Thursday, March 20, 2008

I Love Copy Editors

I've been carrying around my JEMMA HARTMAN manuscript for the last four days, pulling it out of its padded envelope and working on it in very odd places including a doctor's waiting room, the library, my daughter's basketball game, my son's volleyball game, and even while getting a pedicure. I could never do that if I was writing or revising. That takes way too much brain power and--for me anyway--silence. But I'm working on the copy editing, and that is fun, fun, fun!

You see, copy editing is really done by the copy editor. All I have to do is go through all the changes and ok them or alter them. That's easy work. But there are those pesky little questions the copy editor asks. For example: Why do the girls go to breakfast in their pajamas? (Answer: I don't know. They just do.) And...Is it really possible for Jemma to wake up to birds in late summer when birdsong is rarer? (Answer: Um, good question. Let me look that up on the web.) And... Wouldn't the girls come watch their friends in the sailing race? (Answer: Not if that means I have to rewrite an entire scene!)

But seriously, the copy editor is an amazing creature. She catches everything! Like calling a girl Tracey on one page and Tracy (no E) about a hundred pages later. Or in JULIA'S KITCHEN, the copy editor noticed I had Thunder the kitten eating from a can of tuna on one page and out of a bowl on another. Little mistakes like these are really hard for me to find because I am way too close to the story. If a copy editor hadn't called them to my attention, they'd be in my book forever. Ack!

Have you had a copy editor save you from making a dumb mistake? Or did something get by the editing process, and now you have to look at that glaring misstep every time you open your book? If so, leave me a comment. I'd love to hear your stories.

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