Msnowe's Blog

Sexist Copyediting Rules

Posted in Copyediting, new terms, sexist by m.snowe on April 10, 2008

Who knew that even the bookmakers are a part of the patriarchy!

Taken from a manuscript copyediting website:

“A “widow” is the last line of a paragraph that appears alone at the top of a page. An “orphan” is the first line of a paragraph that appears alone at the bottom of a page.”

Instructions from manuscript prep document:

“Avoid ‘widows and orphans’: that is, headings, single words, or single lines of text that dangle, separated from the rest of the section to which they belong, at the top or bottom of a page. You may insert additional line spaces to avoid such occurrences.”

While it’s understandable that widows and orphans aren’t exactly wanted personages in society, and there are obvious connotations of incompleteness and sadness, why is it only women and children that get abused, via manuscript preparation requirements?

Here are some healthy, equally-abusive suggestions for manuscript problem terms:

Please avoid the following common manuscript problems:

Widowers: text that stands flush right in the middle of the page, and seems deeply unconnected to the rest of the text (either by differing font or font size), and yet tries strenuously to fit in.

Mid-lifers: unnecessary breaks in text flow accompanied by extravagant design images or colored text vehicles.

Machomarks: overly elaborate and masculinized sentences sectioned off for extra attention (by phallic-shaped bullets or charts), even though the facts therein are void of any intellectual value or attractiveness.

Asshole: Random termination of a paragraph without explanation, often followed by tense diction and sense of impropriety.

Snobs: Sentences constructed with ten or more rather overly erudite, pithy adjectives to describe the banal.

ED Guys: Incomplete sentences.

Write in with other suggestions!

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One Response

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  1. thegayrecluse said, on April 11, 2008 at 1:33 am

    More on the gay front than sexist, but! How about “homo panic”: failure to use any adverbs ever for fear of being labeled a queen. (He offered pathetically.)


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