The Wit and Wisdom of Carol Fisher Saller | Bleader

The Wit and Wisdom of Carol Fisher Saller


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About 60 word nerds gathered at the Gleacher Center last night to hear University of Chicago Press senior manuscript editor Carol Fisher Saller talk about her book The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice From Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships With Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself).

Saller also is the editor of the Chicago Manual of Style's insightful and entertaining Chicago Style Q&A. (She was profiled in the Reader, though she preferred to remain anonymous back then, in a 2007 story).

Sample question and answer:

Q. I am editing a collection of poems. My poet is inclined to use ellipses and em dashes extensively and incorrectly. I argued that this will detract from the manuscript and be distracting for readers. She argued that it's a style thing and I shouldn't change it. Who is right? Does the poet get complete license?

A. Poets do tend to resist editing—they're so sure that everything they do is inspired by genius. Fortunately, readers tend to buy into this. Your role is just to query and then let it go.

Why "subversive?" someone asked. Because "sometimes you have to break the rules," Saller replied. "And someone pointed out to me, 'The Sensible Copy Editor' probably wouldn't sell so well."

I had a brief chat with Saller during the book signing afterward. For me, it was like meeting a rock star.

Here are some online resources for copy editors and freelancers, provided by the U. of C.'s Graham School of General Studies:
I Want Media
Chicago Publishing Network
Editorial Freelancers Association
Midwest Book Review
Association of American University Presses

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