As some of my email buddies already know, I’ve come to the stage in editing when I check my MS obsessively, one feature at a time. There’s probably no more irksome character than the humble hyphen, and though I’d love to develop a devilmaycare attitude toward it (got the bugger right that time, I reckon!), my newest coinage is hyphenhate, so you can guess just how I feel after 39713 of them and still counting.

Nevertheless, it’s probably a sight easier to hyphenhate or even hyphenventilate than to decide whether ‘plummet from reach’ or ‘plunge out of range’ is more suggestive in a particular sentence (stomach plummeting/seal diving from harpoon – ah, never mind, you’ll just have to read Corvus, won’t you, to see what I finally choose), the latest of my weird obsessions.

This is also about the time when conventional publication, complete with copy editor, begins to seem appealing.