I'm slowly reaching the end of my copy edits for ROOTED IN DANGER. As I mentioned, just because this is the second editorial pass doesn't mean all the errors have been caught, so I have been reading the whole book. She's caught things that weren't picked up on the first pass, but I've also caught a few glitches that nobody else did.
For the most part, the editor's suggestions have been painless, and I agree with most of them. There are a few places where she's changed sentence structure, and it didn't work for me.
My mom's first language was German, not English, and her sentence structure often followed the Germanic patterns. Our family favorite: "Look for me in the bottom drawer for the pound cake." Of course, my brother and I opened the bottom drawer and said, "Mom! You're in here!" In one case, I'd written: She went into the bedroom closet and dragged the cardboard carton she’d brought with her to the bedside. The editor preferred: She went into the bedroom closet and dragged to the bedside the cardboard carton she’d brought with her. Which would you prefer? The editor also likes hyphens when a two-word phrase modifies a noun. I'm more likely to avoid the hyphens (I use enough of them as it is) unless they make the meaning clearer. For example, if you write "small animal hospital," that's entirely different from "small-animal hospital." The first can refer to the size of the hospital, while the second makes it clear that they won't be having horses or cows as patients. But there are others where I don't think there's really going to be much confusion on the part of the reader. And isn't that what almost all those pesky grammar rules are for, anyway? Do we follow the letter of the law, or do we go with intent? So – how about a little quiz. These are examples from the manuscript. Which ones (in red) need hyphens in the context of the sentences to make the meaning clearer? You can answer (or not, as you prefer) in the comments. But I'd love to hear from you. 1. Torie nibbled room service toast and sipped ginger ale. 2. Steel band music wafted from the distance. 3. She thought he was going to kiss her last night—a real kiss—and then he did that kid sister thing. 4. Torie didn’t need to hear about the private, covert ops side of the business, where Fozzie spent most of his time. 5. But something raised the hairs on the back of his neck, and he never ignored his early warning system. 6. Beach boy hair. 7. “What about him?” she asked as they passed the man’s body on the living room floor 8. I spent some time reading that support group site for Willamette Syndrome. 9. “They may get the forensics wrong on television,” Brad said, “and play fast and loose with the legal system, but they usually get the human nature part right."
10. The red master warning light came on.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society