Ode to a Copy Editor

The heavens must be aligned today because I’ve been reminded twice in the past few hours of the importance of copy editors.

For those who don’t know what a copy editor is let me just say this: A good copy editor is to a piece of writing what the Secret Service is to the President: protection of the most profound type. She (and most are women) stands between excellent writing and disaster. She is the one who asks if you really meant to say that direct medical costs for asthma in the United States are $11 million a year, or $11 billion a year (the latter). She is the one who realizes you skipped a reference and now none of your endnotes are in the right place. She is the one who knows that you really mean to write multiple sclerosis, not muscular dystrophy.

Bottom line, she is the one who can see the trees in the forest when the writer can barely even see the forest anymore.

For no matter how many times a writer edits a piece, even, as I do, printing it out and doing a final edit on hard copy or, as my friend … Continue Reading

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