Monday, April 20, 2009

Intro to Copy Edits

I received my copy edits for THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS on Friday. Each new stage is like Christmas. Sure there is worry about how much work there is to do or what kind of CE edited my work, but despite all that, it really is like waking up on x-mas morning and seeing presents under the tree. Of course, in between those stages, I go back to feeling like a hermit writer still knocking on doors, LOL.

Anyway, copy edits arrive. And after, 'oh crap, now what? moment', I open, scan, and find that I've gotten a very light copy edit from a wonderful CE who was incredibly respectful of my voice and didn't really try to change anything of that nature.

So what exactly entails a copy edit you might wonder? A copy editor goes word by word over the manuscript looking for spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistencies (i.e., "Hero has blue eyes on pg 2 and green on pg 245") and they write queries to the author about, say a confusing line of dialogue or an action that doesn't make sense. A very cool part of the process involves a style sheet, which lists the manual of style the CE used, a glossary of unique words used in the manuscript and those that are often misused/spelled/or whatnot. Then, comes the awesome 'world' glossary with all your characters, descriptions, worlds, languages, meanings, weapons, and nearly every small detail you can possibly imagine . . . Yeah, I was squeeing, it was so cool.

Then, came her marks, in pencil, on the actual manuscript. These, I must read through and either leave alone or indicate that I do not accept the change (to do that, I write STET in a different color pencil to differentiate my marks from hers). But seriously, her edit is so good, I have yet to write STET. This is also an opportunity for me to make any last minute fixes to the manuscript, so it needs to be read over very carefully line by line. Once all is perfect, I'll mail the ms. back to my editor, but not before going to Kinko's and making an extra copy 'cus you never know . . . The last thing I want is the ms. to get lost and have to re-do the entire edit and hold up the production process.

So that's a wrap on Intro to Copy Edits. Any questions, comments, or things to add? See me after class. :D


Niki Smith said...

I'm actually kind of surprised! I figured this would be sent back and forth digitally, using Track changes, or something. What do I know, I guess!

The story/character bible sounds amazing, though. :) Having someone actually quantify the amount of detail you've put into a world.
And I know I'm guilty of forgetting to consistently draw a character's necklace throughout a scene and things like that!

K. said...

I've heard of some publishers sending their copy edits in Word.

My revisions from my editor were all done electronically, but I got the copy edits on a hard copy. So who knows. It's slightly different at each House, I think. :-)

Jax Cassidy said...

Squeal. Congrats on the final process before publication history...I am so excited for you!

Unknown said...

Wow- Very interesting to get a peek at the process. Love the idea of the glossaries. Must feel wonderful to have your work being so carefully tended. Congrats!

K. said...

Thanks, Jax!

The glossary is wonderful, Sue! I'm going to save it 4-evah. :D

Tia Nevitt said...

What a great post! I had no idea they did so much for you. I would be squeeing too!

DeadlyAccurate said...

Niki sent me this link in Twitter when I was wondering about stylesheets. Thanks for the informative post!

K. said...

Sure thing! Hope it helped!