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UNIT I. Introduction to Speciality

This Unit gives you some ideas about the speciality of literary work and editing, dwells on the key issues of the profession, the training process and the qualifications required to start off in the field.


1.1. Speak up on the following:


- Why is your speciality at the Faculty of Journalism called Literary Work and Editing?

- In what way is it connected to journalism?

- In what way is it different from journalism?

- Why have you decided to choose this speciality?

1.2. The text below is an essay describing a person’s way to editing. Read it to find out the following information:

- Was the author’s choice of profession an easy decision?

- Did she have an inclination for a career in editing?

- How did she get the necessary education?

- What does she do as an editor?

Text 1.

1.3. While reading the following text check the meaning of the words printed in bold type with the word-chart below the text.


Cindy Sheffield Michael, the Editor


As a child in Mississippi, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living. I don’t think I ever considered editing; as a child I probably didn’t even know what an editor was!


In high school I realized that literature, language, and art classes were my passions. In fact, the best job that I could imagine was getting paid to read. Since then I’ve been told that the main requirement for being an editor is a love of reading. This only makes sense – avid readers know which sentences and phrases work and which don’t, and often when something doesn’t work they have an idea of what might make it work better. My love of reading and the fact that year after year I worked on the staff of the newspaper, literary magazine, and yearbook should have tipped me off to a future in editing, but alas, all that extracurricular work made me too busy to pay attention.


With no clear goals for the future, I entered Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Hendrix is great – it’s a nice, comfortable liberal arts college without sororities or fraternities and with nearly all classes small and intimate and taught by learned professors. At Hendrix I also served as yearbook editor, and I held various editor positions with the literary magazine. I took English short story and drama classes, Modern German and Attic Greek, Spanish literature and language classes, and drawing, sculpture, and photography classes.


After I graduated I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, with my future husband and tried to begin a career based around my Spanish skills. In my classes at Hendrix, I had come to love the challenge of translating Spanish poems into English while retaining the author’s original feel and mood. This kind of job, though, was hard to find. I eventually realized, too, that I missed working on the yearbook. I really missed designing page layouts, choosing photos, writing copy, and editing the copy. In fact, since I was not actually employed in that line of work, I found myself editing whatever came into my line of sight: cereal boxes, menus, billboards, and of course my own writing. At work, I was the one colleagues always came to for proofreading. I decided, then, that editing was where I should be headed, and in the summer of 2000 I found occasional work as a proofreader for August House Publishers out of Little Rock, Arkansas.


Unhappy with only infrequent editing work yet daily secretarial work, however, I proceeded to send out CVs to every publishing house, magazine, and newsletter listed in the Atlanta phone book. Of course, I got few responses. First of all, no one was hiring, so my resumes were unsolicited. Second of all, who would hire me anyway? - I had a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, not English. I was not discouraged. If no one was ready to hire me with a Spanish degree, maybe, I thought, they would be more willing to hire me with an English degree. So, in 2002 I enrolled at Georgia State University and began working towards a Master’s degree in English. I took an advanced grammar course and an editing course.

In the fall of 2003, I volunteered my editing services to the photography club I belong to, Atlanta Photographic Society, and a comedy theatre in Atlanta called Dad's Garage. I also began working as the Assistant Editor of the Eudora Welty Newsletter. From January to April, 2004, I worked as an editorial intern with Peachtree Publishers, Ltd., in Atlanta, and in July I began working as the Editorial and Production Assistant for Studies in the Literary Imagination. I'm very excited to be working in publishing settings again.


I’ve continued editing for writers not affiliated with Georgia State University or Peachtree Publishers, as well, and I find that working as a freelance editor who can provide personalized service to all of my clients is what I prefer over any other career.


Few people can relate to my obsessive attention to detail (in other words, my intense desire to correct every comma error that I see as I read a magazine or drive down the street), but put simply: I enjoy editing. A manuscript arrives in its newness, and the editor finds overlooked errors and suggests possible ways to make a paragraph flow more easily. The process is like helping complete a painting by framing it: the editor doesn’t take part in the artistic creation, only enhances the finished product.


As a child who dreamed of a job where I could get paid to read, I never would have believed that I’d actually end up working with the very thing that I enjoy.


affiliate (v) to cause a group to become part of or form a close relationship with another, usually larger, group or organization
Avid extremely eager or interested
Enhance to improve the quality, amount or strength of something
Enroll to put yourself or someone else onto the official list of members of a course, college or group
Fall (n) the season after summer and before winter, when fruits and crops become ripe and the leaves fall off the trees
Fraternity 1 a group of people who have the same job or interest 2 a social organization for male students at an American or Canadian college
Freelance doing particular pieces of work for different organizations, rather than working all the time for a single organization
Intern someone finishing training for a skilled job especially by obtaining practical experience of the work involved
Manuscript the original copy of a book or article before it is printed
page layouts the way the page is arranged and looks
Proofreading finding and correcting mistakes in copies of printed text before the final copies are printed
Retaining to keep or continue to have smth.
Sorority a social organization for female students at some US colleges
Unsolicited not requested
Volunteer (v)1 to offer to do smth that you do not have to do, often without having been asked to do it and/or payment. 2 to give information without being asked


1.4. Now try your hand in literary translation. Go through the text once again to see if you can convey properly in Russian the following:


- some classes were my passions…

- to tip me off to a future in editing…

- to know which sentences work and which don’t…

- classes taught by learned professors…

- I had come to love the challenge of translating while retaining original feel and mood….

- few people can relate to my attention to detail…



1.5. Share with a group-mate your opinion on the following:

Ø Have you got a clear idea of what you will actually do as a specialist in literary work and editing?

Ø What aspect of the trade are you going to specialize in?

Ø Do you really need a qualification to enter the field you’ve chosen?

Ø Are you ready to start working being a 1st or 2nd year student in case you are given a job offer?

Ø What are your expectations of your educational background in a 4-5 years time? Will you be trained enough to start work?



Text 2


1.6. The scope of activities in literary work and editing is really impressive. Study the Job Profiles of several professionals to fill in the chart which can provide you with some additional tips on your career prospects. The new words and abbreviations you’ll come across in the exracts concern specific styles accepted for editing and preparation of manuscripts for publication: MLA (Modern Language Association) Format, APA (American Psychological Association), Chicago\ Turabian Style, Harvard Style.

Literary attorney and editor BRUCE BRADLEY has a passion for the publishing business that can’t be measured. He’s combined thirty years of journalistic experience with 15+ years book publishing experience. He wears every hat in the publishing business *, trading back and forth as duty requires - from manuscript acquisitions to contract negotiations to



*to wear every hat in the publishing business = to be able to take many jobs in this field



editing to marketing. His philosophy is simple: do what you love, do what you’re good at, and do lots of it! And no ghostwriting!


CARRIE ANDREWS is a University of California honors graduate with a BA in English. She has worked in the publishing industry for several years as a project editor, copyeditor, and proofreader, with specialties in fiction, entertainment, and college level textbooks. She works with companies such as Reader’s Digest, Random House, Inc., Kensington Publishing, and Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. While copyediting, she strikes that delicate balance between maintaining an author's voice and making the language clear and vibrant. She is also a meticulous proofreader and fact checker.


TIM GRUNDMANN: I’m an author, playwright and TV scriptwriter and story editor with 25 years of experience. My books in the Doug Chronicles series are published by Disney Press. I was part of the creative team behind Peewee’s Playhouse on CBS TV, and developed the HBO comedy Norman’s Corner with Seinfeld creator Larry David. As head writer and story editor for the Disney Channel’s New Mickey Mouse Club and Nickelodeon’s Doug, I guided scripts from concept to final draft. I was developmental writer for Mowgli and His Friends and Wayside School for the Disney Channel and ABC TV.


CAROL HEGBERG As a journalism graduate from Northern Illinois University, Carol began her writing career as a reporter, copyeditor, and news editor. She began freelance writing for women and craft magazines and newspapers. Her published works include short stories, a novel, a nonfiction book, anthologies, poetry, columns, magazines and newspaper articles, skits and play scripts. She can copy edit, rewrite, and proofread speeches, short stories or collections, articles, essays, and books.


SUZANNE MANNES is a college professor specializing in technical and business writing for over 15 years. In addition to teaching the subject, she has also been a freelance technical writer for over 15 years as well. She has done such projects as writing total electrical manuals for Gulf Power Company, a subsidiary of the Southern Power Company in Atlanta. She has rewritten and redesigned informational brochures for University of West Florida, prepared business proposals, written grants, and designed fundraising booklets for community groups. Additionally, she has edited many medical textbooks and medical articles on such subjects as heart transplants, pain management, and anesthesiology. She is an expert in all documentation systems such as Chicago Style, Harvard, APA, American Anthropological Association, and MLA. Her specialty is taking complex material and translating that material into a clear, concise, audience friendly document.


American Book Editing Association
name Professional education Positions held Scope of professional interests


Text 3.


1.7. Read the following text carefully to find out the following:


- What is the ‘most important decision’ the author talks about in the 1st paragraph?

- What skills does the editing job require?

- Does the set of a magazine editor’s responsibilities differ from that of a book editor’s?

- What does the process of copy editing include?

- What are the three main tasks of any editor?


Most newcomers to the field of editing know only that they want to edit – to read manuscripts and make changes or corrections; often they don’t consider editing for a specific type of company. What they don’t realize is that this decision is possibly the most important. Of course it is important to have passion for the work – but what if a newcomer gets a job with a magazine staff and the additional duties required besides his copy-editing duties turn out to be more than he was prepared for? What if a newcomer gets a job with a book publisher and he/she doesn’t like working with authors or designing covers? In either situation, the new editor would be unhappy with his or her new position. Thus, in order to be happy in an editing position, it is extremely important that those interested in entering the field of editing understand the qualities needed and the responsibilities of the different opportunities available – such as small magazine and book publishing – as well as the ways to get their proverbial foot in the door.


The skills required for an aspiring magazine editor, according to John Morrish in Magazine Editing, are confidence in journalism, “a deep enthusiasm for magazines”, self-reliance, determinism, an understanding of the magazine’s target market, and imagination. J.T.W. Hubbard, a former associate editor for Newsweek, also lists imagination as one of the three most important skills for a magazine editor in his book Magazine Editing for Professionals. The other two skills are the ability to develop relationships with various and varied writers and the ability to edit a manuscript so that it “meets the readers’ interest without crushing the writer’s style”. Language skills are important, including an excellent command of English style and of course spelling, and a good to excellent command of research tools. Many editors interested in working for a magazine mistakenly believe that they need the ability to design page layouts; however, an art director often handles all of the page layout and art design – the editors only make suggestions for a layout when there’s a problem that “distorts the feel” of the issue.


“The qualities that make a good magazine editor, ” states Hubbard, “often differ from those that make a good editor of books”. Unlike magazine editors, book editors are not required to be good writers; but every working editor does a considerable amount of writing in the course of making manuscripts work. Copy editors should be able to spot and correct awkward or badly constructed sentences and should have a natural inclination to be precise and meticulous and have the patience to examine very closely sizable amounts of materials. Copy editors occasionally need people skills as well, if they work in a company in which they have contact with writers. The skills that many find most valuable for an aspiring book editor are that he or she be an avid reader and a good reader, as a reader who can’t understand the content does not contribute to the editing of a manuscript.


The actual job responsibilities of any editor will differ depending on the size, organization, and methods of the magazine or book publishing company where he or she works. Working for a small magazine means firsthand more responsibilities than solely copy-editing. Introverts need to look for a larger magazine, as smaller magazines require more people interaction than just editing hard copy at a desk. Here you copy-edit, locate missing photos for layouts, return photos to contributors, prepare grant proposals, and write any other necessary correspondence. Any magazine editor has three main tasks: selection, acquisition, and authentication (accuracy). Some small magazines have a staff of copy editors apart from the editor in chief or managing editor, however. These copy editors are in charge of specific copy-editing duties such as researching, fact-checking, proofreading, language straightening, styling (for consistency), and trimming (“snippingout a little bit here, a little bit there to reduce the number of lines in the piece”).


The responsibilities involved in copy-editing include correcting errors in typing, fact, and grammar; improving awkward sentences and paragraphs; styling; and marking. Book editors, unlike some magazine editors, may be involved with the design/production process in two ways: (a) contributing knowledge of the book to design, and (b) checking the preparation of the book for accuracy. This means that editors provide information to the designers such as publishing facts and format specifications, and review page layouts for editorial errors. Another important aspect of book editing is also to be aware of the competition, to keep up with the modern trend and style of books. This is important for the publishing company to thrive and to attract authors.


Gaining access to a position in a small magazine or book publishing company serves as an entry gateway for later access to larger publishing houses. What is most important for an editorial intern at a small book-publishing house is the love of reading. Other skills are less important because they can be learned and developed, but a love of reading keeps the work fun. Gaining an internship at a book publisher’s is paramount. Among other ways to gain access to available editorial positions are attending a course in publishing or editing, making employment desires known to the instructors, going “where editors go, and trying to meet them, ” or sending a well-written cover letter and resume to a number of editors. In order to show competence in editing, a writing sample which is “skillful and gives evidence of a knowledge of grammar, structure, and style” must be submitted. The proof of prior publication experience (such as working on a high school newspaper or college yearbook) indicates talent, knowledge, and competence. The ideal background for any editor is to have (a) MA in English or comparative literature from a first-class university, with many courses in languages, psychology and business administration, (b) to be an insatiable reader of everything from newspapers and magazines to literary classics, as well as being a movie and TV fan. A good thing to do is to get a job inside a publishing house in any capacity because you have a much better chance for the first editorial opening if you are on the spot.


Thus, there is no substitute for experience. No one ever learned to be an editor form a textbook. Becoming an editorial intern at a small magazine or book publishing house provides invaluable experience. Knowing the varying qualities desired by such houses and being aware of the varied responsibilities that await are essential to finding a satisfying editorial position.


1.8. Write out from the text all the words and expressions given in italics and translate them into Russian.


1.9. Mark the following statements as True or False:

q Most newcomers to the field of editing don’t consider editing for a specific type of company.

q To get the proverbial foot in the door means to make people understand and respect your position in a company.

q Language skills in editing include a good command of English style, spelling, and research tools.

q The three main tasks of any proofreader are: selection, acquisition, and authentication (accuracy) of material.

q Copy editors are in charge of researching, fact-checking, proofreading, language straightening, styling (for consistency), and trimming.

q One can learn to be an editor form a textbook..


1.10. Working in small groups, summarize the information of each paragraph in one sentence; supply a title for the text.

1.11. Make a list of assignments different types of editors (editor-in-chief, copy editor, managing editor, proofreader) do.

1.12. Make a list of personal qualities necessary for an aspiring editor. Place the qualities in the priority order. Discuss your list with others in the group.


1.13. Comment on the following:

- It requires to be an avid reader to enter the literary field..

- Being a freelancer brings both benefits and drawbacks.

- In the editing business one should be ready to take many assignments.


You might use these constructions in your answer:

Well, if you ask me…

I’m convinced that…

To tell you the truth, …

As far as I know…

It’s clear that…

As a matter of fact…

I should say here that…

I might as well add that….

1.14. Make up two groups to develop arguments for and against taking on a career in literary work and editing. Present your arguments.


Text 4.

1.15. There are different ways to get education in literary work and editing. The usual track for western graduates is through attending BA or MA courses majoring in Journalism, Linguistics and Literature at colleges or universities. Read the information kits of some universities and speak about entry requirements they have and training options they offer. Which of the courses would you like to take if given a chance? Start your answer with a conditional sentence:

If I were to chose between the places to train for my specialization, I would………….


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