Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Laying Low This Week

I won't be blogging much this week or next. On Monday I received my manuscript back from Trails Books with a zillion corrections from the copyeditor. It isn't as bad as it looks at first blush. The majority of the corrections (in red, naturally) are just minor stylistic changes. For example, I called a road "Illinois 84" but the copyeditor wants it to be "State Highway 84" the first time and "Highway 84" each additional time. There shouldn't be any periods in "AM" and "PM." The web in "web site" should be capitalized; it's in Webster's, but in the online world most of us don't capitalize it. Ampersands (&) are almost always forbidden. And I never paid much attention before to the difference between hyphens, en dashes, em dashes, and mad dashes (in my simple world, there are hyphens and dashes, the latter being double-hyphens). Put them all together and you get an ugly sea of red. I did genuinely screw up a few things, particularly in places where I rushed to meet my deadline, but most of my "mistakes" were caused by not finding out exactly how they wanted words to appear. In retrospect, I should have coughed up $35 for The Chicago Manual of Style. Oh, well. I will get my revenge on the Biking Illinois web site where the only Manual of Style that matters is Dave's.

I have two weeks to review the manuscript and agree or argue about corrections. This is my last chance to add content, too. I also have 60 newly drawn maps to correct or approve. The maps look great compared to those in similar books. That is one area where Trails Books really stands head and shoulders above their competitors. The maps aren't perfect yet, though. The funniest blooper I've found so far has to be the way several blocks of Fulton got shifted into the Mississippi River. Of course, that probably wouldn't be as amusing to the folks who endured the flooding there in 1965.

UPDATE 11/06/2005 - It's worse than I thought. Not only should AM and PM be capitalized without periods, but they are supposed to be in small capital letters. Sheesh, I've never used small caps in my life (except as part of a diversified investment strategy, but I digress).


Chris said...

It's a.m. and p.m. -- that's the only way to do it! And there is a BIG difference between hyphens and the dash family ... c'mon, you mean you never noticed? ;-)

David Johnsen said...

Aw, what do you know? You put spaces before and after your dashes. Oh, the horror! Shame, shame! Lowercase a.m. and p.m.--how gauche. I scoff at your Associated Press Stylebook!

I guess it's nice to know that The Chicago Manual of Style is a cruel master to all, not just me. And actually, I do prefer the AP Stylebook, which doesn't say anything about en vs. em dashes. Surely that preference didn't score me any points with the copyeditor.