KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Editing Déjà Vu

I edit so many medical-journal articles that I forget each of them very quickly after having finished them. I guess that that's my brain's way of clearing space for incoming details that must be stored.

It's crunch time for one of the journals I edit: Another issue is coming up soon, so I have all of the issue's articles on my computer's hard drive, ready for me to start editing. So this evening, wanting to quickly get that feeling of relief at having made progress, I chose the shortest article, a 7-page case history report, from the "unedited" subfolder of the "issues in progress" folder, copied it to the "edited" folder, and began working on it.

Hmmm, I thought after a while. Didn't I recently work on a manuscript about an unusual presentation of hypotension? ... Nah, probably just remembering another hypotension manuscript. But I kept having that same nagging sense of déjà vu. So I opened up the "edited" subfolder within the "issues completed" folder, and lo and behold, there was an article with a similar file name. I had already edited the manuscript ... at the beginning of January. Ah, well, not much time wasted, as my time clock told me that I'd spent only 15 minutes reediting.

Curious, I split my computer screen and then opened up the previously edited version of the file next to the newly edited version. I was surprised to find that I had made almost exactly the same edits to both documents. I guess that means that it's possible to identify an editor's editing style. But that just felt so weird. I'd never realized that I'm so predictable. ;-)


Caryn Sobel said...

I prefer "consistent" to "predictable." :)

Funny about Money said...

How funny! I actually have had that happen to me. My (mercifully former) assistant, La Morona, was relegated to editing the most mind-numbing publication that came through our office. I used to do first edits on all incoming copy. She would often lose track of what she had done, and every now and again she would hand me something that I'd already read. Not once, but twice I got well into the things before realizing the stuff sounded familiar not because of its endlessly hackneyed cant and endlessly repetitious jargon, but because I'd already read that particular passage of hackneyed cant.

Betcha this one tops it, though: Some years ago, when I was associate editor of _Arizona Highways_, I handed my M.E. a memo about some damnfool worthless topic, only to walk by and see he had pulled it off his slush pile and was sitting there assiduously editing the thing!

When I worked up the nerve to point out that it wasn't copy, it was just the usual office schlock, he looked a little stunned and said, "Oh!"

your sassy reporter said...

your own style of editing just shows i guess.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Hey, Funny—Arizona Highways—too cool! I was born in Arizona, when my father was in mandatory basic training. My parents and I ended up spending years in Texas, where my parents always had a subscription to Texas Highways, which I read assiduously.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

Hey, Sassy—thanks for stopping by.

wordywifey said...

It's nice to read that you quickly forget about the articles you edit. I edit many science journal articles and I've felt bad that I couldn't tell anyone the next day what I had worked on. I thought I should at least be able to summarize the article in a couple of sentences. But I suppose it's as you say, my brain needs to clear space for the next one. But I haven't accidentally edited anything twice yet.

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