About 60 word nerds gathered at the Gleacher Center last night to hear University of Chicago Press senior manuscript editor Carol Fisher Saller talk about her book The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice From Chicago (or, How to Negotiate Good Relationships With Your Writers, Your Colleagues, and Yourself).

Saller also is the editor of the Chicago Manual of Style‘s insightful and entertaining Chicago Style Q&A. (She was profiled in the Reader, though she preferred to remain anonymous back then, in a 2007 story).

Sample question and answer:

Q. I am editing a collection of poems. My poet is inclined to use ellipses and em dashes extensively and incorrectly. I argued that this will detract from the manuscript and be distracting for readers. She argued that it’s a style thing and I shouldn’t change it. Who is right? Does the poet get complete license?

A. Poets do tend to resist editing—they’re so sure that everything they do is inspired by genius. Fortunately, readers tend to buy into this. Your role is just to query and then let it go.