Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Fun: Cute Caps, Jane Austen's Mistakes, and More

Friday Fun, bits related (however loosely) to editing and writing, will be an occasional feature here.

  • Love typography? You'll like Daily Drop Cap. Typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische creates several imaginative initial caps each week, free for bloggers' use. I adore the Q, a whimsical tomato slice. 
  • Was Jane Austen a "sloppy writer"? Based on Austen's rough drafts, an Oxford professor has concluded that the author was a poor speller, an inconsistent punctuator, and no grammarian--and that her work must have undergone heavy editing before publication. But linguist Geoff Nunberg says that Austen's mistakes are excusable; in fact, they weren't necessarily mistakes. She was writing at a time in which the rules of spelling and punctuation were not yet firm. Nunberg writes: "What's remarkable about Austen is the way that artistry shows up even in those ragged manuscripts. The punctuation may look slapdash or peculiar to modern eyes, but those complex sentence structures are always already there." We editors would probably wouldn't mind correcting more mechanical errors if they were surrounded by solidly good writing!
  • On Twitter, @thecreativepenn linked to a Lifehacker post on favorite notebooks. Ninety-five percent of the writing I do now is on the computer, so my notebook nerdery has receded considerably, but as a teen, I was on an endless quest for the perfect notebook. The definition of "perfect" varied with my moods, but I remember being particularly enamored of fat five-subject notebooks. I filled them with cringe-worthy first chapters of "novels," lists of characters' names, and angsty journal entries. Nowadays, I just keep a small spiral-bound notebook to jot down notes about my current editing or proofreading project. Do you have a favorite notebook?
  • Speaking of nerdery, I'm looking forward to checking out Franklin and Eleanor, the story of the Roosevelts' unusual marriage. I was a bit of a presidents buff as a kid. Back then, old FDR was interesting to me primarily because he was president for twelve years, an unfathomably long time. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice news items! I recently started using a small notebook for taking notes on books, talks, and meetings. It's nice that it fits in my back pocket, so I can take it with me easily and not have to worry about forgetting to bring it home.


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