I’m working on copyedits again, or rather I’m reviewing the edits my copyeditor did.
I actually don’t know much of anything about my copy editor save handful of initials on the Track Changes comments. There might actually be two of them on this one. I’m not sure.
But here’s what my copy editor does for me:
1) Cleans up my grammar
In the first book, the copy editor tried to convert my weird English to standard Chicago Style English. I used words like afterwards and towards, mixed up awaken and woken, and had some questionable punctuation.
In Book 2, I’ve fixed the ‘wards’ problem, got woken worked out, but other quirks/problems exist.
a) I’m bad with which/that.
b) I actually have a lie/lay error!
c) I keep putting in ‘de’ in Portuguese terms, even when I KNOW it’s wrong. Thank God this editor caught this (in two different places). I feel stupid, and I don’t know why I put de there.
And here are two interesting ones:
d) I tend to write “He only had a dog.” The correct construction is “He had only a dog.”
e) I use “different than” when the preferred construction is “different from”
I don’t even notice that I do these two, and I think it will take twenty books before I successfully eradicate them.
2) Checks my continuity
Every time I edit, it creates continuity errors, and I seem to be blind to them. I hate this, and this is one of the reasons that a good copy editor is a blessing.
a) I had a day of the week wrong at a chapter heading (Thurs. instead of Tues.)
b) He/she had to point out a handful of instances where I’d made a mistake with an object. (“He threw that gun away two paragraphs ago, can’t do it again”….that sort of thing.)
It’s embarrassing when I see the mistakes, but I’m very grateful the editor is there to ping me on them. They spare me a lot of pain down the road and make me look better than I really am.
Also, the last time I did copy edits, I didn’t check for continuity, assuming that all the continuity issues would be caught. This time I’m doing it at this phase so that my editor won’t have to mess with as much at the Page Proof phase. Also, I’m having to insert a couple of sentences in chapter 1 because there’s a minute continuity issue between books 1 and 2. There’s no way the copy editor would have caught that since I’m fairly certain that this isn’t the same copy editor as book 1 (guessing by style).
So that’s the process as it stands on Book 2. I would like to believe that by Book 3? 4? 7? they will no longer be able to find anything to quibble over (other than the occasional dangling preposition.)
Not likely, but it’s still nice to have a dream…