Copy Editor – Author Communications: Humor? Emogees? ;-p

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As a rule, I keep my communications with my authors cordial and professional (I’m the cat). I try to avoid lengthy explanations or inquiries and try to keep things as simple as possible. If I find myself falling into the role of educator I stop to reconsider my approach. Taking time to drill down to the actual issue of a query can save much time and energy in advance. This being said, a dry unemotional voice is not my aim and I am fairly free with supporting comments and positive observations.

At times, when I get to know my author a bit better, the urge to insert humor starts to tickle my fingers. Almost invariably I resist the urge. There is just too much opportunity for a misread with humor. Also, if the relationship becomes too chummy, it may make more difficult, delicate communications harder to pull off.

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Another temptation is to use emogees (emoticons) to clarify the intent or tone behind a query or comment. I resist this urge as well. If I need a graphic to clarify my intent perhaps I have failed to write it correctly. Also, when I stop to reconsider, I often find that the impulse to use an emogee issues from a sense of insecurity or self-doubt about what I am trying to suggest, request, or recommend. It becomes apparent that I need to reconsider or rewrite the query or comment.

There is definitely room in less formal channels of editor-author communication for humor and perhaps an emogee or two. For instance, humor may find a home in email or text messages that serve to check-in with an author post project or to maintain a thread of familiarity with a client or when an author makes attempts to get to know you better, off project. But even here, I would tend toward professional congeniality rather than cafe camaraderie.

Here is an interesting post from copyediting.com about emoticons in editing:

Emoticons in editing, is there a place for them?

Let me know what you think. I’m curious.

Take care,

Daniel

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