The Telemachus Press Blog


Until recently, I still vigorously exercised my red pen on hard copy manuscripts for editing purposes.  I had to be hauled, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.  I still love my red pen; I had wielded it mightily and felt disloyal abandoning the little guy.  Although, I rationalized that my concern was being driven by environmental consciousness and saving trees, let me confess something here:  My biggest fear was that I was, and always will be, a misfit in the I-Pod era.

So . . . now I am not only making The Sierra Club proud, but I am quite a bit more efficient.  I work on a computer with MS Word documents and the track changes feature of that program.  Being the ferocious bully that I am, I force all of our authors to use track changes, too.  For those of you who don’t use it – a quick review.  If you already have track changes under your belt, skip the next paragraph.

Quick review:  I get your manuscript as a Word document in black font.  I “turn on” track changes.  The track changes feature is found under the review tab.  It has a drop down menu; choose track changes.  When I find an error, for example, I believe a comma should be added, I add the comma.  It shows up in red.  When the manuscript is returned, you right click on each red mark.  A window will show up offering the author the opportunity to accept or reject each change (I think of them as suggestions).  After you have either accepted or rejected a change, it again becomes black.  For a more detailed explanation, along with visual aids, see:

Now that this killer-of-forests and budding techie has accustomed herself to track changes, I wouldn’t work on manuscripts any other way.  But there does seem to be a generational effect on the learning curve.  If one is elderly, like me, a boomer-plus person, losing the red pen is difficult.  Becoming skilled at new computer tricks is even more difficult.  My partners at Telemachus Press insisted that I was up to the task.  I will admit to having been a little skeptical at the time.

The point of the story:  a black manuscript (an expression I created for simplicity’s sake) is one that has gone through the track changes process and has become devoid of all red marks.  It has been professionally edited, suggestions have been considered by the author and it is ready for the public.  It is now a black manuscript.

Posted in: Editing Services

Related Images

  • The Black Manuscript