Things that I have been unduly excited about since I discovered they were a Thing:
– Flannel sheets
– Bat boxes that have the Batman logo
– Copy edits
One of the things I’ve realized I’m good at over the years has been picky details. Since learning the exact nature of copy editing, I’ve been more than a little eager to see them in the inky flesh. Going through a novel line by line, hunting out spelling and grammatical errors, as well as continuity errors, sounds like my kind of party.
But ohmygoodness, was I not prepared for the style sheet.
See, in order to catch those continuity errors, a copy editor must first figure out what the continuity is. Which for any book can be a load of biscuits and fun, but for fantasy novels gets even trickier. All those made up terms and systems – aka worldbuilding – become Real. And the copy editor must not only understand those terms, but make sure they’re used consistently within the established rules of the world.
So they make a style sheet. And in it, they list all of the characters, major or minor or sub-minor, and their relationships to the other characters. They also list all the bizarre terms you made up. They also create a timeline. It’s meticulous and it’s picky and it’s beautiful.
If this whole writing thing doesn’t work out, I think I’ll try my hand at copy-editing. Just saying.
If it’s weird to see all your made-up people and terms treated like Real, it’s even weirder to see the copy edit document itself. I knew it’d be marked up. What I didn’t realize was that it’d be formatted to look like a book. Guys. This is getting legit.
I did a first pass of the copy edits already, and it doesn’t look nearly as frightening or intimidating as I’d feared/expected. I’ll take my time going over each change, but so far it breaks down to:
– 94% changing an en dash to an em dash
– 2.7% saving my bacon by catching continuity errors
– 1.2% fixing typos/homophones
– 2.1% highlighting echoes*
Bless you, Copy Editor. And bless all copy editors everywhere, because it takes a very keen and practiced eye to catch this stuff.
Progress will slow a little on book 3 while I go through my copy edits, but I planned for that and also one of these is due MUCH sooner than the other, so.
Here’s current progress on Book Three, working title The Unconquered City, the story of an assassin turned monster hunter who’s really sick of people threatening her city. Now with more! terse conversations, monster hunters, and quiet cups of tea.
Project: Book Three, Draft 0.5
Current word count: 24558 / 80000 words. 31%
Fancy bracelets: 2
Awkward conversations: 4
Broken glass: All of it
3 thoughts on “From the Debut Trenches: The Copy Edits Are Among Us”
Those bat boxes are amazing. Love them! And couldn’t live without flannelette sheets in winter. 🙂 Sounds like you’re doing great with the copy edits! I felt like writing an apology letter to my copy editor after she found about the 4th variation of the same phrase I’d used with different capitalisation every time. 🙂
I know what you mean! My CE corrected so much punctuation (errant commas, too) that I want to send them some flowers, at least.
“Going through a novel line by line, hunting out spelling and grammatical errors, as well as continuity errors, sounds like my kind of party. […] It’s meticulous and it’s picky and it’s beautiful. If this whole writing thing doesn’t work out, I think I’ll try my hand at copy-editing.”
If that’s how you truly feel about copyediting, go for it, whether the writing works out or not. (I knew I couldn’t be the only person in the world who enjoys copyediting.)
Also, congratulations on having something other than comma glitches as the main issue in your own manuscript.