Other reviewers found the notes almost as interesting overall as the text. The book has been successful in paperback as well as cloth and has become a definitive work on allegory. Yet do not assume that a scholarly book must have notes. The writer whose manuscript is about to be published has attained the status of author and does not need to document the source of every fact (as most Ph.D. candidates seem required, or constrained, to do). Unusual sources might well be mentioned. The source of every long quotation should be indicated somewhere somehow. But

18 Author and Editor at Work short phrases from Shakespeare's plays, the Bible, or other well-known works can be treated much like allusions. Let the reader smile knowingly, or unknowingly; it doesn't matter. When a phrase such as 'vanity of vanities' is used, rest assured that a footnote 'The Holy Bible (King James' version), Ecclesiastes, chapter xii, verse 8' - or any part of such a note - will spoil the effect. A learned book on the history of medieval Spain was written without a single footnote, yet every quotation is pleasantly documented in the text or following the excerpt. That book is a joy to read and a monument to scholarship. A pity it is that more scholars don't try this method. It requires discipline, judgement, and maybe a sense of humour. CROSS REFERENCES

Cross references can be useful, but often they are troublesome. The most elementary kind of cross reference is the casual as outlined above, or as explained earlier, or as I said before, or as already mentioned, or as discussed previously, or as noted several times in earlier chapters. Why does an author tell a reader he's about to read again something he has read before? The reason is simple enough, and common: the author needs to call upon a fact or idea that he has gone into earlier. This need for repeating does not necessarily mean that the book is badly put together (though it may be); in a well-organized book, ideas are often interwoven several ways, and the same statement or fact may usefully reappear in different contexts. Why not, then, just go ahead and repeat something without calling attention to the repetition? Perhaps the reader won't notice; if he does notice, it won't sweeten the dose any to warn him in advance. No, these self-conscious, half-apologetic phrases are neither helpful nor ingratiating to a reader. But they do make an author feel better. Since he must repeat, he doesn't want his reader to think he's so dumb that he doesn't know he has already said it. So he writes, 'as mentioned above.' He feels better. Such flaws (needless words) usually can be eliminated. A simple change that works in many cases is to replace the 'as ... ' clause with 'since,' 'because,' or 'as,' and attach it and what follows to the next sentence: 'As mentioned above, female Siamese cats mature early. Before they are old enough to be bred, their continuous raucous caterwauling can disrupt the household of an amateur breeder.' Instead try: 'Because female Siamese cats mature early, before they ... ' Often this manoeuvre solves the problem. If some such device won't work, better

For Authors 19 rephrase the idea slightly, so it's recognizable, but fresh. A writer hardly ever has to repeat baldly, though if necessary it should be done without apology, trusting that the reader will figure you know what you're up to. Slightly different forms of these phrases show up in manuscripts (and books): As explained in Chapter 3 may be a 'feel-better,' or it may indicate that the author wishes the reader to recall the whole discussion in Chapter 3, or even to refer back to Chapter 3. The better writer will devise less self-conscious ways of cross reference. Avoid tedious mannerisms, such as: 'The ghost can be explained as more than an apparition to Hamlet (see Chapter 3)'; or: 'As discussed in Chapter 3, the ghost can be explained as more than an apparition to Hamlet.' Instead, bring to mind the earlier discussion by using suggestive key words: 'The ghost of the dead king can be explained as more than an apparition to Hamlet; it can be presented on stage as the embodiment of Hamlet's thoughts and feelings - his intuitions, his suspicions, his -filial devotion.' Then proceed without cross reference: 'But how can the same ghost be explained in the same way for the others who see it?' Sometimes, alas, an author will feel the urge to develop specific cross references to page numbers: as discussed in Chapter 3, page 20. Obviously the reader is supposed to tum back to that page. What a nuisance! For reader and for publisher. Ignoring momentarily the publisher's distress over having to insert a page number at page-proof stage, consider whether the cross reference is helpful, whether it is worth the interruption. Often it is not. Consider also whether such page numbers are worth the additional cost ( and perhaps a higher price on the book). For each page number at least one line must be reset (in hot-metal composition) or a negative or print must be patched with the newly set number (in photocomposition). The cost is high. With each change also comes the risk of uncaught typos, for changes made on page proof usually are not seen by either author or publisher until books are in hand. The most convenient kind of specific cross reference is to a numbered table, figure, or section. Particularly in scientific studies and textbooks, and in philosophical treatises as well, reference to something already explained in detail is often justified, even necessary. If a great many cross references are needed, organize the book in advance so they can be handled easily. Many writers insert directions to the reader: see other parts of the book (chapters, sections, notes, page numbers), or see other published material (books, articles, reports), or see manuscripts in libraries or dissertations on file. After a number of such commands, a reader gets tired of being ordered around, and resents

20 Author and Editor at Work the suggestion that, if truly conscientious, he will chase down all these references. A more gracious way of giving additional information is to say what can be found where, or to cite the place - without peremptory instructions. Noblesse oblige! TABLES AND CHARTS

A scholarly publisher such as a university press or a house that publishes textbooks is well equipped, in its editorial, design, and production departments, to handle difficult material. Some tables that find their way into books, however, show in a complicated, and even bewildering, way what could be said in a simple sentence. Other tables are designed to impress - both innocent readers and knowledgeable colleagues. Tables and charts can be useful as concise summaries or as quick diagrammatic overviews, but a great many that I have helped to dignify added nothing, and could well have been omitted. Yet the editor who suggests deleting these badges of research may be treated as though he were asking an author to relinquish a birthright. The truly useful table provides categories and information for making a number of comparisons readily. If the categories (column headings and first-column entries) are well formulated and smartly positioned, the comparisons appear at a glance, with data showing ascending, descending, steady, or fluctuating conditions for anything one might analyze - products, population, income, profit, loss, growth, decline , fertility , disease, aptitude, output, activities, skill, years. Here are six hints for mapping out tables. The first column logically should have a heading - if only something like 'Variables' - yet this is often missing: supplying a heading will alert the author if he has put together a miscellaneous collection of ideas, people, places, times, 'things.' Sometimes a table can be corrected or improved by turning it 90 degrees clockwise to position the horizontal lines as vertical columns, and vice versa. If one heading has to be repeated a number of times, something may be awry . Repetition of the per cent sign should be unnecessary. Better eliminate also the line showing all totals are '100%,' although where such percentages actually total more, or less, than 100%, a note to account for the discrepancy may be needed. I would plead with researchers: Forgo two-line tables, along with the huge headings that usually show up on them. Let the author, then, weigh each table, each chart, each cross reference, each note and try to evaluate its usefulness measured against its cost.


Abbreviations of words normally are used only in notes or parenthetical citations. The use of initial letters as names and of other short forms is practicable, however, when a person or organization or publication is mentioned many times. Then, except for abbreviations in common use, an explanatory list is supplied for the reader to refer to if the need arises. Do not include in such a list an item used only once; since at the first mention the full name or title should be given, no purpose is served by having an abbreviation for it. If something is mentioned only two or three times here and there, better spell it out each time, rather than complicate the exposition with an abbreviation or shortened form. Such abbreviations as i.e., e.g., and etc. are not included in the list, because they are well known, part of the language. They have become too much a part of the language in some disciplines. Various philosophers cannot get along without i.e. and e.g., and spelling out that is and for example seems to destroy the pristine logical tone of some arguments. Nevertheless, authors should be prepared to have an editor spell them out in the text and even delete some. Italic is no longer used for these Latinisms. Etc. is a different boat. It sails along often carrying more than it should. The editor will convert it into and so forth, or and so on, or and the like. The author must be sure enough examples precede it so that what the cetera are like is clear, and, on the other hand, be sure the category is not so exhausted that the reader will be hard put to know what more items like these could be. Et cetera and its variations are superfluous with such as. Often they are superfluous anyway or just a lazy way out. SUBHEADS

Subheads are worth considering as an aid to understanding. Often just numerals between parts are helpful to show the organization of a piece. Space alone, used to separate parts, may raise objections from the designer, who will point out that the space, if it happens to fall at the bottom of a page, will be lost. Subheads are not part of the text grammatically. In other words, the thought should be complete without them. For example, under the subhead 'Cats' the first sentence should not start, 'These animals ... ' The first sentence should

22 Author and Editor at Work make it clear that cats are being discussed, as though there were no subhead and even if the subhead must be repeated exactly (as at the beginning of this section). When words are used as subheads, the worst fault (as in making entries for an index) is to use an adjective alone. Better devise subheads that could be the subject of a sentence: a noun or a noun with modifiers. Even an adverbial phrase or an admonition that could be the subject of a sentence is tolerable. But the heads should be comparable throughout - not here a sentence, there a prepositional phrase, elsewhere a noun or an adjective. (The same advice goes for chapter titles and for any kind oflist.) In some books, sentences might be substituted for the usual kind of subhead or chapter head. In a book on cats, for instance, the following headings might be found: Characteristics of the Cat Responses to Other Animals Habits Breeds

Food Ailments Breeding Abnormal Behaviour

These are dignified, all of a kind, and suggest that the book is well organized and informative. But if the author wishes to interest readers who are not cat fanciers, sentence headings might have the desired effect: Cats Are Cute Cats Don't Hate Dogs Cats Do Catch Mice Cats Come in All Colours and Coats

Cats Like to Eat Cats Get Sick Having Kittens Can Be Fun There Are Crazy Cats

When subheads are used in some chapters, then subheads should be used in all chapters. Possible exceptions are short introductions and conclusions. THE EDITOR

So the book is written; it may be first-rate or only fair. Now let's try to get it published. The first person an author encounters at a publishing house may be an editor, possibly an acquisitions (sponsoring, or procurement) editor, whose responsibility is to find or develop publishable manuscripts. The editor may have already

For Authors 23 inquired about the author's work and expressed interest in it, or the author may have sent the manuscript to the house without knowing anyone there. The acquisitions editor will examine the opus overall and , if it looks reasonably attractive or better, will ask one or more expert readers to go into it fully, for a fee: to suggest ways of improving it if need be, to pass judgement on its quality and contribution, to recommend for or against publication, and to give advice on the possible market for such a book. If the readers' reports are favourable and the publisher decides to publish, the final manuscript is passed along to a manuscript (or copy) editor, who reads it intensively : he , or she, may make general suggestions for reorganization and revision, and he ( or someone) will examine every word with a fine-tooth comb, checking spelling, grammar and syntax, names, places, and dates. The detailed operations in some houses are done by a copy editor, who suggests no major changes but checks everything in sight. In other houses one editor will see the manuscript through from submission to production . The duties are divided differently in different houses, but all these matters are attended to by editors. An editor can be regarded as an author's personal representative in the publishing house. If the author has thoughts about the design of the book and dust jacket, he should tell the editor, who can then make these preferences known to the design, production, and advertising departments. Suggestions are welcome, but an author should be prepared for counter-suggestions; he might even end up preferring the ideas of the professionals. Don't be troubled if the publishing house is thousands of miles away. Publishers are used to handling business by mail and telephone. A strong spirit of cooperation can be achieved at a distance. Face-to-face meetings are pleasant and fruitful, but not essential. And when the going is rough, an author may find it easier to deal privately with the publisher's suggestions and requests for changes. Authors of books in progress frequently are travelling around the world. After many months of mind-boggling, soul-searing effort, they have delivered the final version to the publisher and then, too often, disappear, as into darkest Africa: retreat to a mountaintop to meditate, portage a canoe through trackless wilds, drive across the United States, buy a Eurailpass, commence a Wanderjahr to the Orient. I have experienced all of these. The editor, the author's Stanley, longs for the sight of a sensible address, if only an American Express office somewhere. Perhaps queries about the contract, about all those italics and diacritical marks, or about the missing pages, would reach the traveller there. Perhaps Dr Livingstone could return to civilization for a moment to let the editor know whether

24 Author and Editor at Work permission has been granted for the extensive quotations. A publisher cannot presume ; he can only hope. This kind of distance is troublesome. HOW TO GET ALONG WITH PUBLISHERS

A book is the author's and it must be as she or he wants it. A primary rule : the customer is always right . Sometimes the customer' s feeling of rightness early on prevents the manuscript from being published - when the publisher's editors and expert readers feel that changes are necessary before it can go under the house imprint. Usually, though , at the negotiating stage the publisher's suggestions can be followed, at least in part. The author, after the manuscript has been reviewed by the publisher's expert readers, should either revise in line with the recommendations or have good reasons why revisions should not be made . It is not necessary to make every change suggested. But it is essential to reply to criticisms - without resentment. A gracious give-and-take can improve the product, so much so that often an author will want to acknowledge in his book the help of an expert reader or editor. After acceptance , if the author feels that the publisher's copy editor has massacred his prose, he should cool off and assay the battlefield before counterattacking. Exploding in anger may relieve wounded feelings, but it will heat tempers too at the editorial office, and make it harder for the editor to do his best. A reputable publisher tries always to hire responsible people ; there could be a reason for the carnage, maybe some good in it. Even though the author remains unreconciled, he should try to respond pleasantly : I am grateful for the exhaustive, assiduous pains taken with the manuscript ; I am inclined to agree with some of the editor's changes but cannot accept everything; I have revised some passages but must insist that other sections stand as written. Under the same circumstances the author could write another letter: the editor is wrong-headed , doesn't know what he's doing, doesn' t know grammar, and has no comprehension of this special discipline and its tenninology; kindly erase all changes except a few marked OK. So nobody gets anywhere , and henceforth that author will be known throughout the publishing house as 'difficult.' He will not get the full benefit of the talents and time of other staff members along the line; they will do their best to stay clear of him and will let him have his way rather than waste time and energy battling. And the book will be the worse for it. Be sure judgement, not resentment, prevails. One of the most upsetting trials for an author is to have his meaning changed by

For Authors 25 editing. The author rightly feels that this book is his, and no one should tamper with his thoughts. What presumptuousness in an editor! But the editor is just trying to read the author's thoughts, not change them. If an intelligent, well-meaning worker has missed the point, something may be wrong, misleading, or obscure. The worst mistake an author can make after finding that an editor has altered a meaning is to say flatly, 'Stet - erase your editing, since it changes the meaning.' He should think of the next reader, and the next. Here evidently is a place that needs special scrutiny - and changes to make the meaning clear. It seems obvious that if one reader misreads, others may misread, yet every experienced editor knows how some authors are more horrified over an editor's failure to grasp a meaning than they are humbled over having possibly written an ambiguous sentence. The bonds of interest unite author and publisher - and all members on the staff of the publishing house. An author should guard against thinking of editors and their ilk as 'they.' They are 'we' who want 'our' book to succeed - to be reviewed favourably and to sell well. They are not the enemy, the other side. They are friends, colleagues, collaborators, helpmates, professionals, nuisances, faultfinders, nit-pickers, who are conscientiously trying to bring the work in its most readable form to the largest possible readership.

2 For Editors

Editing is far from boring. Authors, variegated as they are, help to make it exciting, one way or another; sometimes their ideas too are exciting, one way or another. Each new author, each new combination of talent and idiosyncrasy, of skill and carelessness, of assurance and timidity, calls for an editor's special appreciation and diffidence. Although some problems are always going around, like colds, other peculiar problems appear only once in a lifetime, like mumps. All must be dealt with; any one may cause pain on both sides. And rules are changing. Usage becomes standard by use : no king or dictator gives the word; the scouts - Webster, Oxford, Random House, American Heritage - record what the citizens are doing. Let us hurry then to record what is happening now. The scene will change before long. That is part of its charm, the changing scene : new words, disciplines with new languages, computers talking to us, four-letter words in loftier places, old Latinisms in roman type, fewer capital letters, fewer apostrophes, less punctuation. Why, this business is alive! So what's new and what's old? Molasses will still catch more flies than vinegar; there is still no substitute for hard work; and a penny saved still might be a penny earned. BUSINESS

Editors as well as authors must keep in mind that books are produced to be sold: if no sales, then no publishing house, and no editors. The business side of the publishing process touches everything an editor does. Sometimes the editor is loath to be reminded of this; he or she could make a better book by spending more time, but the sales prospects do not justify additional editing costs. The publisher

For Editors 27 cannot afford to make this sow's ear into a silk purse. Let us hope that he manages to produce a pigskin purse, for a silk sow's ear would not be marketable. When the preparation of Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont's letters dragged on for years, Admiral John D. Hayes, who had finished his part of the project, quoted: 'The best is the enemy of the good.' Frequently editors must be satisfied with the good, because the book must be out by a certain time, or because there is no more time allowed in its editorial budget - but the better editor will be disappointed. DOGGED JUDGEMENT AND SWEET TALK

Editors must remember too that ' Little drops of water, little grains of sand,/ Make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land,' and so persevere with the thousands of small corrections and improvements that may turn a disjointed muddle into a damn good book. Major reorganization or rewriting often is not necessary, but dogged attention to innumerable details is. On the other hand, sometimes - and here good judgement is required - an editor should try, compassionately, to suggest that an author abandon the present text and write another, for example. Please [for God's sake) review (throw away] the present Foreword (now labelled Forward) and devise [or ask a friend to write) an opening to describe (if possible) the idea (if there is one) behind your book [so-called). Good judgement and discretion are constantly required. On the occasions when there has occurred a lapse· of discretion, or an exercise of just plain bad judgement, the editor can try to turn the lapse or the exercise to good account by graciously acknowledging that to err is human. (An editor encounters so much bad writing - and some bad temper - that he or she should be excused if occasionally she or he errs.) An adroit editor will intersperse compliments to the author among the queries and quibbles. A little praise, honestly put, will make that editor seem more human - and more credible. The would-be writer, the student from a 'creative writing' course, may not do well as an editor. An editor must help someone else to express thoughts and not by any means aim to express his own thoughts through editing. The would-bewriter-as-editor may have to use his imagination and technical skills sparingly in

28 Author and Editor at Work the service of another master or mistress. The editor too may have to keep trying while being severely frustrated : the author may insist that his reasoning should be perfectly clear to anyone, or that the reference to his award in high school is certainly relevant, or that the so-called change of tone and point of view is only in the mind of the editor. Unwelcome editorial help, though needed, may lead to a hot or a cool, rather than a warm, relationship . PREFACES AND INTRODUCTIONS

Some writers have difficulty getting ready to pitch. The first few paragraphs may be only a false windup with unintelligible signals to the catcher. Often the genuine beginning of the book is on page 2. Other authors endeavour to write a flossy opening, to put their research into perspective in a world view. Yet these authors may have no feel for We/tanschauungen . A crisp, sharp beginning may be at that place where they plunge into the terminology of their discipline. An editor should not assume that an author will not recognize the flaws in the opening if they are pointed out. The courteously ruthless technique deserves a try. Another kind of flabby introduction begins with some details that are important to the writer, but irrelevant and boring to the reader: 'The basic thesis of this book first occurred to me as I was walking along the shores of Lake Michigan one spring evening at sunset.' Then the editor has the task of suggesting gently that the sentence be deleted on the grounds that, although the occasion may have been dazzling to the writer, it does not illuminate the genesis of his ideas or help the reader to understand. Good judgement sometimes translates as common sense. Prefaces in which the author concentrates on telling what the book is not - and often neglects to say what it is - are especially disappointing. Usually the excuses offered in these negatives had better be left out: 'Space limitations prevent adequate coverage of all aspects of the cluster fly 's life cycle' - yet the manuscript is already 800 pages long. 'The publisher's limitations on space prevent inclusion of all the supporting research on tribal taboos' - yet the book will have 200 charts and tables. 'This book will not answer some of the questions often asked about Moravians' - how frustrating! 'This essay will not present textual analysis of the corpus of Wordsworth's work, nor will it delineate the influence of the poet's life upon his work, nor dwell upon the history of Wordsworth criticism, nor offer a new interpretation of Wordsworth's poetry.' What does it do? Even if the author goes on to state his purpose, the negatives add nothing. Many successful openings, I believe, are written last. The writer had better orient

For Editors 29 the reader to what he has accomplished rather than to what he aimed to do. A 'working' (not final) preface or introduction, as with a working title, can be a useful gauge to keep the train on the right track. The writer then should check the opening after finishing the book. If he has not done so or, having done so, has failed to spot his problems, the editor must go to work. A standard procedure in editing is to review the prefatory matter after completing the editing. The telltale sign of an unrevised preface is the future tense in the section describing the author's purpose : 'In Chapter 1, I will present ... In Chapter 2, I will define ... In the Conclusion, I will endeavour to show ... ' If 'you,' 'for you,' or 'to you,' can readily be understood as the object of the verbs, the sentences may be passable, but the point of view and tone should be reconsidered. The present tense and the present perfect usually serve the purpose better: 'At the outset a brief sketch outlines the problems ... Next the tenninology is defined ... In conclusion I have endeavoured to show ... ' Or: 'At the outset I outline the prob• lems ... Then I define the terms ... Finally I endeavour to show ... ' The first example illustrates another flaw sometimes found in introductory matter: the description of the book or the author's purpose merely repeats the wording of chapter titles in the contents. The author should avoid such repetition - remove it from the preface, since the contents must remain - and provide a summary in other words, preferably in more detail or from an overall view, omitting chapter numbers altogether. PARTS OF SPEECH

Many writers have favourite parts of speech. Some are fond of adjectives (interesting, important, necessary, essential, noteworthy, and the like), especially in the fonn: It It It It It

is is is is is

interesting to note that .. . important to state that . . . necessary to point out that .. . essential to keep in mind that . . . noteworthy that ...

If the discussion is so interesting, important, or essential, that fact should be self. evident. All these claims can be eliminated. One of my professors preached that a sentence should never begin with this use

30 Author and Editor at Work of It is (or There is). I believe his do~ma was headed aright, though carried too far. Better sentences often can be made other ways. I've used a few It is's and There is's in my time - still do - but my conscience always troubles me. Maybe I have done wrong; further effort might have shown a better course. Some writers love adverbs, especially as qualifiers. Prepositional phrases also have many devotees, some of whom pile them up, one after another, with abandon. Few writers seem to be unduly fascinated by nouns and verbs, although these parts of speech are the basic elements of communication. Conjunctions, interjections, and articles mostly take care of themselves. Pronouns, however, are a special case. Many writers are shy of them. Instead of /, they say the writer. And if the first person must be used, it comes out we, for one person (the author), instead of/. Truly,/ is OK. It is a good, sound word, with a specific, comprehensible meaning. The opposite fault is using / too often. QUALIFIERS

Some qualifiers are inherently bad; others acquire evil characteristics from their environment. Writers sometimes use qualifiers to legitimize inexact statements. Occasionally such qualifications are justified, even necessary, but too often they are a sign of mushy thinking. So query perhaps except in the sense 'Perhaps it will rain tomorrow.' Example : 'Paradise Lost is perhaps the greatest poem in the English language.' The authorauthority should make up his mind: 'Paradise Lost is the greatest poem in the English language' or ' ... one of the greatest poems ... ' The use of apparently can be dangerous, since it often encourages a writer to draw a conclusion from insufficient evidence: 'Apparently Browning enjoyed writing dramatic monologues, he wrote them so well.' The expressions/or the most part, in essence, basically, fundamentally also must be classed as dangerous qualifiers - an aid to mushy thinking. They seem to take care of possible objections. If putting slang within quotation marks is an attempt to touch pitch without becoming defiled , the use of murky qualifiers rates as an attempt to sound off without suffering the consequences. Obviously should be carefully watched: consider whether the statement is so obvious that it had better be deleted. Clearly also calls for special vigilance. Like the direction 'You can't miss it,' clearly often portends a cloudy passage, though sometimes clearly is in a class with obviously and introduces an element that can well be omitted.

For Editors 31

If the editor will mark a large x in the margin at every place where really, certainly, surely, assuredly, undoubtedly, obviously, patently, manifestly, and similar adverbs appear, the author may be ready for the query whether they add to the sense and for the suggestion that all of them be deleted - or at least some of them. (Often the editor must settle for less than perfection.) One author used obviously, clearly, and certainly so many times that in the end we both were embarrassed. At first he thanked me kindly for pointing out the repetition: 'Bravo!' 'Touche!' he wrote in the margin beside the x's of the early chapters. But when his discomfiture obviously turned to distress over the profusion of x's, he lashed out at me from the margin: 'Why do you hate these words so?' Clearly the x's had generated rather more than just a spirit of co-operation. While calling attention to flaws in a manuscript, an editor may indeed arouse emotions that interfere with progress. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, certainly. Adverbs even show up as pseudo substitutes for logic. There[ore, thus, accordingly, consequently, then are often used by scholarly writers, unwittingly we must assume, to provide a framework for a series of non sequiturs. These adverbs are so strongly imbued with an aura of logical reasoning that many an editor has read serenely through a passage and has felt that only by chance did he pause and notice how the there/ores and thuses were joining disparate elements. Even moreovers and howevers get thrown in helter-skelter. So, editors, beware the overburdened adverb . More simply stated: editors and authors, be wary of adverbs. THAT AND WHICH

Authors and editors quite frequently fall out over the use of that and which in relative clauses. Some persons tend to use that in ordinary speech and which when writing. This is the wrong approach , as Fowler says: 'A supposed, & misleading, distinction is that that is the colloquial & which the literary relative.' Many stylists, grammarians, and good writers have agreed that which serves better in the nonrestrictive (nondefining) sense, where the clause it introduces is usually set off by commas. Usage, however, has blurred this time-honoured distinction, and Random House's arbiter of style accurately describes the present changing scene: 'Teachers of English and many good writers and stylists have long maintained that the distinction between which and that in relative clauses is a useful one that should be kept. The traditional rule is that that is used to introduce restrictive relative clauses and which to introduce nonrestrictive relative clauses ... In prac-

32 Author and Editor at Work tice, however, this distinction is made more often in careful writing than in ordinary speech - where stress can often serve to express the restrictiveness or nonrestrictiveness of a clause - and many excellent writers regularly fail to treat that and which differently.' So writers are on their own, and whatever they do should not be faulted. How comforting, and rare! The editor who preserves the distinction is being conservative, and following the rule may make the author's sentences easier to read and the exposition clearer. Notice, too, that the Random House. authority uses 'excellent writers' to describe the mavericks. If an author thinks the distinction useless and passe and does not wish to observe it, then author and editor had better come to agreement in advance of the editing. Exception: When one or more thats have to be used in a sentence as other parts of speech (as adjective, adverb, or conjunction), the relative pronoun that may properly bow to which in the service of clarity. NEW WORDS

An editor can never be sure whether or not the author is one of those who initiate new fashions that later become the rule. If an author wishes to coin a word, better be charitable; maybe let him explain it and use it. This human bent towards novelty and experiment has been around a long time, and can rest on no less an authority than Horace : Men ever had, and ever will have, leave To coin new words well suited to the age. Words are like leaves, some wither ev'ry year, And ev'ry year a younger race succeeds. Someone had to invent airdrop and moonshot. When machines started talking to us, a new vocabulary became essential to describe what was being said and how. Early in the century, the word print-out was a less desirable form of printing-out, an adjective used to designate photographically sensitized paper. Now printout is a noun in computer technology meaning the printed output of a computer. And small conventions have been altered. When I was supervising the editing of a pioneering book on computers, we encountered the word programming throughout the manuscript. The authors con-

For Editors 33 sistently used two m's (the British preferred form). Webster (the second edition) gave one m as first choice. Our usual practice would have been to follow the dictionary and scratch out all those extra m's. A knowledgeable adviser, however, told us that all the people working with computers used two m's. So the thenunusual spelling was retained. The new dictionaries now designate programmed and programming as 'esp. British and Computer Technol.' In the twenties, the word photodecomposition was listed as the breakdown of a chemical compound by radiant energy; there was no such word as photocomposition . Now, in some dictionaries photodecomposition is replaced by photodissociation ; and photocomposition designates an ever more widely used method of setting type. A photocomposer is a machine, not a musician. But permissiveness about coining new words can be dangerous. While standing guard against dogmatism, an editor must be careful not to accept the password 'Anything goes.' Some writers will prefer Pope : In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold, Alike fantastic if too new or old : Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside . An editor can be helpful in weeding out odd spellings and misspellings. lngrateful, for example, is an archaic and obsolete form for ungrateful; thru, though a likely comer, is still informal for through. One editor wrote me about throwing out 'disambiguate.' I agree : perhaps we might guess what it means, but let's not help to create bastard fonns. I dislike dividing the world and all the people in it into two oversimplified categories by combining non with a noun to fonn a new word. When such tenns as farmers and non-farmers or agriculture and non-agriculture are used, the non class becomes almost a nonentity, an amorphous group categorized by not being something. The adjectival forms modifying something, such as agricultural and non-agricultural products, are clear enough. But such terms as Christian and nonChristian, white and non-white, even Communist and non-Communist, as nouns or adjectives, by setting one precise specific category against one rough, indeterminate, ill-defined category, can beg the question before the argument begins. In a logical syllogism, no inference can be made from two negative premises. Couldn't we say that this logic argues for caution in the use of non? At least, if one touch of nature makes the whole world kin, let's not divide the whole world recklessly with one little non.

34 Author and Editor at Work I'm glad Webster's third edition has thrown out nonstop as a noun (it was included, but not defined, in Webster's second). How could we manage without it, as adverb and adjective, halfway over the Atlantic? As a noun, what could it be: what a motorist does (doesn't do) when he ignores a stop sign; on a bus route a place where the bus does not stop? No, thank you. The English language seems better off without that one. If only more ofus could be blessed with the good judgement and, beyond that, the good taste of an E.B. White or a William Strunk, Jr. Professor Strunk's taste was independent of fashions in criticism or of a climate of opinion. Decades before Herman Melville was rated an American great, Strunk plucked a first edition of Moby Dick from the open shelves in the Cornell University Library, took it to the curator of rare books, and said: 'Lock this up; it will be valuable some day.' FOREIGN SCRIPTS AND TRANSLITERATION

Some years and many books after my unsuccessful bout with the colons and semicolons of the anthropologist, I encountered another lecturer who needed some persuading. The lecturer was a gifted speaker (and writer). No problem there. But when the manuscript came to the press, the many necessary Greek terms were not translated into English. The book was beamed only at those fortunate few who knew Greek. Of these I was not one, having many times wished that I had studied less Latin and a little Greek. When I entreated the distinguished professor from the Sorbonne to supply English with the Greek - for the likes of me - she was moved but not convinced. Most scholars of Greek love the nuances of the language and feel that Greek cannot be translated adequately. Fortunately, however, I had attended the lectures and could remind this intuitive teacher that, when confronted with the large audience of upturned faces, she paused at every Greek word, looked up from her notes, leaned towards her listeners, and gave the English equivalent. 'Yes,' she said, 'so I did.' Her solution was to use English in the text, cued by note numbers to Greek in footnotes on the page. We also used some transliteration of Greek in the text and notes, so the benighted ones could even learn how to pronounce a little Greek. When an editor is scheduled to work on a manuscript derived from lectures, attending one or more of the lectures is sure to be useful in the editing. Characters other than Roman (such as Greek, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, Chinese) cause headaches in the publishing business. Many compositors do not have fonts for these characters. As a result, the choice of

For Editors 35 a compositor and perhaps the design of a book may be governed by a few foreign words. If the author will transliterate foreign words, everyone - except perhaps the linguist - is better off. Then one can use a standard system of transliteration, state what it is, and stick with it wherever possible. The customary spelling of some well-known names may differ in the transliteration system chosen. Chekhov, usually found in reference books among the C's with a cross reference to the T's, is also spelled Tchekhov or Chekov, though the first of the three spellings is the most common. Tchaikovsky, usually found among the T's with no cross reference, is also spelled Tschaikovsky, Tschaikowsky, or Chaikovski, though the first of the four is most common. Many writers opt for inconsistency, preferring not to startle their readers with unfamiliar spellings of well-known names. All names - of persons, places, organizations, buildings, streets - should appear in roman type. Other transliterated words, since they are not English, are italicized. The author who chooses a system of transliteration without diacritical marks will bringjoy to both publisher and printer. Bars above letters and dots below add to production costs and may repel some readers. Aswan is not quite as recognizable with a bar over the second a. If diacritical marks are necessary, floating accents are available on some machines for photocomposition. Such accents are thus easier to come by now than with hot-metal composition. If diacritics are essential, perhaps everyone will admit that the book is not for the general reader. WORDS OF FOREIGN ORIGIN

When is a word an English word - that is, when is roman type to be used rather than italic? One is tempted to answer simply, 'When the word appears in a current dictionary as an English word.' The trouble is, recent dictionaries differ on some spellings, demonstrating the independence of experts and the vigour of the language. Webster's Third New International Dictionary, unabridged, is little help, because the choice there is left to the writer: 'Foreign words and phrases that are not fully naturalized are usually italicized in English context ... The choice of roman or italic text properly belongs to the user on the basis of subject matter and expected readers.' Webster then gives a list of examples to 'show words and phrases that are often italicized in English context' - advice that is buried in the extensive introductory matter of the dictionary. The Random House Dictionary italicizes words deemed to be still unassimilated. The American Heritage Dictionary labels such words as German, French, Italian, or whatever. Both The Oxford

36 Author and Editor at Work

English Dictionary and The Concise Oxford Dictionary indicate words that are 'not yet naturalized.' Webster's New World Dictionary also gives guidance on italicization. Of the ten words and phrases given by Webster's Third as often italicized, only four are regarded as foreign words in other recent dictionaries: de trop, do/ce far niente, jeu d 'esprit, and Zeitgeist (I don't know why it's lower case in Webster' s list). Three of the tenns are labelled as English in other dictionaries: cognoscente, noblesse oblige, and rapprochement: Of the remaining three , other dictionaries have differing opinions: ancien regime, Anschluss, and mafiana. Obviously considerable latitude in italicization is acceptable . Since overuse of italic type disfigures a page, roman is preferable where pennissible. When a writer needs to use a foreign term frequently , let him put it in italics and explain it at the first mention, and then use roman for it thereafter, instead of calling special attention to the word with italics every time it occurs. Some specialists, among them linguists and philosophers, continue to italicize words from their language or discipline that the general public already uses routinely . Such scholars might well forgo some italics. They should be mindful that restaurant, fac;:ade, fiancee (and fiance) , pizza, dachshund, patio, yoga, ego, ski were once foreign words here, and now blitzkrieg, tical , raga, goy (and goyim), torero, ethos, id, ad hoc, per se, op. cit., etc., and many others, sometimes surprisingly, are considered English words. The voracious English language has assimilated them in an ongoing process. When uncertain about using italics, writers and editors can consult one of the dictionaries that give advice on the status of words. Note that the supplements and concise editions are revised more frequently, hence are more nearly up to date , than the unabridged volumes.

LECTURES The examples of the anthropologist and the classicist attempting to transfonn spoken words into written sentences emphasize a peculiar difficulty in this kind of writing and editing. Lecturers nonnally do not read chapters of a book. When they do this and the audience senses that part of a book is being read aloud , interest lags. As the lecturer turns over page after page, his listeners begin to estimate how many pages are yet to come. A lecture needs immediacy, a spark, spontaneity; eye contact is a plus; gestures are important. Repetition of sorts is not necessarily bad. The chapters of a book can also sparkle with spontaneity, but the force of eye contact and gestures must be achieved by words, their order,

For Editors 37 the logic of their connections, and their sound to the mind's ear. Repetition is much more obvious since the words have not died on the air but remain on the printed page. A reader does not wish to be addressed in a book as though he were sitting in a lecture hall. A reader does not care to hear how happy some people were to be there. A reader could not care less that another facet of the topic was to be discussed on another evening. The proceedings of a society may need to be reported as they happened on the occasion. Publishing a series of lectures as a book, except in unusual circumstances, requires a different point of view, focusing on someone sitting with a book in his hand rather than on someone sitting in a hall listening to a speaker. FEMINIST PRESSURES

A recent social development requires the attention of writers and editors and may call for special revising. Although current trends in style are towards simplifying, one modern problem is causing complications. The women's movement for equal rights presents to anyone who uses the English language a problem that the English language is not capable of solving. Today a sentence like 'A writer should mind his p's and q's' can make enemies. Some say that at least it should be 'his or her p's and q's.' Others suggest 'her or his p's and q's.' Some extremists opt for 'her p's and q's.' His (or her) will infuriate feminists. His/her or her/his will infuriate stylists. Perhaps those who use languages where nouns have gender can deal with this problem more calmly. The French word for pen, plume, is feminine; for pencil, crayon , masculine. The Spanish word for mankind, humanidad, is (can it be?) feminine. Where these words are used, maybe no one need take sides over gender or figure out which sex is getting a bad deal in the language. Some stylists are quite comfortable with the he that stands for human being, but today they run the risk of being labelled male chauvinist pigs, or traitors to their sex. What should the careful writer (who honours men and women, who cherishes equality for all, and yet may whisper, 'Vive la difference'), what should - do? No answer will satisfy all parties. There is no good answer, but compromise is possible. Some publishers have issued guidelines. They urge writers to be aware of the problem (good advice for any problem), and to avoid stereotyped assumptions, such as expecting secretaries to be women, executives, men. Textbooks are being

38 Author and Editor at Work revised: in the newer ones, boys play with dolls, fathers mother babies, girls play with fire engines, and women are mechanics as well as heads of departments. Such awareness is refreshing and should cause no trouble with language. Further, the choice of masculine or feminine referents can sometimes be evaded by using the plural instead of the singular, as in 'Writers must mind their p's and q's.' The passive voice also helps in side-stepping a choice, but this route has to be used cautiously and may lead the author into muddy waters. The sticky problem persists if all forms of he for human being, woman or man, must become he or she, his or hers, him or her, himself or herself, or she or he, hers or his, her or him, herself or himself Then a crusade takes over style and ruins it. One realizes the folly of trying to express a conviction or a philosophy of life through the medium of grammar. Writers may be women or men, but if every writer must put her or his pen to paper to express her or his thoughts, goodbye to omitting needless words, goodbye to crisp sentences, goodbye to euphonic style. Feminism then has buried Fowler, Strunk and White, and other arbiters of good taste in writing prose. As a woman who held for many years what might have been considered a man's job, and who also has doubtless profited financially from the feminist movement, I can appreciate the social gains achieved. But I say, for the love of God ( as She watches over every sparrow), let's not ruin the English language while attaining the rights that all women are entitled to. I recommend to writers and editors that they be aware of the feminist quarrel with customary language, use both he and she at critical points (as in this book), and alter the sequence occasionally (also in this book) with, one hopes, discretion and daring. He, or she, and she, or he, work well in some sentences; the commas seem to lend equal status, suggesting 'as the case may be.' But, along with these small adjustments, let us stick most of the time with he as the pronoun for human being until the language develops an acceptable alternative. Here is an opportunity for women of this generation to enrich the English language as women have done before. BRITISH AND AMERICAN USAGE

The virtues of British and American usage are often debated, on both sides of the Atlantic. British punctuation baffles American printers; American punctuation is considered barbaric by British authors. The variant spellings confuse everyone. The solution customarily followed is to let usage be governed by the place of

For Editors 39 publication. In Britain, single quotes are used instead of double, punctuation is placed outside the quotes, and honour, traveller, and programme are spelled so. These forms may look odd to some American readers, but never mind ; such differences are tolerable among friends. Occasionally a publisher feels justified in using both systems in one volume, giving a true international flavour to a collection of essays written by scholars from Commonwealth countries and the United States. The editor then must give instructions for the printer to follow copy exactly. Even so, the printer's distress may show through in the form of a note to the editor: 'Please check entire MS for uniformity of style. The printer is not responsible for inconsistencies.' The toughest diplomatic case I ever had was a Cambridge man, who held firm over some unusual spellings, and, when I invoked the Oxford unabridged dictionary as authority, replied 'Oxford, bah!' The manuscript for the essays that became this book was an American child when it left home. Out in the world it picked up a foreign accent. How do I feel about this shift in allegiance? To help me deal rationally with what could have been an emotional problem, I totalled up the kinds and number of changes made by the Canadian editors: in this book twenty u's have been added in color, endeavor, favor, flavor, honor, humor, labor, savory, and vigor; eleven extra e's have been imposed uponjudgment; and seven l's have been doubled in labeled, penciled, soft-pedaled, traveler, and traveling. The British still prefer theirs on toward and c in defense, so add ten more changes. The double l's are easy for me to take; my eighth-grade teacher, who lived more than half his life in the nineteenth century, always used them when he wrote on the blackboard in a Spencerian hand. Possibly a writer might be favourably influenced to give extra thought to all his judgements when a full judge is included in them. The u in honour might be said to give it added elegance, in humour a comic quality, in favour enlarged scope, in flavour and savoury more bite, in endeavour, labour, and vigour more weight. But the u in colour is hard to accept, for everywhere in this country we are bombarded by color TV. Towards and defence aren't worth arguing over. Here are forty-eight changes, mandated by local custom, that don't amount to a hill of beans one way or another. No meanings are altered or obscured. No confusion is created. Some persons won't even notice. You don't need an editor to make such changes; a computer could be programmed to do it. Besides, American dictionaries list these spellings as acceptable, labelling them 'esp. Brit.' (Two double l's, one u, and one e have been added in these paragraphs.)

40 Author and Editor at Work Certain other changes on the manuscript did matter. When I made a point about repetition being more obvious in writing than in lectures, the Canadian editors suggested that I add: 'since the words have not died on the air but remain on the printed page.' Such a felicitous addition makes up for the u in colour and for the extra e in judgement. Since trends in writing are towards simplifying, could we hope that the British might eventually drop the extra letters? In exchange perhaps Americans could use single quotes instead of double, reverting to double quotes for the quotation within a quotation, as the British do . Many American philosophers already use single quotes around words used as terms. A logical case can be made also ( dare I say it?) for the British system of punctuation - for placing outside the closing quote mark all punctuation that is not part of the quotation. In this way we might make the best of both worlds. All this is from an editor who, acting in good faith from a town in upstate New York, has deleted thousands of u' s and e's and l's and s's, has altered single quotes to double innumerable times, and has moved countless periods and commas. Now the shoe is on the other foot, but when in Rome ... buy some Italian shoes. WHAT-TO-DOS

Some standard prescriptions can cure many ailing manuscripts. For example, when the contents lists a conclusion, an editor should immediately check the number of pages. If the author has written a five-page conclusion for a fivehundred-page book, question whether the conclusion should be expanded or the body of the manuscript shortened. Sometimes the conclusion might better be dropped, or, if it has merit, attached to the last chapter, or even added to the introduction. Or when initials are used for names of organizations and when obscure persons, many with just the last names given, are mentioned familiarly, an editor should not hesitate. Ask the author to spell out the name of the organization at first mention and to supply the first name or initials and an identifying phrase for the persons. This would help students, as well as those readers who may be interested in the subject but unfamiliar with its history; the book might then appeal to a wider audience. What author could resist such blandishment? The answer is, many: 'The persons interested in this book will know what or whom I am referring to.' Then, editors, you'll have to resort to Authority. Repeat for the author William Strunk's famous remark, 'Anything is news to an undergraduate,' and

ForEditors 41 refer the author to The Elements of Style, Section 19, as emended by E.B. White: 'Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity.' If the author hasn't heard of Strunk and White, maybe he shouldn't be writing a book. When an author scribbles in the margin: 'Nitpicking!' respond neatly: 'Who wants nits?' Or, if the author is a learned type, use a philosopher as justification for raising picky questions: I believe it was John Stuart Mill who valued the friend who found a small mistake in his manuscript more highly than he valued all those friends who declared that the manuscript was a masterpiece and he was a genius. So much for dos. The unusual circumstance often requires a don't. For example, if the freelance editor has moved to Singapore and the author (now reviewing the editing) is to land at Singapore en route from Jakarta to London, the editor should not try to arrange for the author to hand the manuscript to the freelance at Paya Lehar Airport, Singapore. This kind of planning should not be indulged in; any tendency towards it should be resisted; it reveals the worst kind of optimism. If the author has written about a foreign country in a way that will make him persona non grata there, and he is still there posing as a persona grata, the editor should not attempt to use a diplomatic pouch for getting proof to him in that country. Frankly, editors, your own persona may suffer. If the author requests advice about the propriety of using the dedication 'To My Wife' when the wedding is set for a month after the book is to be published, the editor must not be a romantic fool. He can explain that the dedication should reflect the anticipated status of the relationship at the time of publication; or, better still, suggest that the name be used instead of the relationship . But don't waste any time on this problem, for circumstances alter cases: the author who actually asked that question followed our advice only in part. True, he used a name, but it was 'William Howard Taft.' (That is all I know about this case.) CONCLUSIONS FOR EDITORS

Editors often speak disparagingly of authors - a tendency fostered in part, I believe, by the habit in publishing-house offices of referring to a manuscript by the last name of its author. A manuscript on Whitman by Felix Dryden becomes 'the Dryden,' one on Shaw by Cornelius Whitman 'the Whitman,' one on Dryden by Horace Shaw 'the Shaw.' An editor's view of authors, with the passing of years and of manuscripts, is affected more by the problem children who require so much time and energy and less by the child prodigies who breeze through the of-

42 Author and Editor at Work fices with near perfect performances. Even novice editors discover that rising young assistant professors can't count (footnote 9 is before 8, and note I 5 follows immediately after 13), that full professors don't know the alphabet (Massing is before Mason in the bibliography), that Ph.D.s now acting as chairmen of departments can't spell (millennium and penicillin are spelled with an assortment of l's, n's, and i's). Yet editors love authors. Authors are their bread and butter, their raison d 'etre, their stock in trade, the sine qua non of their profession. Authors are primary sources; editors are secondary, or tertiary. Editors are grateful to authors, and should be, even to the worst fusspot among them, although honouring fusspots may be hard. An editor without an author is like a mechanic without a car to work on, a doctor with no patients, a teacher without students, like electricity with nothing to light up. Editors should praise bad authors for providing their livelihood. Authors seldom realize that editors are glad to have an author improve on the editor's rewording. When a suggestion sparks an even better revision by the author, the best kind of co-operation is taking place, and everyone should rejoice. A good editor tries to get inside the author's skin and help present the author's ideas - no matter whether the editor agrees or disagrees. An idea clearly expressed can then make its way in the marketplace; the clearer the expression, the better can one judge its validity and appropriateness. From this point of view an editor can feel comfortable with the knowledge of all the half-baked ideas he may have helped along. But bear in mind all those better things: the tribal songs and stories previously unknown, the chemical bond re-examined , the new Psalms scroll, the new economics of agricultural development, the first history of medieval Spain, fresh information on animal science, a Dublin diary, an Indonesian dictionary, Hindi readings, Chinese texts, computer concordances, computers and music, and handbooks of frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, salamanders, turtles. And how about love, marriage, monasticism, allegory ; Habsburgs, Jacobins, Communards, Levellers; the Finger Lakes, Malpighi, time in Greek tragedy; the art of war, human fertility, witchcraft, the problems of slavery; fundamental liberties, international cartels, laws of innkeepers! Cheers, editors! Continue to be dogged, strict, picayune, patient, diplomatic, respectful, and exacting, scrupulous, critical, knowledgeable, tolerant, sympathetic, enthusiastic. Above all, keep trying. Your hard work contributes to the intellectual life of your community, your nation, the world.


On Author-Editor Relations My first full-time year-round job was in Newark, New Jersey, at the gigantic home office of the Prudential Insurance Company. I got the job, in 1934, only through the influence of an aunt who was highly regarded at the 'Pru' during her many years there. In the final moment of accepting me as a worker, the superintendent shook my hand and said: 'Now, Miss Phillips, dig in and don't let your education stand in the way of your work.' 'What would Professor Sabine say to that?' I thought. But the Cornell master's degree in philosophy was no handicap: I soon received a raise, from $15 to $16 a week. I learned to value this experience as a clerk because of the thrifty work habits and the sensible checking procedures I was introduced to in that well-run company. I also saw how monotonous, repetitious tasks can be cheerfully performed. My education was not halted during that year. Much later I was all the more prepared to appreciate an editor's job, where education does contribute to the work, and continues on the job. My first assignment was to edit a manuscript about an eminent historian who asked subtle questions and answered them gracefully. My second manuscript was on the 'war' between independent oil producers and large oil companies over laying pipelines in Pennsylvania. My third was almost as good as a trip to the Orient - on Chinese society in Thailand. I've always been grateful to those three authors for giving me such a rousing start, suggesting the infinite possibilities ahead of subjects for books and of relationships with authors. The relations between authors and editors take as many forms as there are editors and authors. The responses to my own editing have ranged from highest praise of my 'literary judgement and critical scrupulosity' to the suggestion that I be fired (addressed to the director of the press). Each author-editor relationship dif-

44 Author and Editor at Work fers from all others, like snowflakes. The editor and the author must be careful that the mix is not crystallized early into a confrontation, after which no progress can be made. EXPERIENCE

Authors bring to publishers varying experiences with editors - from none at all to much good or much bad. Even if the manuscript is the author's first, he may have heard stories about how editors browbeat authors, try to change the style that reflects the man, and even try to alter meanings. The good editor can't help what bad experience the author may have had or heard about, but can at once reassure the author that this editor is on the author's side : the publisher is pleased to have this manuscript; the editor is pleased to be editing this manuscript and sees no unusual problems ahead (very few problems, even big ones, are unusual in