Saturday, April 17, 2010

Snap!Copy Edit

There are a couple things I am involved in that require me to submit articles with word counts. I really enjoy the challenge this presents. It's helped me to be more specific in my use of language and concise in my writing (things i clearly feel no compunction to practice here at sgwordy:). It's also become a source of endless amusement as everything I submit is subjected to copy editing. I'm not all that possessive about what I write and am always happy to get feedback so I can continuously improve my writing; so when changes are made to what I write I generally pay attention and think about how the changes have affected the piece. I find that the alterations are about 50-50 in the helpful department. So anyway, back to the endless amusement...

Because of the word counts I often have to condense my initial drafts. I prefer to shorten them by better use of language rather than cutting information. To that end I usually stare at the computer screen thinking deep thoughts about language, or just keep the articles in the back of my mind for a few days and hope inspiration strikes. It's lovely indeed when the perfect word presents itself and I can shorten the article but keep all the information. I end up feeling such pride over these small accomplishments and relish the wonderfully specific words I've been able to use to express myself. It's almost like the Language Arts equivalent of those word problems we all remember from math class. "You are required to make x amount of points in your article using only y amount of words. Proceed."

So, are we all realizing where this is headed?

Imagine, if you will (and i'm sure you will), sgwordy beaming with pride over her clever ideas and sophisticated application of word precision. There she is, mentally polishing those lovely words, savoring the feeling of accomplishment for hitting her word count while still saying all she had to say just the way she wanted to say it.

Now please picture her reading over her work in print and seeing her perfect word(s) blithely changed by the copy editor.

Oh, snap!

Seriously, all you can do is laugh. There I am polishing my keyboard like I've really managed to say something perfectly but no. Clearly, I have work to do. Better luck next time!

Anyone else out there getting the choppity from a copy editor? How do you react?

ETA: Had to close comments due to the SPAMbots love of this post. Who can explain it...


  1. Uh, yeah... Us legalish folk tend to get a bit verbose. I'm going to practice your word count technique with a review of this blog entry; I think I can do it in just four words.


    Ta da! Woo hoo! Brooke write good. =)

  2. Do you mind if I steal your review for one of my submissions this month? Oh wait! There's a min word count, as well. Dang! I suppose I'll have to plagiarize your writing good another time. Just saving it to a file now...