I have been incredibly lucky; the editors I’ve worked with have been terrific. O’Reilly, for example, spends a lot of time on editing. And they interpret the term editing correctly and broadly: everything from copyediting to technical editing to just making sure that what you’ve written is clear, correct and concise.
I should add that my current development editor, one Brian MacDonald, is among the best I’ve ever worked with; he has incredible patience, intellect, perspicacity, proportion, tact… you know, he’s a mensch.
So, with apologies to him and others, here is my rant on topics I run into as an author…
Whence the rule that any heading must have at least two sub-heads? Silly, absurd and a prescriptivist straight-jacket.
I simply reject as overly constraining the notion that “Why they are funny looking” must either have a sibling (“why editors are marsupials?”) or be merged into the parent (“Marsupials, and why editors are funny looking”).
Let me Make A Preposition To You
There are a number of dopey rules about prepositions that arise out of an insipid and false attempt to Latinize our Germanic language. The silliest is the “never end a sentence with a preposition”
No native-English speaking person would ever say “What movie was it to which we went?” You and I and everyone else who speaks the language would say “What movie did we go to?”
Again, arising from Latin but having nothing to do with English, came the pseudo-rule that you should never split the infinitive. Besides causing you to stupidly put the verb in the wrong place (stupidly to put?) such a rule would not allow Captain Kirk to bravely go anywhere.
Are you more careful than she?
I’ll just quote from John Lennon
If I give my heart to you
I must be sure
From the very start
That you would love me more than her
Can you quite imagine him writing “love me more than she” ???
“Aye, it’s me”
– Liberty 2009
Off To A Bad Start
There is no excuse for thinking that you can’t start a sentence with “There is.” And I should add that I think it is fine to start a sentence with “and.” But not just and, even but.
A Singular Notion
While none of us is perfect, none of us are ever going to remember to use the singular because it doesn’t make sense much of the time. Not everyone is annoyed when they see they used with a singular antecedent. If you are one who is, I recommend the brilliant paper written by Geoffry K. Pullman
Which Witch Created That Rule?
I’d almost given up on fighting the rule which is most often of concern to editors trained that one must never use “which” to introduce a restrictive clause. But then I learned that this rule was invented out of whole cloth by the completely untrained Strunk (of the infamous Strunk and White). It turns out, to his embarrassment, that Strunk violated this arbitrary caprice three times in Elements of Style.