November 12, 2020
Cissy Lincoln is the kind of person who speaks in exclamation points. But please, don’t over-use them in your writing.
“I’m a grammar maven!” Cissy declared of her 18 years as proofreader at Clovernook Center’s Braille Printing House. “I hate to see bad grammar. It burns me.”
Cissy, who gives second-round proof readings, has caught a lot of errors over the years, ensuring that the printing house’s endusers receive clean, grammatically correct books and magazines. She chatted with us to talk about music, her favorite food, and what else fills her life.
Question: If you could give writers one piece of proofreader advice, what would it be?
Answer: Use your own eyeballs and proofread your own writing before you submit it to your proofreader. There are books out there, and magazines too, that have so many errors.
Q: What is your biggest proofreading pet peeve?
A: Paragraph problems! Text that gets indented like a paragraph that should just be a continuation, or text that’s a continuation that should be a paragraph. Good glory you can’t even figure out where a paragraph should be?
Q: What is the most important skill you bring to your job?
A: Attention to detail. You can know the rules like the back of your hand, but if you are not laser-focused on every character, on every space, on every utterance of your copy holder (who reads the copy), you can make an error.
Q: What was your favorite project at the Printing House?
A: A magazine called The Upper Room. It was a religious magazine but the meditations were personal anecdotes and they had bible verses. It was well written. It was typically filled with errors, but I loved the anecdotes.
Q: If you could eat only one food, what would it be?
A: Any fish that’s not spicy and over-breaded.
Q: What would most people be surprised to know about you?
A: That I am a bluegrass music lover! Not the progressive stuff, but Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, Ralph Stanley – classic bluegrass music.
Q: What three words describe your work?
A: Diverse, because we do so many publications. Challenging, because you’ve got to remember so many rules. And intense, depending on what I’m proofreading. Playboy, that’s not going to be emotionally intense … but if I’m proofreading a Danielle Steel book, oh my goodness.
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