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February 24, 2014



I don't have the reference materials available, and none of them are free online, but if I my guess, here are my answers:

1. race car
2. backyard
3. semi-retired
4. humph
5. back to the States
6. bird feeders
7. wrought-iron brackets
8. love seat
9. home-made ice cream
10. non-lethal toads

Ellen Byerrum

I share your pain, Donna. I remember the copy editor who wanted to change dust motes to dust mites! My favorite came after writing a humorous fashion column in my book, I said something like, if you like bling, you might as well wear the whole rhinestone mine. The copyeditor chided me by saying, "rhinestones don't come from mines." Really? How young are these copyeditors? Cheers.

Sandy in St Louis

I agree with Marilyn except for number four - I think hmph. It's hard to decide sometimes and I find myself changing to another word when I can't. I just read a book for review where the story was good but oh my, it could have used a good edit. Typos, wrong words, repeat phrases, missing punctuation - all very distracting. I'm looking forward to the new Meg and Michael.

Deborah Blake

AH yes, copyeditor horror stories. I'm glad things turned out happier this time. And you know, I could guess on half of those things and probably still be wrong!

Jenny Hanahan, Mystery Most Cozy

"stet, dammit!" I like it! :)

Dana Cameron

I recall with distaste a copyeditor from long ago who, rather than asking me one question on one point, changed pages and pages of my text. Night.Mare. And this was before electronic editing, when I could have just "rejected change." Stet dammit, indeed.

Mary Harris

Excellent post! I love reading Editor Nightmare stories! It's a wonderful guide as to what not to do. I always start out by telling authors, "It's your story! They are your characters!" But I do make sure verb tenses are consistent, and those pesky rhinestone mines are geographically located in WTH, Montana. May all your copyedits from now on be pleasant.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Dining-room table? Or Diningroom table?
Chocolate-chip cookie? Or chocolate chip cookie?

Red-brink building, or red brick building, or redbrick building?



Hank Phillippi Ryan

Okay, you know I don;t mean red-brink.


I can't even begin to think about that grammar quiz.

But those copy edit horror stories are pretty bad. I know I need a good copy editor, but maybe I don't want one after hearing some of those.

Karen in Ohio

I know what you mean about copy editors changing text to suit their own selves. My husband has an English degree from Brown, and he's the worst. I have to rein him in if I want productive criticism.

Dining room table. Chocolate chip cookie. Red brick building.

1. racecar

2. backyard

3. semi-retired

4. Hmph

5. back to the States?

6. birdfeeders

7. Wrought iron brackets

8. loveseat

9. homemade ice cream

10. nonlethal toads

And autocorrect is wrong. All the time.

Karen in Ohio

I didn't mean to leave the question mark after back to the States! Sorry.

Sally Schmidt

Wow, no idea. And I thought it was bad when my boss just had to tweak a report. Keep using that stet weapon, we want to enjoy our favorite authors' creativity, not feel like we are in English class (although we do like the typos, etc. fixed ;-) ).

I had very definite answers for the quiz, but didn't look them up to check. Don't want to be THAT kind of copyeditor. Or is it copy editor? Or copy-editor??

Karen in Ohio

Copyeditor and copy editor are both correct, I think.


I agree with u because the copyeditors that are freelancers ,the editors don' realize how bad their work is sometimes.

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