Sunday, August 31, 2008

Proofreader's Marks

There are various manuals of style in use, but most fiction editors follow the Chicago Manual of Style. Journalists tend to stick to the AP Manual of Style, unless their publication has it's own as is the case with The New York Times.

I was introduced to my very first style manual as a teenager, and was always quite captivated by the proofreader's marks. Were you? In fact, I still look for replacement dictionaries that contain a style manual and proofreader's symbols. Wouldn't buy one without.

Proofreader's Marks. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000

How do you feel about proofreader's marks? Or do you prefer your editing to come in the comments section of MSWord? Or some other format?

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  1. I do some of my editing onscreen. However, on longer manuscripts I prefer to change the whole document to a different font and then print it out. For some reason that makes all my glaring inconsistancies glow like neon. I never learned all those proofreader marks, so the only one I use is the ¶. I use my own groovy shorthand on the rest.

  2. My editor uses track changes in RTF word doc format. It took me a while to learn how to navigate with track changes, but now I use with ease and find it the best (for me) format. I use it myself when editing for other writers.

  3. Most of the clients I have edited for do not recognize the proofreaders marks, so I seldom use them. I like them, but then I am familiar with them from my years of journalism.

    The editing that has been done on my books was done via the tracking system, and I like that. But like Marvin, it took me almost a whole book to adjust to it the first time. :-)

  4. I use Track Changes & Comments for on-computer editing. For on-paper editing, I use a red pen and use the most common proofreader marks, with comments written in the margins.

    If I'm editing my own work, I do edits on the computer, then print out and mark more edits there, then when I input the edits, I put a check mark by each one.

  5. Helen, don't you use a three-color system? Can you post about that?

  6. My editor and I use the Word doc format too, Marvin. It works quite well and allows me to not only STET the changes but explain why.

  7. So far, for the two books I had published, the editing was done with Tracking Changes. Once I figured out how it worked, it was pretty easy.

    When I edit my documents myself, I just take out what I don't want and change things around. I don't use the Track Changes feature. If I really love something that doesn't fit any more in my work in progress, I transfer it to a new document for future use. So far, I haven't used any of the precious parts I thought were so necessary to preserve!
    Morgan Mandel

  8. I edit clients' manuscripts using the TRACK CHANGES and COMMENTS features of Word.

    This semester, I'm teaching media writing, so my best friend is the AP STYLE BOOK, and I am SO loving it!

    As an instructor of freshman composition, too, I LIVE by proofreader's mark, and we use the Harbrace Handbook marks, and we've also created some new ones for our students.

  9. Wow, you use the Harbrace Handbook still... it's SO good and I got mine when I was in Freshman Composition. About 100 years ago. LOL.


  10. LOL - I have about four versions of the Harbrace. The uni I work for actually stopped using the Harbrace this year; we're in the book selection stage now, so I have a whole mess of handbooks around me to examine...and I'm loving every minute of it. I'm a geek for handbooks, LOL


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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