Sunday, November 18, 2007

Reviewing my copy edited manuscript

It's late Saturday night (or is it Sunday morning?) and I'm feeling a little punch drunk. Not from drinking, from working through my copy edited manuscript for the last twelve hours.

At this stage, an author has read and re-read his/her novel enough times that he/she can recite entire pages the way an actor can recite his lines without referring to a screenplay. You know all of your character's ages, who has a hooked nose, a drinking problem, a phobia for mice. It's eerie how easily you recall dialogue pieces, the weather in a specific scene, and that the door must open inward or else you'll flatten your protagonist's cat who always sleeps outside next to it.

Still...it's tiring, going through page after page of what was once neatly typewritten text now all mucked up with what must look like hand-written martian-code to the average layman. (For your interest, above is a list
of the basic editing marks you begin seeing in your sleep after spending entirely too much time staring at them).

My manuscript arrived Wednesday and I need to courier it back to New York on Monday. This is a faster turnaround than usual, but I was late getting the book delivered to my editor, so it only seems fair that I suck it up and get this done on time now.

Back to how late it is...
I've decided to finish the rest tomorrow because those little editing marks have started to blur and blend and morph into a snarkier version you see here on the left.

Isn't this hilarious!?!

I hope you realize I'm not complaining, because I'm actually happy to be at this stage with Silver Compass
and now I can't wait for the ARCs to arrive.

22 comments:

SmartlikeStreetcar said...

This is hilarious!

Good luck with the rewrites!

ORION said...

I KNEW there were more copyediting abbreviations that I wasn't aware of!
Although Touloose did tell me about the mixed metaphor...

Ramona said...

I'm surprised at what it takes to write a novel, you know? And all these editing marks?? Errrrk!!!
Have fun with it.

Adam said...

I think I'd relate best to the second list instead of the first one. More "real" and less stiff yanno?

wordman17 said...

That 2nd list of markings speaks to me big-time. I make those comments to myself when editing my WIP all the time, man!

Mystery Robin said...

Oh, that's funny! I hope you got some good sleep last night. :)

Travis Erwin said...

Those are great and actually easier to dechiper than the real ones.

kyla-dale said...

Mwwwa-haaaa-ha!!!

I think I'd want blunt honest feedback with my manuscript if I was you so I'd ask them to use the markings on the bottom.

Victoria said...

*LOL* I like the z-z-z-z-z,
"Delete no one cares" marking!
I'd probably get loads a those.

Kim Stagliano said...

Love the list! Congrats. Where's the middle finger icon??

Kelly Mahoney said...

I like the other copyediting legend better ... I need to incorporate those into my next batch of editing.

Heidi the Hick said...

I love the second set!!!!

(I might not so much when it's my turn!)

Bernita said...

I hope copy editors are neat, ie. decipherable.

Maprilynne said...

Haha! I think I've used most of those marks on the second list!;)

Maprilynne said...

Oh, but you forgot STET, which means leave the G%&D$#@ thing the way I had it in the first place.;)

Holly Kennedy said...

Thanks for stopping by Smartlikestreetcar!

ORION -- Leave it to Touloose to pass along his wisdown.

Ramona -- It's a long and much more involved process than many people realize, that's for sure.

Adam -- I getcha. The first manuscript I worked on, I felt exactly like you. This elusive copy editor feels so far away and distant that I actually sent him/her a gift at the end to say thanks. Never did hear back though. Guess they like to remain invisible from artisit tantrum throwing authors. Ha!

Holly Kennedy said...

Wordman17 -- Whew! And I thought I was the only one who left notes like that on my own manuscript!

Mystery Robin / Travis -- Nice to see you here. Hope you guys all have a good US Thanksgiving this coming weekend.

Kyla-Dale -- You don't have a choice, but I'm sure they MUST be tempted to use them sometimes. It'd be so great to be able to listen in an a copyn editor's mumblings to him/herself as he/she works through a book, huh?

Victoria -- I'm with you on that one. I'm always worried about whether or not something matters enough to keep it or nuke it.

Holly Kennedy said...

Oooh, Kim! What a great add that one would be, huh?

Kelly -- It's gotta be tempting in certain situations, huh? Thanks for coming by my blog, btw.

Heidi -- You grow thick skin, trust me, and you must learn not to take it personally. To them, and in many ways to yourself, it must be kept in mind that this IS a product and they're doing all they can to make it the best product it can be. Go for it, I say.

Bernita -- Mine have always been wonderfully neat. I do, however, wish I could ask them how they manage to write that TINY using such perfect lettering.

Holly Kennedy said...

Maprilynne -- You bet. STET is my favorite marking and I use it when necessary. I didn't even notice that it was missing, but I think it is because it's not typically used as often by the editor -- more by the author.

STET, STET, STET....
The first time I learned what it was used for, I was in heaven!

Melissa Marsh said...

My favorite is the "You wish" mark. Ha!

Therese said...

You deserve an award and a reward! What a dead run you've been on, whew.

Sense of humor still intact: that bodes well.

Chumplet said...

If I had an editor with those mark-up drawings, I'd be too busy laughing to fix the manuscript! I'd love a blown-up version to put in my (future) writer's office.