word craft


Copy editors

The copy-edit­ing process is some­thing about which the read­er is gen­er­al­ly not aware. Think of it this way: You’ve writ­ten a term paper for school, and your teacher returns it to you (with­out a grade) with cor­rec­tions (such as punc­tu­a­tion, spelling, gram­mar), sug­ges­tions for changes, per­haps point­ing out con­fu­sions in your writ­ing and nar­ra­tive log­ic That is close to what a copy edi­tor does, and which was just done for my new nov­el, Decep­tion. Copy-edit­ing is hard, slow, and metic­u­lous work, and requires equal atten­tion from me, the writer. When writ­ing The Man Who Was Poe, the CE point­ed out that a sail­boat my hero was using to flee was (based on my descrip­tion of events) going around in cir­cles. Less help­ful, a CE com­ment­ed halfway through the edit­ing of Keep Your Eye on Aman­da, (a sto­ry with talk­ing ani­mals, and inter­ac­tion between ani­mals and humans) “Could a rac­coon real­ly dri­ve a loco­mo­tive?” The key func­tion of copy-edit­ing is to make the book that much more read­able. It’s a vital step for­ward. Next step for Decep­tion will be galleys—pre-printings—prior to final pub­li­ca­tion in August.

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