Monday evening, we reviewed our homework assignments in which we had to create a style guide for a piece we had to edit.
A style guide is a reference guide a copyeditor creates for his or herself while editing a piece. This reference guide includes word consistency like the spelling of a name like Ashley versus Ashlee. Additionally, the guide includes whether the piece uses A.M. versus a.m. Everything that normal readers take for granted are style choices and places that copyeditors look at and have to make sure is correct. The source, as well, has to be included in the style guide. If the copyeditor uses Webster’s Dictionary, the APA or Chicago Manual style for reference, this has to be incorporated as well.
Apart from a copyeditor creating his or her style guide, every publishing company has a house style guide which the copyeditor uses during the editing process. This makes editing easier and the copyeditor is consistent with the publisher’s style. There are word spellings and sentences that may be up for debate but that is based on the writer of the content and the chief editor who have the last word.
If there’s one thing my instructor has taught me, is never to trust yourself and to look everything up. Sometimes we think the grammar, spelling, or whatever else is correct but if there is doubt, look it up. This is why style guides are so important while editing. When copyeditors are in the zone, they stop seeing mistakes and see what they think is supposed to be there.
Overall, Monday evening’s class was insightful and as always helpful. I cannot believe next week will be my last class. The neat thing about my last class is our instructor will provide us with a copyediting test to gauge our levels and provide us with a huge set of resources to seek copyediting employment opportunities. Yay for jobs!