I have a great respect for editors. They not only provide a fresh set of eyes on a manuscript, they provide a skilled set of eyes. An editor ferrets out inconsistencies in everything from style to punctuation; highlights places where clarity is lacking and confusion reigns; and just generally cleans up all manner of grammatical and narrative messes.
Muskoka Books’s Senior Editor Dominic edited Muskoka’s Main Street with a light touch. Mind you, this is a manuscript that has already had the scrutiny of five other people, two of them historians, two of them accomplished writers.
Even so, Dominic marked every page with corrections or suggested changes. For the most part, these had to do with punctuation or grammar, but he also pointed out places where I need to rewrite for clarity. All of his comments were helpful and will put the final polish to my words.
One thing for sure: I need to learn how to make an “em dash” properly in MS Word. I use em dashes a lot, and Dominic had to reformat every one. Did you know that there are three kinds of dashes? An em dash – a long dash - is used for an emphatic, explanatory or abrupt break in a sentence, like I used in this one. An “en dash” – short dash – is used to join inclusive numbers, like in all my chapter headings. “Chapter 1: The Road to Nowhere (1853-1859).” A hyphen (really short dash) is used in countless situations including compound words (snow-capped) but not - as I have learned because Dominic corrected me repeatedly in the manuscript – for compass points consisting of only two points (northwest).
Apologies to Dominic; I’m sure he’s been cursing me.