How Nancy Drew Inspired Me to Be a Copy Editor

By Alyssa Mielke

I debated starting this blog with a mediocre introduction riddled with grammar mistakes to make a point about how important grammar is (especially to a literary journal), but I hated myself for it. Instead, have this: Hi, my name is Alyssa Mielke (pronounced “Milky”), and I’m lactose intolerant! I am an English major with a concentration in professional writing looking to go into copy editing, and I am also the managing editor for Metonym.

Welcome to the Metonym blog! We at Metonym are ecstatic to begin a new phase of reaching readers and to do that, we’ve decided to run a blog with posts by those in our staff. As a woman that can (and will) talk about grammar endlessly, I asked the staff if I could begin a series on grammar. I was met with a standing ovation and a few tears of joy, so, naturally, I began writing.

When I was an adolescent, I spent the majority of my time reading. In third grade, my teacher told my mom that she was amazed at how often I had my nose in a book. I even read in the silence between words in spelling tests because Mrs. Burns always gave too much time for each word. In elementary school, my series of choice was the Nancy Drew mysteries. Despite them being well-written, it was inevitable that a grammar mistake or two slipped its way through all the proofreads, and so I would mentally note the mistakes I came across. (Writing in library books was a lesser sin only to having sticky fingers while reading library books, so forgive me for not annotating as an 8-year-old. Unless you dislike writing in books. Then I’ll clarify that I only reserve it for the second read-through of deserving literature.)

The clearest memory I have of searching for mistakes in Nancy Drew stories was when I read through #49: The Secret of Mirror Bay. An old man was telling ghost stories that spanned many paragraphs, but there were no quotation marks to close his paragraphs until the very last one. I thought it was a typo until it kept reappearing and I realized that maybe I had been wrong.

Or maybe I just hadn’t been taught yet.

My paramount goal for this series is to highlight some of the less popular grammar tips. Things that will make you say “Oh, that makes sense” (in those exact words—nothing less will do). Maybe you already know most of these tips because you also adore grammar. I hope that this will be a time for you to refresh your mind. Or, maybe you don’t know the first thing about grammar except that sometimes you capitalize the first letter of brand name products and other times Apple products just like to screw with you a bit. That’s okay! That is why I’m here.

My secondary goal is to give you a break from Keith, our executive editor, and his … extensive vocabulary. If you have not yet read his blog post from earlier this week, I suggest you skim it. You will instantly feel 3% smarter with an 11% increase in your vocabulary. I certainly did. (Jokes aside, Keith is a wonderful writer and addition to our team with a brain as large as my dorm room.)

For this post, however, I want you to feel comfortable. You’ll be seeing me pop up in your news feed occasionally, and I understand that sometimes you will want to scroll past. My writing style may not interest you, or perhaps you just despise grammar and could not care less. My hope is that after reading this, you have a good understanding of where I come from and are interested in learning how grammar is beautiful.

Take care.