650 Books!

Today, we began work on our 650th book!

Interestingly enough, a quick peek at our records reveals that Sara received her very first manuscript to edit exactly ten years ago today—May 8, 2009.

Said another way, that is 650 books in 520 weeks. That equates to an average of 1.25 full-scale books every single week for ten consecutive years.

Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash

Active and Passive Voice

In books, classes, or seminars that teach writing techniques, writers often hear this tip:

Use active voice rather than passive voice.

While this is frequently recommended, as with many other writing suggestions, there are cases when writers disregard it.

Before we discuss those cases, it’s important to understand the difference between the active voice and the passive voice.

As the name implies, the active voice refers to writing where the subject of the sentence performs the action. Alternatively, passive voice refers to writing where the subject of the sentence is acted upon by the verb.

For example, observe the comical slogan on this Piggly Wiggly T-shirt, which demonstrates the active voice:

In this case, the subject (I) performs the action (dig) on the object (pig).

In passive voice, however, the sentence could be written thus:

The pig is dug by me

In this case, the subject in the sentence (pig) remains passive and receives the action (dug) by the object (me).

According to The Chicago Manual of Style (5.115 in the sixteenth edition; 5.118 in the seventeenth) and other sources, active voice should be used over passive voice, but not in all circumstances. What are some of those cases?

Here is one example from Chicago:

The choice between active and passive voice may depend on which point of view is desired. For instance, the mouse was caught by the cat describes the mouse’s experience, whereas the cat caught the mouse describes the cat’s.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Writing Center provides another example, to keep the subject and focus consistent:

The data processing department recently presented what proved to be a controversial proposal to expand its staff. After long debate, the proposal was endorsed by …

(Source: https://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/CCS_activevoice.html)

Do you have other examples of passive voice or situations where passive voice can be beneficial? Drop us a line and tell us!

Happy Winter Solstice!

We are all in for a treat this year—in addition to the winter solstice, the moon will be very nearly full—a confluence that, according to many sources, will not happen again until 2094—and the Ursid meteor shower is expected to simultaneously dazzle overhead. For many who love the night sky, it is inspiring and feels rather magical.

As we have noted in the past, solstices possess a unifying characteristic—everyone in the world experiences them more or less simultaneously, and they connect us with the celebratory traditions of countless cultures around the world. Perhaps consider borrowing one to welcome the lengthening days  … or simply sip some cocoa, toast your toes by a cozy fire, and rejoice in the start of the return to the light.

And, as a special treat, for our readers who celebrate Christmas, Gili, our goodwill ambassador, sends his special love and holiday greetings!

(Gili loves fan mail and always happily responds; he invites you to e-mail him at gili@scriptacuity.com!)

Happy Winter Solstice and Happy Holidays!

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.