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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Marilyn vos Savant on Editing? Kid You Not!

Do you read Ask Marilyn in the Parade magazine enclosed in many Sunday newspapers? I like reading it for her brain teasers but every once in a while, I find something in it that pertains to editing. Marilyn has an eclectic heart!

This week someone asked why "playwright" is spelled with a "w" when the "copyright" isn't. I rarely see writers get this wrong--possibly because it is one of those mistakes Spell Checker will pick up and actually get right! But Marilyn's answer was so lucid. She says, "I'm sure you've heard the adjective and verb "wrought," referring to work shaped by intellect, artistry, effort, etc." The maker (the craftsperson) of such projects is called a "wright."

The "right" in "copyright" comes from the "right to copy," she says. It may be obvious, but thinking of "wright" and "right" this way, helps us keep them separate in our brains. We won't be as likely to just type the word wrong. Ya think?

If you love word trippers and and like avoiding editing nightmares like the confusion between "metal" and "medal" I recently saw in a novel, you may find my little $6.95 booklet fun reading. Or fun gift-giving.  It is Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips for Writers: The Ultimate Frugal Booklet for Avoiding Word Trippers and Crafting Gatekeeper-Perfect Copy.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults. and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success (How To Do It Frugally series of book for writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers will find lists and other helps including Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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