It was a weekend of good food, good friends, and copy edits. I do two passes — the first is the in-depth cleanup pass through the manuscript. The copyeditor has gone through in red pencil with corrections and queries. I go over her changes and add my own. I hardly ever stet a change. I know what it’s like to copyedit; these editors know grammar, punctuation, and style, and I figure they are the experts. When I copyedited for magazines, we had the mindset that a good copyeditor is an advocate for the reader, adding clarity, simplicity, and readability. Plus, I learned a few things — did you know duffle bag is spelled duffel? I had no idea. And I used it a lot. Also, wrack. It’s a great word. But I meant rack. The copyeditor caught that.

The second pass was to answer a few tough queries. If you have read Gordath Wood you know the gordath is the portal at the center of the woods — it’s the heart of the story. The copyeditor had questions about how it worked. It was the type of thing, though, that I couldn’t just add changes where the queries were placed. I had to thread in my explanations in three other parts of the manuscript so that the information unfolded more naturally. That took a while.

So Saturday I was going over the manuscript at my friend’s dining room table, and her dad was teasing me. I explained that I was going over corrections to the book and he asked in his deep Southern voice, “So why didn’t you just write it right the first time?”

I assured him that for the next one, I would. This manuscript was slightly less pristine than my first book, partly because when it takes a few years to sell a book it tends to have been polished to a high gloss, and partly because I wrote this one at lightning speed by comparison.

So what happens next? I have been promised a cover. When that comes I will post it here. Then there are galleys for one more check (publishing: heaven for anal retentives).

So that was my Thanksgiving. Cooking, eating, playing Scrabble (hey, my friend used all of her letters across TWO triple word scores, making a whopping 92 points) and Yahtzee, and copyediting. What did you all do?

1 Comment

Maria Ragucci · January 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm

I knew duffel was spelled duffel- but what is the deal with Jon Favreau- old news, I know…

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