Posts Tagged ‘red pen’

I’ve worked with Ron Hadfield, editor extraordinaire, off and on in various capacities since 2005. I was his student worker, then later his associate editor/right-hand writer, and now I’m one of his freelancers. I’ve spent a lot of time reading his edits and learning from him. And I have inherited lots of his editing tics/pet peeves (some of them passed down in turn from Dr. Charlie Marler, the patriarch of journalism at ACU). Here they are:

1. I hate the word “that,” and try to eliminate it when possible.
2. I hate “widows” – single words on a line – and will often re-jigger text to make them disappear.
3. I have a disdain for over-capitalized “alphabet soup” – e.g., Associate Professor of Important Things in the Department of This and That.
4. I prefer “smart” (curved) quotes over straight-line ones.
5. I proofread EVERYTHING. Sometimes twice.

I’ve also inherited a few other editing tics:
6. Use exclamation points sparingly. (from Al Haley, my creative writing teacher)
7. Use italics sparingly. (also from Al)
8. Never leave a naked “this” – always clarify it. (From a high school English teacher I rather despised – this lesson is the only useful thing I remember from her class.)

Anyone else? I know some of you are writers/fellow English majors/former journalism majors. Bring on your editing tics and pet peeves!

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