The Art of Copyediting courses

An overview of the 25 courses offered by
The Art of Copyediting

Listen to a video on The Art of Copyediting courses

The logical breaking down of copyediting into smaller components and an overview of the 25 courses offered by The Art of Copyediting


Gist of the video

Read on . . . in case you don't want to watch a long video!

The 49-min video makes use of a few slides to explain all the courses offered by The Art of Copyediting. The same slides are presented below with explanatory text below each of them. You can click on links within the text for information on individual courses.

Slide 1

Slide 1 description

  • The image above shows a division of copyediting into markup and language editing. This is purely for convenience; the former relates to certain mechanical aspects of copyediting while the latter relates to tougher analytical aspects. Copyediting is ideally best done by a single person.
  • Markup relates to formatting and editorial style aspects of the publication process. Every scientific document can be broken down into the main text, display elements, and a list of references at the end. The references in turn are made up of a brief citation in the text and an expanded version in the list. These relate to the courses on References offered by The Art of Copyediting.
  • The main text will have certain title-page elements such as the title, subtitle, author names and affiliations, and some information in the form of footnotes. The main text will be organized into sections and subsections, each having an appropriate heading. Further differentiation may be in the form of lists, quoted material, and the like. All these will have to be formatted consistently in any publication. So we have one course that deals with these basic manuscript elements.
  • Within the main text, we may have a thousand tiny things that may have to be set according to specific preferences of the publication or according to scientific conventions prevailing in the field of science that the document deals with. A huge chunk of the former is mechanical in nature and may be set right by an understanding of the principles and preferences relating to the handling of numbers in a document. Scientific conventions may or may not be associated with numbers, but these too are simple mechanical aspects. All these can be handled efficiently when some fundamental principles are understood, and these are all covered under editorial markup of text. Math is a specialized subset of scientific conventions (involving both inline and display math) and this warrants a separate course of its own.
  • Display elements are often in the form of tables and figures, which have captions and legends respectively. Artwork-sizing (earlier handled as part of copyediting) is now handled almost entirely by graphics personnel. Nevertheless, some rare situations where a copyeditor may advise the typesetter on the positioning of the artwork are all discussed as part of the course on tables and figures.

Slide 2

Slide 2 description

  • The image above indicates the breakup of the language part of copyediting. There are three subdivisions, which broadly represent the basic, intermediate (standard), and advanced (professional) levels of editing as envisioned by The Art of Copyediting.
  • The basic course in turn has two parts. The first part relates to the fundamentals of the written language and is covered by the course named Essentials of Written English, which is also the first course that has been rolled out by The Art of Copyediting.
  • The second part relates to many of the nuances associated with written English, some specific to scientific English. Abbreviations, article use, capitalization, lists, use of quotation marks, italic, and boldface, as well as hyphenation and en dash use are all separate aspects of these nuances, and we have a separate course for each of these. Principles relating to the use of hyphenation and en dash are considered separately as a second part of nuances simply because they are complicated in their own way.

Slide 3

Slide 3 description

  • All the above courses would have given one an overall idea about copyediting, and the next logical step would be a consolidation of all the principles that have been learnt before moving forward. The intermediate course offered by The Art of Copyediting therefore has one set of courses for consolidation and another set of courses for mastering the basics learnt in the initial course on language (Essentials of Written English).
  • Analyzing a journal article upfront is one of the simplest of consolidation activities. This practice will also help you to get a comprehensive idea of a manuscript before beginning to edit it. The course on precopyedit analysis covers these aspects.
  • Doing precopyedit analysis for a couple of months will help one to take the next step of preparing an editorial style sheet for a journal, and this is covered in the second course under consolidation.
  • Although some copyeditors may not have this blessing, a few years of journal editing may be the best background for approaching book editing confidently. When one is well versed with all the activities in copyediting, a course that gives the person an overview of almost all the activities that happen in book editing can help him or her approach book projects in an organized way. The third course on book editing may be taken up at any convenient time, depending on the readiness of the copyeditor.
  • Mastering the basics comprises four courses. Editing can be thought of as being made up of 3 parts: skim reading (to understand the flow of thoughts in a paragraph or section), editing a sentence, and word usage. The Art of Copyediting has a course for each of these: sentence patterns (helps mastering skim reading), mastering the rules (helps mastering the individual rules and in turn to dissect any sentence threadbare), and word usage (which is more of an introduction, as this forms a nonstop learning process in the life of an editor).
  • Although the editing process may start with skim reading, a learning copyeditor will have to first master reading a sentence before attempting to skim read. So, during the learning process, mastering the rules comes before the skim-reading part. Although not shown in the image, this rule on mastering the rules has now been split into two courses simply because of its length.

Slide 4

Slide 4 description

  • The image above shows the subdivisions related to mastering the editorial platform as well as aspects relating to someone becoming a professional editor.
  • Understanding basic PC settings, Word styles, and template preparation form the first course on Microsoft Word. The second course helps you to connect book design and Word styles, that advantage of which many copyeditors do not realize. It also shows you how to build a master template, which can forever make your life as an editor a little easier. The third course is for editors who want use macros for repetitive tasks and thus earn more by focusing on work efficiency.
  • The advanced course has two courses on professional editing in general and another course that focuses completely on medical editing. Professional editing in turn comprises two courses, one that outlines close to 30 principles that can be used by an editor in polishing sentences and another that provides many examples of individual sentences edited to different levels of perfection.

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