tmcg: (Default)
In the Pet Peeve Department:

If you use ellipsis points at the end of some dialogue to indicate faltering or trailing-off speech, you do not then have to announce in the narration that the utterance has "trailed off." It's evident from the punctuation.

If you use an em-dash at the end of some dialogue to indicate sharply cut-off speech, and the next line is another line of dialogue, you do not have to announce at any point that the second speaker has cut the first speaker off. The two lines of dialogue and their punctuation work aurally, just as in a playscript, and the reader doesn't need any help from the narrator to get what's happening.

For example... )

A lot of the time, "said" tags are unnecessary; we know who's speaking from context, from interpolated description ["Okay." His pained expression belied the assent. "Yes"], and from the content, syntax, and vocabulary of the dialogue itself. But "said" tags do serve a rhythmic purpose and help keep the reader oriented, and as long as they aren't awkward or excessive they're close to invisible, hardly registering on the reader's conscious mind, as integrated as punctuation. "He trailed off" and "he said, trailing off" and "She cut him off" and "she said, cutting him off" make the "said"s visible to no good purpose. When they appear frequently throughout a piece of fiction, they amount to a rhythmic crutch; to me they loom larger each time, and become annoying narrative tics. It's like the TV commercial where the guy's in the job interview talking about his qualifications and what the interviewer sees and hears is this droning guy in the background and the stain on his shirt SHOUTING IN CREEPY GIBBERISH!!!! He can't focus on what the guy's saying, because the stain distracts him so much.

tmcg: (neon quill)
A few minutes ago, I heard from another author on the phone that Robert Jordan had died.

I started copyediting his books with The Shadow Rising, in 1992. When you work on a long-running series for so many years, you develop a strangely personal relationship with the author even if you never meet face-to-face or speak over the phone, and I feel...bereaved, in a way that's hard to articulate. And frustrated, with a shake-your-fist-at-the-universe kind of anger. The Wheel of Time was the grand work of a lifetime, and he should have had the lifetime to complete it.

a few links )

tmcg: (leafy starry)
Missed Readercon in early July to help some friends get a truck and pack it for a big move, and was very sad to see them go, but they made it safely and successfully cross-country and much relief was had by all.

In later July, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival )

In still later July, birthdays and gig )

In early August, Echo Lake )

This past weekend, make room! make room! )

tmcg: (fairy)
I understand that Web is descriptive. But a hyphen in "off-line" and no hyphen in "online"? Makes sentences like "You can work either online or off-line" look silly.

tmcg: (Default)

In last night's episode of Commander-in-Chief, which we watched tonight on tape because last night we were at Studio 54 watching Gabriel Byrne in Eugene O'Neill's A Touch of the Poet, there was a scene in which the President's son is berated by a high-school administrator for plagiarizing an essay. On the blackboard behind her, Edgar Allan Poe's name was misspelled.

Just thought someone ought to mention it.

tmcg: (quill)
Something I'd have linked to if I'd been LJing when its phosphors crossed my path: Ozy and Millie from August 23rd. (Thanks, [ profile] stevendj.)

In one of those odd circular currents that sometimes catch you when you're surfing, a link on the Ozy and Millie homepage led me to [ profile] fandom_aid_auct, Fandom Aid Auction for Katrina Disaster Relief. Bidding is open now and closes on September 30th.

tmcg: (scream)
What is the problem with spelling "definitely"?

My mental spelling mechanism works semi-eidetically. I learned to spell by reading a lot. When I was copyediting romance novels, in the late nineteen-eighties, I became permanently incapable of spelling the word "feisty," because I saw it spelled "fiesty" so many times that it started to look right that way. I fear that the Internet may curse me to a future of double-checking the spelling "definitely" because "definately" has been burned into my optic nerve.

tmcg: (Default)
You scored as Idealist. Idealism centers around the belief that man is moving towards something greater. An odd mix of evolutionist and spiritualist, you see the divine within man, waiting to emerge over time. Many religious traditions express how the divine spirit lost its identity, thus creating our world of turmoil, but in time it will find itself and all things will again become one.




Cultural Creative














What is Your World View?
created with

Gakked from [ profile] cardigirl.

On the third hand, the How Sinful Are You? thingie told me "You will die with your hand down your underwear, watching Star Trek."

Cool. There are worse ways to go.

(I watched the end of "The Corbomite Maneuver" yesterday on DVD because I wanted to get to the credits [to prove once and for bleeding all that "Jefferies tube" is not spelled "Jeffries tube," because the guy it was named for was named JEFFERIES] [and this wasn't even fandom neep; it keeps coming up in copyedits], and 38-year-old Shatner was hot. )

tmcg: (scream)
In the midst of the gnarly work thingie, I came across my favorite typo of recent days (slightly emended to protect the source):

"You'll go quakers over this rubber duck."

and some piscine guilt )

tmcg: (quill)
I've been learning Japanese with the aid of some online sites and the Rosetta Stone Level I software. Rosetta Stone software is really cool. You look at pictures and learn to associate sounds (and, fairly quickly, concepts and sentences) with them, with no English aids at all. It makes you think in the foreign language right from the start. But it has its drawbacks. One of the drawbacks is that it's not always possible to deduce the similarities or differences between two pictures and their assigned phrases. I now know that there are different terms for one and more than one of the following: flowers, dogs, infants/children, eggs, eyes. So, okay--counting differs depending on what's counted. But what am I supposed to intuit here? Flora vs. fauna vs. human fauna vs. objects? But why are eggs different from eyes? Flowers are different from eggs, so it's not animate vs. inanimate, or stationary vs. motile. Without many more examples to work from, this is somewhat flummoxing. Worse, it's possible that the difference is between one egg and four eggs, one eye and two eyes, one dog and three dogs, one kid and five kids, etc. For all I know, the group terms are number-specific. Aiee!

At the magazine where I used to work, we had a set of communal bigass dictionaries in a nook on our shared hallway--"we" being the magazine's copyeditors. When we ran across usage questions we couldn't solve, we'd ask each other's advice. Someone was trying to decide whether it should be "myriad things," "a myriad things," or "a myriad of things." The dictionaries and usage manuals were unenlightening. People started coming out of their offices to join in the discussion. After a while, there were about eight of us there, poring over references and trying to work out the correct usage.

An acerbic editor walked by and asked what all the fuss was about.

We told him, "We're trying to decide if it should be 'myriad things,' 'a myriad things,' or 'a myriad of things.'"

He thought for a moment, replied, "Just say 'a shitload'!," and walked away.

Until further input, I am translating these flummoxing Japanese terms into "one" and "a shitload."

Probably not what the Rosetta Stone developers intended, but it works for me.

tmcg: (quill)
From "Health Insurance for Freelancers," by Stephanie Strom, in the Metro Section of yesterday's New York Times:

"The number of workers who are free agents of one type or another now make up almost a third of the work force, or 41.8 million people, according to the Economic Policy Institute."


Oct. 2nd, 2002 06:31 pm
tmcg: (mousies)
Found this list of from some years-ago copyediting job. Everything but the name and beginning/ending punctuation is as it appeared in the manuscript.

"I saw that this car looked shorter than the others, but then realized it was petitioned off."

"He watched Sam boil down chunks of meat and stir floor into the broth."

"She glanced at me, then looked away quickly, but not before I caught a glimpse of the red whelp across her cheek."

"I met his wife while you were attending the horses. She's got a whelp on her face."

"The door was battered and deeply scared."

I have bunches more of these buried in notes on the backs of style sheets. If I clean up my office, maybe some more of them will surface.

tmcg: (scream)
Owing to all my pro-bono work coming home to roost, despite months of preplanning, at the same time and with the same "we'd like to have this in print by Worldcon" (and at the same time as necessary paying work), I have transcended the stage where I really ought to do the dishes, passed through a stage of obstinate refusal to do any dishes in sick futile personal protest, and entered the highest realm of dish horror.

This morning I found an old but sort of clean mug in the backest back of the cabinet, which allowed me to have coffee. There are still some clean butter knives, so I was able to stir rather than slosh the cream and Splenda.

Once I run out of butter knives, this could get ugly.