I moved slowly, advancing through the rough landscape in search of my elusive quarry. I could sense that I was close. A turn here, another there, and… Aha, found it! I uncapped my red pen with a satisfying pop and drew a red circle around the end of a sentence. Three words, linked together inseparably but missing that penultimate punctuation: The Oxford Comma. Another copy editing crisis averted.
The world of drop caps and compound modifiers hasn’t exactly been my professional stomping grounds in the past, but I find the editing process to be among the most satisfying tasks in the life of M&T. We like to think of this as a team sport, with Megan, Joshua, Jim, and me tossing the ball “around the horn” as we work on refining a given article or project. Some of us have greater strengths in certain areas – Megan, for instance, has more experience in editing copy than the rest of us combined, while Jim can spot a compelling narrative a mile away. Joshua is able to maintain the big-picture vision of the magazine, cutting out the fat from a piece while leaving the vital parts stronger. I thoroughly enjoy circling incorrect punctuation with a red pen, and love precise details.
As Issue Four moves ever closer to completion, we are planning to share some thoughts and advice here on the blog for aspiring writers, bloggers, and photographers. Part of our mission at M&T is to form each issue to be thoughtful, compelling, and beautiful, and we’d like to share some of our methods with those folks who might be interested in documenting their own work. Even though we don’t take submissions from readers for articles, we see a great value in having many voices sharing in the conversation. There is a revival going on in the world of hand-tool woodworking, and having the ability to clearly articulate discoveries, explorations, and projects finished will benefit all of us.
So sharpen your pencils, pull out your notebook and camera, and start that blog to chronicle your journey. And don’t forget the Oxford Comma – it is literally worth its weight in gold.