Buy Used
$3.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by hippo_books
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Elements of Editing Paperback – January 1, 1982


See all 18 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$24.95
Paperback, January 1, 1982
$7.50 $0.01

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: MacMillan Publishing Company.; 1st edition (January 1, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028614518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028614519
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,422,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arthur Plotnik, in spite of his funny name, is a versatile author with a distinguished background in editing and publishing. Two of his works have been featured as Book-of-the-Month Club selections: "The Elements of Editing," a standard reference through some 20 printings, and "The Elements of Expression: Putting Thoughts into Words." Reviewers have consistently praised Plotnik's writing for its accuracy, style, and wit, often ranking it with "The Elements of Style" (Strunk & White)in practicality. However, his popular "Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style" (Random House)challenges some of Strunk & White's inhibiting dictates as it guides the writer to more risk-taking, more adventurous, more publishable prose.

His latest book, published in June 2012 by Viva Editions (Berkeley, CA)completely updates "The Elements of Expression" in a revised and expanded edition. The previous year Viva published his "Better than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives," offering 6,000 alternatives to "great," "awesome," "amazing" and other shopworn terms of praise and acclamation. (www.freshsuperlatives.com) Former Poet Leaureate Billy Collins calls it "AMEN-ASTONISHING!"

A native of White Plains, N.Y., Plotnik studied under Philip Roth and Vance Bourjaily in the Iowa Writers Workshop. After an Army stint, he served as a staff writer on the Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union, where novelist-to-be William Kennedy worked across the city desk, puffing cigars.

Plotnik ground out 22 pseudonymnous potboilers for the Scott-Meredith Literary Agency, some of them while completing work on the second of two master's degrees (English, library service). In his return to respectability, he surfaced in Washington, D.C, as press and public relations assistant to the Librarian of Congress and newsletter editor. He was later a magazine editor in New York, where the second of his two daughters was born.

As a publisher, Plotnik brought five national awards to the American Library Association's book imprint. He won numerous honors also as editor of "American Libraries," ALA's flagship magazine.

Plotnik has written scores of magazine articles and columns, eight nonfiction books (including his first writer's guide, "The Elements of Authorship") and short stories and poems. He has appeared in publications ranging from "La Prensa" (Bolivia) and "Playboy" to "The New York Times" and "Los Angeles Times." A contributor to "The Writer Magazine" and member of its editorial board, he has also contributed to "Britannica Book of English Usage" and the "American English" column of "American Way" in-flight magazine.

A passionate observer of trees, he is author of "The Urban Tree Book: An Uncommon Field Guide for City and Town," illustrated by his wife, the artist Mary H. Phelan. "The New York Times Book Review" called this work "indispensable." On July 4 of the Constitution's 200th birthday year (1987), the National Archives published his "The Man Behind the Quill," a biography of the Constitution's calligrapher, Jacob Shallus. The award-winning book was highlighted in "Time" magazine and praised as "a small miracle of research."

A popular speaker, Plotnik taught briefly in the journalism department at Columbia College in Chicago. Special honors include service as a charter board member, American Book Awards, and first place in the prestigious "Verbatim" national competition for essays on the English language. He is listed in "Who's Who," "Contemporary Authors," "Journalists of the United States, and other directories of writers and journalists. He lives in Chicago with his wife, the artist Mary H. Phelan, and is represented by literary agent Roger Williams of New England Publishing Associates.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
Plotnick's book may be a tad dated, but his insight into the process of editing and the relationships formed about editors and the rest of the publishing crew are insightful and sound. The book doesn't pretend to be an exhaustive look at the minutiae of editing, but rather to set the stage for the intelligent person to gain context on what goes into making a good editor, along with some of the frustrations along the way. Good primer for the editor's shelf. I've been in the business about 20 years and wish I'd had something like this when I started out.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By consumer123 on April 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
Whilst the other reviewers loved to thrash a decent book, I for one would like to throw in my two pennies in defense of this fine book. It's not as useful or insightful as I thought it would be, but for a beginner it contains a lot of interesting anecdotes for those who haven't really stepped into the publishing world. The section on printing and photography is very good for giving a general idea which is exactly what I needed. Not the Bible it could've been, but still worth its existence. Want something better, just buy the Chicago Manual of Style.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mike Sarzo on January 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
As someone who has edited newspapers at the college level, I thought I was getting something that would give me a great reference point for a future in journalism. Plotnik's book assumes that the reader has experience with journalism but is new to editing. It is not intended to be a primer showing the would-be editor how to edit; rather, it is designed to be a guide into avoiding pratfalls that can befall a novice (or even a veteran) editor.
While I am fairly pleased with the extent of his advice that can be translated from the time he wrote the edition I am reading - 1982 - into modern times, I am dismayed that the technology he refers to is so outdated. The modern editor does not have to spend 10 minutes staring at a proof page to look at how to set type any longer thanks to technology desktop publishers have at their fingertips.
Plotnik would have been much better served if he had someone well-versed in modern publishing technology update his technical knowledge base.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Much of the information in Arthur Plotnik's book has failed the test of time. It's not any fault of his that technology has advanced, writing and editing practices have changed, or useful references have been supplanted by more current useful references. It is unfortunate that this book was marketed as a parallel to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, which has passed the test of time.

Read this book anyway for the things which have not changed since 1982. Plotnick's first chapter on the Editorial Personality is candid and well-targeted. He distinguishes the "bad compulsiveness" of fussing over minor grammar and formatting rules from the "good compulsiveness" of following up with writers, re-reading new drafts completely, and keeping projects on schedule. Plotnik's insights about the uneasy alliance between editors and authors are concentrated in Chapter 3, but available throughout the book. He offers good advice for producing quality writing while balancing delicate issues of psychological ownership and voice. "Ideally, the war between editors and authors should be won by neither belligerent, but by the readers." (p. 31).

This books observations on the social dynamics of editing are recommended to both editors and authors. Just read around the other parts. It's worth the effort. Readers looking for more useful guidance about editing for writers may want to read Susan Bell's The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Much of the information in Arthur Plotnik's book has failed the test of time. It's not any fault of his that technology has advanced, writing and editing practices have changed, or useful references have been supplanted by more current useful references. It is unfortunate that this book was marketed as a parallel to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, which has passed time's test.

Read this book anyway for the things which have not changed since 1982. Plotnick's first chapter on the Editorial Personality is candid and well-targeted. He distinguishes the "bad compulsiveness" of fussing over minor grammar and formatting rules from the "good compulsiveness" of following up with writers, re-reading new drafts completely, and keeping projects on schedule. Plotnik's insights about the uneasy alliance between editors and authors are concentrated in Chapter 3, but available throughout the book. He offers good advice for producing quality writing while balancing delicate issues of psychological ownership and voice. "Ideally, the war between editors and authors should be won by neither belligerent, but by the readers." (p. 31).

This book's observations on the social dynamics of editing are recommended to both editors and authors. Just read around the other parts. It's worth the effort. Readers looking for more useful guidance about editing for writers may want to read Susan Bell's The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book was first published in 1982. Since then a lot has happened in the world of 'publication'. In his last chapter Plotnik does take a look at the electronic future, wonders if the editor will be obsolete, insists he will still be the same underpaid communicator and connections- person he was then. Plotnik sees the advantages in efficiency and speed of the computer - revolution, though his work was written before the Internet came into being, and showed us all that the Universe of words which is being daily produced needs a lot more editing than it is being given.
In any case a veteran journalist and editor Plotnik has written a highly informative guide. He has chapters on the Editorial Personality, on Ten Basic Steps in Processing a Manuscript, on the relation between Editor and Writer, on Line Editors and their Craft, on Copyright, on the Book Editor, on Art for Communication's Sake, On Basic Photography for the Editor. Again the Afterword is on the Electronic editor.
Here is one small example of the kind of sage advice Plotnik provides in this work.
" In my experience I have found that two editorial- level readings of galleys and two of pages will catch 99 percent of the errors. Unfortunately, the remaining one percent are so often the mistakes that cause not just embarrassment, but trouble- for example, erroneous numbers for ordering merchandise or securing additional information, misspelled names in bibliographies, and transposed identifications under portraits."
This work may not cover the most recent developments in the world of publishing, but it still has plenty of useful advice on the whole business of editing.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?