Fun with Hard-Copy Marks

The sound of pencils scratching on paper filled the boardroom of the Ongwanada Centre as the editors of the Kingston twig delved into a task that was once the mainstay of the editorial profession but is rare today: marking up paper manuscript pages. I had brought along an exercise for practising hard-copy marks that I use with students in my Ryerson editing class, and everyone gave it a try. Some younger attendees were new to this task, while some veterans (myself included) found themselves a bit rusty. But everyone seemed to find it satisfying to produce a physical product by their editorial labours for a change.

While almost all editing is done onscreen these days, traditional paper marks for copy editing and proofreading still have a strong association with the editing profession, and are still used in some contexts. Editing students still learn the basics in most programs, and the proofreaders’ symbols especially are finding new life in onscreen PDF markup in the form of custom stamps.

Before breaking out the homework, we looked at various sample lists of marks and discussed the differences (which are either trivially minor or startlingly significant depending on whom you ask), shared stories of the last time we used them, traded tips for making them clear, and theorized about when certain more esoteric examples might be used (hair space, anyone?).

And I, showing off a decades-old example of my own hard-copy markup, was astonished at how neat it was! My skills have sadly deteriorated through disuse.

Announcements from National

Stephanie shared some news from Editors Canada:

  • Editors Canada’s second international conference will be held in Montreal at the end of June
  • Stephanie participated in the most recent meeting of twig and branch
    co-ordinators, which are now being held fairly regularly; there was a good exchange of information and ideas, with the overall lesson being that many other local groups face similar struggles to ours of fewer members or volunteers as they’d like
  • A number of national committee positions and National Executive posts are open; if you’re considering volunteering at the national level, contact past chair Gael Spivak for more information


More Great Guest Speakers Coming Soon!

March 11: Shelley Tanaka, award-winning Kingston writer and editor, especially known for children’s and young adult literature

April 8: David Sweet of Books and Company, beloved indie bookstore in Picton

Join Us

Ongwanada Resource Centre
191 Portsmouth Avenue
7 to 9 p.m. (doors open at 6:30)
Free for Editors Canada members
$5 for visitors

Find Us on Facebook

Whether or not you come to our gatherings, feel free to join our Facebook group and chat with other Kingston-area editors and assorted word nerds.



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