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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To cut a long story short, the last weeks I've been working with two different editors. Both are great people and each has brought her own strengths to my story. However there was a disagreement in their approach to one formatting issue. It might be awkward bringing this discrepancy to the attention of both editors. But since there are very distinguished editors frequenting these boards, I'm hoping one might kindly spare a few moments clearing this up.

Here are three examples of the same point of contention, more or less.

Editor A... Which toy should I speak to first? puzzled Solomon.
Editor B... Which toy should I speak to first? Puzzled Solomon.

Editor A... Am I any closer to finding my Princess? wondered Solomon, sliding down a crease in a curtain to the floor.
Editor B... Am I any closer to finding my Princess? Wondered Solomon, sliding down a crease in a curtain to the floor.

Finally a slightly different example.
Editor A... But by the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, Solomon was thinking, Perhaps they are right; maybe I should just forget the Girl…?
Editor B... But by the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, Solomon was thinking, perhaps they are right; maybe I should just forget the Girl…?

Since I am not one hundred percent certain myself, I'd like to know: is there one definitively correct answer to which editor's advice is right?

With gratitude for your time and help. :)
 

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I'm not an editor, but IMHO Editor A is right, every time.  You don't capitalize "puzzled" or "wondered" after a thought (just as you wouldn't write, "Which toy should I speak to first?" Said Solomon).  And the beginning of the thought should be capitalized, just as spoken words would be.
 

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I found myself considering the same issue while writing my book, and version A just looked right. So that's what I went with. It might not be technically correct, but it didn't offend the eye as much as version B - and you really don't want anything that snaps the reader back to reality.
 

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I believe A is correct. Also, I"m wondering about one thing.

You have: Am I any closer to finding my Princess? wondered Solomon, sliding down a crease in a curtain to the floor.

Versus: Am I any closer to finding my Princess? Solomon wondered, sliding down a crease in a curtain to the floor.

Structurally, it's the same as, "Hurry and eat your ice cream," said he, and, "Hurry and eat your ice cream," he said. The first isn't technically incorrect, but sounds archaic.
 

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Editor A is right. Editor B is capitalizing words that fall in the middle of a sentence. Dialog tags are not capitalized if they are not a full sentence on their own (except when they precede the dialog). Also, Dialog itself has an initial cap, even internal dialog like #3.

You know, a great way to check this stuff out, and also to make an attempt to learn it for yourself, is just to pick up a mainstream published book from your shelf (if you still have a mainstream published book, and shelves) and see how it's handled there.

Teresa
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
In my first post I neglected to mention that in addition to editors, there are also many very distinguished writers frequenting these boards.

Thank you everyone for your comments and help clearing this up!

jillmyles said:
Editor A. Editor B is scaring me.
Editor B was brought in for her paragraph breaking speciality, on the recommendation of Editor A, who laid no claim to expertise in that area. But I must admit, after three thorough passes by Editor A, I am inclined not to trust Editor B's comments that "the manuscript needs further editing". "Is it only half done?" she asked. ???

MichaelWallace said:
I believe A is correct. Also, I"m wondering about one thing.

You have: Am I any closer to finding my Princess? wondered Solomon, sliding down a crease in a curtain to the floor.

Versus: Am I any closer to finding my Princess? Solomon wondered, sliding down a crease in a curtain to the floor.

Structurally, it's the same as, "Hurry and eat your ice cream," said he, and, "Hurry and eat your ice cream," he said. The first isn't technically incorrect, but sounds archaic.
Thank you very much Michael for that additional suggestion.
 

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But I must admit, after three thorough passes by Editor A, I am inclined not to trust Editor B's comments that "the manuscript needs further editing".
I don't wish to be rude about it, but I would approach Editor B's suggestions with caution, at least with regards to copyediting (story editing may be a different matter). These are pretty basic things she's getting wrong, IMHO.
 

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Editor A is correct.

However, I also agree with Michael Wallace. If I were editing for you, I would put the name first.

It is a form of "dialogue tag."

With dialogue tags, when I see the name after "said" and such words, I always think of:

"See Spot run," said Dick.
"Spot runs fast," said Jane.

:D :D

That said, I do admit that a couple of my clients insist on using that form. It's not technically wrong; I just don't happen to like it.   ;)
 

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EllenFisher said:
I don't wish to be rude about it, but I would approach Editor B's suggestions with caution, at least with regards to copyediting (story editing may be a different matter). These are pretty basic things she's getting wrong, IMHO.
This!

Also, be extra careful of any editor trying to charge you more for a "second pass."

I have heard many horror stories regarding situations like that.
 

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Wow... yeah, methinks you need to stay far, far away from Editor B.  File a restraining order!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
RedAdept said:
"See Spot run," said Dick.
"Spot runs fast," said Jane.

:D :D
Good old Dick and Jane. They just don't write stories like that any more! :p

Thanks for popping in RedAdept. (Goes to check RA editing schedule for next book)

Ann in Arlington said:
"A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure." ::) :D
Indeed.

I appreciate everyone's advice about caution with Editor B's unsolicited suggestions to my manuscript. In fairness she appears to have done a good job with the paragraphing I wanted help with, so I shall probably leave it at that.
 

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Alchemy said:
I appreciate everyone's advice about caution with Editor B's unsolicited suggestions to my manuscript. In fairness she appears to have done a good job with the paragraphing I wanted help with, so I shall probably leave it at that.
There's one other thing to keep in mind. I have worked in editing before, including work on several NY Times bestsellers, but I am brought in to fix structural problems. I have a reasonably good lay understanding of rules like the above, but this is not my strength. My strength is book doctoring, identifying plot holes and giving suggestions about improving the sophistication or flow of the language.

Along similar lines, Editor B could still be a valuable resource, providing you understand her strengths and her limitations. If you need that final polish, however, Editor A sounds like your best choice.
 
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