Copy that, copy editor!

Posted: October 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have had a first-time experience over the past few weeks and it was a good one. Receiving my copy edited manuscript from Lodestone Books, I wondered what was in store for me. I’ve never had a manuscript editor before, so this was territory I hadn’t been in before.

When I was starting out as a journalist in newspapers the chief sub was always the one to please. If you served up a substandard story, look out. Basically when the sub so much as looked in your direction you responded because time was always of the essence and half-baked quality and mistakes were just not tolerated.

So I learned the discipline that comes with serving up copy that makes any sub editor pleased they got me on a bad day. I tried to also do that with my manuscript, figuring I’d been writing for years but I was in for a bit of a wake up call.

My copy editor pointed out the times when I was guilty of ‘author intrusion’ – in the nicest of ways but a learning experience nonetheless. Through her comments I was able to put myself in the reader’s position and experience what the reader does. Yes every time my voice intruded it ‘jarred’ the reader out of their own headspace which was previously immersed in the character’s. Note to self, don’t intrude where you’re not wanted.

Oh and there was the ‘head-hopping’ my editor pointed out. I had to read over that comment twice before I realised that, yes I had switched the point of view on the reader. Another note to self: watch that in future.

There were the usual sub editing corrections which gave me faith that the copy editor knew what she was doing – ones I had actually missed – and others around consistency and style. Working my way through my manuscript, Dawn of the Shadowcasters, I painstakingly addressed the comments and rewrote where necessary. Yes it was hard work, but enjoyable nevertheless.

At the end of the process I was pleased with myself on a couple of levels. The first that I actually had a great editor and what a luxury that was, and secondly that I had hopefully followed the copy editor’s map for improving Dawn of the Shadowcasters, painstakingly well.

And now we move into cover design stage. Absolutely exciting times for me. After that, proofing and e-book and print production. All the stages of writing, from manuscript conception through to seeing the completed novel distributed worldwide, in print or e-book form, is a somewhat surreal and profound experience. What better outcome for those imaginative escapades in the wee hours of the morning, tapping away on the laptop, than to see your story take flight, into the minds and hearts of future readers.


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