Monday, July 13, 2009

Ouch! Copy Edits

For the past week I've been working on copy edits for Swoon At Your Own Risk, my young adult novel that comes out April 5, 2010.

The copy edit stage (which comes after story revisions are complete) always makes me wince with ignorance. I almost always discover that I've been spelling something wrong for my entire life. This time I misspelled "lightning" as in a big storm (I wrote "lightening" as in what happens to blond hair in the sun). 

I also discovered that I really don't understand the concept of hyphenation (apparently things change when adjectives get involved). And of course I had many stray commas floating around the story--like confetti!

And then there were all the consistency problems. Stuff I said on page 37 didn't jibe with stuff I said on page 88. Plenty of other stuff didn't make sense either. So I rewrote, clarified, and cringed.

But I really, truly love copy editors. They're like the friend you can always count on to tell you the brutal truth. I wish I could take my copy editor with me when I go shopping for jeans! 


  1. HAA!! That's awesome. I just had a mutual agent of ours say something to me like, "I know that people sometimes actually say 'for pity sakes' but since it's a book, you should be grammatically correct and say, 'for pity's sake." Um, yeah. I TOTALLY knew that. AND I never say that myself. Ever. I mean for god sakes.

  2. Teenagers don't talk like the Chicago Manual of Style, do they?

    Thanks for your comment--made me laugh : )

  3. Ha!! I know EXACTLY what you're talking about. :) I realized I do NOT understand all. And I found out there is no 'm' in voluptous.

  4. That's so funny, Amy! Volumptuous sounds more voluptuous doesn't it? That "m" gives it more curves or something. Maybe everyone else should change!

  5. Adding the 'm' sounds good to me. Also, me adding another 'u' to actually spell it correctly would be good also.

  6. I rely heavily on spellcheck!

  7. It's interesting to me some of the things the copy editor suggested. Reading it through I thought the original sounded better/more natural.

    I'm curious how much leeway (I have no idea how to really spell that word) they give an author. If you want your character to talk a certain way or for example to keep the word "even" in isn't that mainly the authors choice, the way he/she wants the words to come across?

    Gotta love those who are the into that stuff. I loved correcting papers in school but I think it was more just because I'd rather do the correcting that be corrected. Haha.

  8. Thanks for your comments, Debbie. It's always up to the author whether or not to accept wording changes. Some things like preferred spelling (blond versus blonde, for example) and formatting are up to the publisher.

    I agree correcting is more fun than being corrected!