‘It Was Wonderful, Marvelous, Magnificent, Superb, Glorious, Sublime, Lovely, Delightful…’

Erin McKean, on editing David Foster Wallace’s “word notes” for the aforelinked Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus:

For some writers, reading the copy-edits is like going to the dentist. You know you have to, and you’ll be happy, long-term, that you did, but the actual process involves a certain amount of drooling discomfort and incoherent mumbling. Other writers think of copy-editing as massage: someone works you over, and then you stumble out feeling good — kind of dazed, and a bit greasy, but good.

David Foster Wallace’s reaction to the copyedit was more like someone invited him to an all-day grammar seminar (with celebrity photo signings and vendor’s expo hall), combined with a debating society picnic, where the topic was “RESOLVED: This Comma Should Be Removed.”

Wednesday, 22 August 2012