Copy Editing

A few days ago marked the 105 Anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox Court House, ending the Civil War. Due to the fact that the Virginia Quarterly Review has strong roots in southern soil and has shared the views of many southern writers, it was important to address this anniversary.

That being said, because the article was not a priority to the magazine and would only appear online, it was put off, and eventually was a rushed project. This does not mean that the quality of writing was not up to a high standard, but it did mean that there would be limited time for fact checking, copy editing, and proofreading.

Copy editing in itself, deals with stylistic decisions and the actual writing of the piece compared to proofreading which lies among the smaller, structures of the piece. Overarching themes, sentence structure, word choice, introductions, and conclusion are all elements of a piece which would be evaluated by the copy editor.

Copy editing:

In this specific case, the author chose to discuss southern writers as having to deal with their heritage being destroyed after the South lost the Civil War and having to recover from the social turmoil. To many, this comment seems perfectly acceptable and the norm. However, this view point, is only that of a white southern male. The subject of the paper needed to be careful and address how the Civil War shaped southern women and people of color’s writing. Luckily, VQR has a wide range of authors and so many current authors had a lot to say about the changing culture of the south and about ancient southern heritage. The copy editor just needed to make sure that words and phrases were careful not to generalize a group unjustly.



One thought on “Copy Editing

  1. The nuances of copy writing, especially for a story like this one, are important to understand! How were you involved with this process? Or was this just something you observed from afar?

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