What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor and proofreader, and occasional indexer. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Perhaps the worst sentence I've read this decade

"One of the important contributions made to secondary theology by studies of these texts governed by, and subject to the disciplines appropriate to, literary, historical, and phenomenology of religion interests is the way they serve to discipline study governed by, and subject to the discipline appropriate to, theological interests (in ways in which God relates to all that is not God, who the God is who relates in these ways, how to understand other realities as God-related, and what counts as appropriate ways of responding to God's relating) by making unavoidably clear the concrete particularity of each of the texts on the canonical list, how they differ from one another in literary genres and rhetoric, their cultural assumptions, their theological assumptions and affirmations, their concrete historical occasions, and the particular situations to which they are addressed."

I am bouncing this one right back to the author. I mean, what are you supposed to do with something like this? Grammatically it is essentially correct, is it not? And it is by no means the most difficult concept presented in the book--far from it.

One of my other publishers would say to leave it alone--that it's the author's style, and anyone reading this tome would probably be right there along with per.

And this particular publisher's managing editor told me recently--in discussing some of the troubles with other publishing houses not sufficiently editing their books before they come to me for copyediting--that when a book comes to me for copyediting, I can pretty much assume that it's the way they want it, aside from the quality control function that a copyeditor brings.

Authors, if you're typing in 12-point Times and your sentence exceeds four lines, it's time to drop back and rewrite, unless you have a real solid reason not to do so. I don't think the passage above qualifies. I am querying it and saying, "Please try to break up into 2 or 3 sentences," but that's not even the point. The point is, who in their right mind composes something like this and thinks it's OK?

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