John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and other manifestations of human frailty. Comments welcome. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to jemcintyre@gmail.com, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. Back 2009-2012 at the original site, http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/mcintyre/blog/ and now at www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The mentor you wish you had

I drove up to Bel Air on Monday to have lunch with Andy Faith and give him a copy of The Old Editor Says, which is dedicated to him.

It was a sunny day, and I had the luck of a Haydn symphony on the radio for the trip up and the trip back. Andy was in good form, healthy and cheerful. He says that he has enjoyed retirement more than he expected to when he left The Sun in 2008, and the project that he has been working on, a vast family genealogical text, is going strong.

It was Andy who rescued me from the toils of Gannett nearly twenty-seven years ago, and it is from Andy that I learned most of what I know about being a manager as well as an editor. You would be lucky to have such a mentor.

You, too, have the opportunity to own The Old Editor Says. Just click on a link to order the print copy or the Kindle version:






(We all understand, I hope, that I have to flog the damn book myself, since no one else will do so.)

But wait, there's more:
My learned colleague Bill Walsh is about to bring out another book. If you enjoyed and profited from Lapsing Into a Comma and The Elephants of Style, you will surely want to own Yes I Could Care Less.

1 comment:

  1. Well, my copy of TOES has finally arrived and has been read three times (what I tell you three times is true).

    p. 10: For "smok'em" read "smoke 'em"; likewise for "got'em" read "got 'em".

    p. 16: As I understand it, goat-chokers and thumbsuckers are different things, though related. A goat-choker is stuffed full of irrelevant facts, whereas a thumbsucker is made up of dubiously informed opinions. Consumption of the former causes constipation; the latter, borborygmi.

    p. 22: "does not a have a tattoo" a has an article too many.

    p. 24: for "schelp" read "schlep", or better yet "shlep", as "sch" in Yiddish words is unnecessary.

    p. 27: "and will be done" makes "will" look like a verb.

    p. 39: Not monotype, monowidth. This is a pet peeve of mine. Monotype is an obsolete typesetting machine and the name of a type foundry. Courier, Consolas, Lucida Sans Mono, and Liberation Mono are monowidth fonts.

    p. 51: "Boasts"? You'd be down on that like a ton of bricks in anyone else's article.

    p. 53: I puzzled over "if not is used" for a bit until I realized that "not" should have been italicized.

    p. 55: You may know all about Charlie Stough, but the rest of us don't. A word or two of identification wouldn't kill you.

    p. 56: Even worse are the meetings where the actual decisions have already been made elsewhere.

    p. 58: Some tools, however, are unfit for their alleged purposes (if any: see Gary Larson's "cow tools"). And sometimes the squeaky wheel actually does get a little grease.

    p. 60: Well, no. Some of us edit as a sideline to our real jobs.

    p. 64: It's my view that the best way to oppose a stupid rule put forth by a prescriptivist is to become a prescriptivist: "No. That is not the rule. The rule is ..." It works better than sweet reason with people who are stuck on rules in the first place: they just want a rule, and if you give them one with sufficient authority, they'll accept it.

    p. 67: "Don't be so humble. You're not that great." —Golda Meir.

    But all that said: well done!

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