Thursday, May 21, 2015

T is for THE

Debra feels there is a time and place to capitalize those 'small' words.

Any writer knows that a good editor is essential. Whether you're 'traditionally' published or an indie, having someone help you fine-tune your work is a must.

I have always been fortunate to work with really great editors. When I started my career with Wild Rose, I was assigned a fabulous editor whose 'voice' I still hear in my head when I write. When she moved on, I received a new editor, and we've been working together ever since.

Together (another T word!) is the right word. When it gets to the editing stages of a book, we work collaboratively to polish it up to make it the best it can be.

An editor who knows his/her stuff is key, but when that editor will take it one step further and go to bat for you with higher ups, then you know you have a gem.

Right now Christmas at The Corral is in the waiting-for-a-cover stage. To give you a bit of background and to explain my issue with lower case versus upper case for the word THE, it's the first in a holiday spin-off set at The Corral, the bar when my trilogy takes place. I've always referred to The Corral with both letters in the title capitalized, since it's the name of the place. Proper nouns and all that. When I wrote This Feels Like Home, I worked with a different editor (since it featured a bullrider and thus fell into TWRP's western line) who insisted the T in The Corral should be lower case based on some new formatting manual. It drove me crazy that it didn't match how I'd used it in the first two books, but it wasn't worth a total knock-down-drag-out, so I let it go. When I wrote the Christmas spin-off I went back to my traditional way of using the capital T.

During the editing process I got an e-mail from my editor asking which was the proper way to refer to it. I told her of my preference for the capital and the issue in Home. She went to bat for me with the copy editor and sent me this message:

Well, it's RIGHT in this one! I argued with the CE that it's the NAME of the place. She cited CMOS rules. I said, "Tell that to the owner of the bar."

I had a smile on my face the rest of the day. (Of course when I got the galley back to proof, there were still a few places where it needed to be fixed again, including all of the headings on the odd numbered pages, so I am curious to see how it comes out on the cover. I should be taking bets on whether the T is capitalized or not.)

Moral of the story? When you find a good editor: keep her, trust (another good T word!) her, and she'll have your back.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. Wow. It seems to me if The Corral is the name of the bar, the T should be capitalized. I think the Chicago Manual of Style would agree, but maybe they've updated.
    Interesting behind the scenes peek, Debra.

    1. Thanks Ana. That's where I was coming from since it was the name of the bar.

  2. I LOVE your editor's response! You're right, a good working relationship is key.

  3. The editor was right! Of course The has a capital when it's the title of an establishment!
    Agree about the importance of a good editor. One of the reasons I left my first publisher was an editor who wanted to change things in my story to Americanisms and American spelling. I had to argue the toss with her several times.

    1. She'd probably object to "argue the toss" too!

    2. LOL, probably! And she'd have a fit at my Irish words too! Fortunately my current publisher/editor is far more open-minded!

    3. I've been very, very lucky with my editors.

      I don't often 'argue' about edits unless I feel strongly about something. If I majorly disagree about a change or comment, I'll add my own comment explaining my side of things. We're always able to come to an understanding!

    4. I had to argue several things with the WCP Senior Editor, especially as she wasn't consistent with her 'Americanisation' of my words e.g. she changed 'programme' to 'program' on one page, but left it as 'programme' two pages later! Also, she absolutely refused to accept that in the UK 'newsagent' is spelled as one word not two! Needless to say, I was not happy with many aspects of the WCP editing, and I know of other authors who left WCP because of this particular editor!

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