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600 Books!

Today marks an exciting day here at ScriptAcuity Studio! We have received our 600th full-scale manuscript!

Many, many thanks to Hanna Kjeldbjerg, creative director with Beaver’s Pond Press, for this honor! (Hanna, this is redeemable for one free stay with us wherever we happen to be!)

This is technically our 839th editing project when we account for some of our very short projects such as children’s books, web-based educational content, résumés, and the like since the company’s founding.

We have also surpassed the 43,000,000-word mark. This is of particular note given that we conduct multiple rounds of edits on every manuscript, meaning that those same 43 million words have all been edited multiple times.

Help us celebrate!

First Official Week on the Job

Gili’s first official week as our card-carrying goodwill ambassador has been quite a success. Prior to this week, he’s had a good go at meeting and greeting the many diverse people of the Charlottesville area. In addition to handing out a handful of his cards, he’s also stopped for several photo opportunities, including with Kim at Thistle Gate Vineyard:

Gili is looking forward to exploring many new places and revisiting some of his favorite haunts to share more of what we refer to as Gili’s Plan: “Love and be loved.”

Introducing Gili’s Work!

We have an exciting and important announcement.

“I’ve joined the ScriptAcuity Studio team!”

Gili has officially joined the ScriptAcuity Studio team as our goodwill ambassador.

Gili works hard and travels far and wide to find people in need of goodwill.

It is an important role, and he takes his work very seriously. He steadfastly champions our mission of creating excellent work in a positive, productive, efficient, and healthy environment, and he regularly reminds us of the importance of a meaningful work-life balance.

Additionally, his work extends beyond our office to the world around him as he travels with us and encounters others in need of goodwill. His diligent efforts add immeasurable value both to those he meets and to ScriptAcuity Studio.

Gili fortifies his strength and indulges in some self-care after a day of spreading goodwill.

Please join us in welcoming him to his important new position. Gili invites you to reach out to him at gili@scriptacuity.com.

Celebrating Forty Million Words!

Photo by Joseph Chan on Unsplash

We’ve officially crossed the forty million–word mark!

That’s 40,000,000 words!

Forty million is more than twice the number of books in the Library of Congress.

Forty million is more than the number of miles between Mercury and Venus.

Forty million is more than the number of gallons of water in sixty Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Forty million is more than the number of pounds weighed by more than one hundred blue whales.

Forty million is more than the population of more than 161 nations in the world.

Forty million is more than the number of hours in 4,566 years!

We love what we do!

The Perils of Improper Punctuation

Editing for a living is great for many reasons, one of which is that there is such rich comedic material seemingly everywhere we look because we can’t turn off our editorial propensities. Take this rest-area notice, for example, discovered along our recent travels:

Sign on a Pennsylvania rest-area door.

Okay, so this tragically punctuated sign is funny, but many might ask, “So what? Most people understand the idea, right? What’s the big deal?”

Fair enough, theoretically; not everyone cringes (or, in our case, laughs heartily) at poor punctuation, and not everyone even notices it.

But is $5 million a big deal?

Photo by Quentin Dr on Unsplash.

In this February 9, 2018, Boston Globe article, the importance of proper punctuation was underscored. Oakhurst Dairy recently paid out $5 million to drivers following an overtime pay dispute based, in essence, on the lack of the serial comma (also called the Oxford comma) in Maine state law.

That, friends, is a lot of milk and butter.

Photo by Jorge Lázaro on Unsplash.

If your curiosity is piqued, check out the article for the nitty-gritty. Suffice it to say that the three truck drivers who homed in on the lack of a serial comma in that particular section of Maine state law and subsequently won $5 million for their four years’ worth of denied overtime pay should make every English teacher—and every editor—proud.

For more Quill & Ink fun with examples of punctuational disasters, check out our article “Happy National Punctuation Day!” from September 2017 and our September 2016 article, “Huh?”

Grammar and punctuation . . . they matter! Ignore at your peril!

Happy First Day of Spring!

Happy spring, everyone!

While we are no longer living north of the Forty-Fourth Parallel (or at least not full-time), it is still exciting to welcome spring and all that it promises.

It is also worth the optimism of springlike photographs!

I also really enjoy the glee heralded by last day of winter … in some ways even more than the first day of spring. While the first day of spring is like eagerly planting a flag on a long-anticipated and enticing patch of turf, dreaming of pleasant things to come, the last day of winter offers the smug satisfaction of accomplishment. Finishing the last page of a book, after all, is much more gratifying than finishing the first page of a new one.

Best wishes for your springtime! May the seeds you plant—whatever they may be—burst forth with all that makes your spirit sing.

Dangling Modifiers

One of the blessings of editing for a living is the unintentional hilarity that is so often peppered throughout our workdays when we discover words and phrases used in ways the authors had not intended. Recall from our September 2016 article “Huh?” that when words are strung together without clear intention, the message conveyed to readers is often not at all what the author had in mind. One of the many perks of this career is finding amusement in those unintended messages.

One rich source of seemingly unceasing amusement is the dangling modifier.

What is a dangling modifier (also called a misplaced modifier)?

Well, let’s start by explaining what modifiers are: in essence, they are words (and sometimes phrases) that provide additional detail and description about something. The often amusing dangling modifier, however, is one that leaves unclear that which is being modified.

While of course we would never use our authors’ working drafts to illustrate our point, it is always fair game to point out other examples already available for public consumption. Consider, for instance, this jim-dandy, which was intended as instructions for bottle-feeding a baby:

Yikes!
Courtesy of http://badnewspaper.com/2017/07/06/writing-skills-101/.

See anything wrong with this phrasing? (We sure hope you do if you have anything at all to do with feeding babies!)

As we’ve mentioned, while dangling/misplaced modifiers are often confusing, for editors in particular, they are also often downright hilarious. Here are some fantastic examples provided by the University of Wisconsin–Madison:

  • Driving like a maniac, the deer was hit and killed. (Why is this wrong? Because the deer was not the one driving.)
  • With his tail held high, my father led his prize poodle around the arena. (The poodle held his tail high, not the father.)
  • I saw the dead dog driving down the interstate. (Dogs can’t drive, and especially not dead dogs.)
  • He wore a straw hat on his head, which was obviously too small. (His head was obviously too small? Oh, my!)

Or these, offered by Eddie Snipes:

  • The woman walked the dog in purple suede cowboy boots. (’Twas the woman, not the dog, who wore the purple suede cowboy boots. As written, though, it sounds as though ’twas, in fact, the dog.)
  • We saw several monkeys on vacation in Mexico. (The monkeys weren’t the ones vacationing.)
  • I glimpsed a rat sorting the recyclable materials. (The rat wasn’t the one sorting the recyclable materials.)
  • Tom comes across a turtle on his way home from spending four years in prison. (An incarcerated turtle? What on earth did it do to get four years in prison?)
  • Pygmies hunted elephants armed with spears. (The elephants are not the ones armed with spears.)

As we’ve mentioned before, a big part of our job is to focus on an author’s intent and try to assist in selecting the most appropriate words to convey an intended message. Please check out our June 2016 article “What We Mean and What We Say” for more about this. By working with writers to increase their work’s clarity, editors can help writers to present themselves and most accurately impart their message, as we explained in our July 2014 article “Can’t You Just Run a Spell Check?”

Any thoughts to share? Questions? Reach out to us!

Quill & Ink Fall 2017/ Winter 2018

Behold! The latest and greatest issue of Quill & Ink is now available! In this issue, we talk about our most recent travels and the people and creatures we’ve encountered there. There is plenty to read and enjoy, and also check out our new layout and let us know what you think!

(Please click the image to view the latest issue.)

Please enjoy, and drop us a line with any questions, comments, or suggestions!

Happy Solstice … and Happy Holidays from the Sea!

Happy winter solstice! Sunlight is returning!

Atop Cadillac Mountain—the first place the sun rises in the United States.

If you are so inclined to celebrate, perhaps you may consider borrowing traditions from societies around our planet that have welcomed the lengthening days over many thousands of years. Forgive grudges, as did folks in ancient Rome, share food with others, as in the Polish tradition, or create your own way to celebrate the occasion. Light candles, invite loved ones to share a special meal or pause to remember those you cannot be with, volunteer, recommit to a goal or an ideal … or simply feel joyful that there will be more daylight tomorrow than there is today.

Though we all essentially experience the solstice at the same time, the ways we choose to acknowledge it can be entirely individualistic!

On a somewhat related note, when we sold our house in Vermont and embarked on this new adventure, we also sold or donated approximately 95 percent of our possessions—including our holiday decorations. Luckily, living at the sea, we do not feel we are lacking in joyful surroundings.

Our mascot perches on a windswept seaside rocky outcropping.
Not far from where we live is Bass Harbor. The sound of the buoys here is entrancing.
Seawall.
Along our daily morning stroll just after the first snowfall of the season.
Working fishing boats in the harbor.
The December 3 supermoon rising over Frenchman Bay.

Wishing you all peace and contentment and the very happiest of holidays!