[writing] New adventures in copy editing

Ok, they’re really the same old adventures, just another round.

After cranking a couple of hours drafting on Tourbillon, I have now been reading lightly through the copy edit of Green. This allows me to review the queries and marked changes on each page. Once I’ve done with that, probably on Thursday in transit to FenCon, I will do a close read, at least so much as time permits between now and next Wednesday when I have to ship this multipound puppy back to Tor.

So far I have found two clean pages — 230 and 243. I must have been on a roll right about then. Every other page of the manuscript has markups. And I consider this a pretty clean manuscript.

At its best, being the beneficiary of a copy edit is a sobering experience. I have been reminded once more of my congenital inability to distinguish /that/ and /which/. My love of irregular verb forms has been exposed in the pitiless glare of house style. (Luckily for that one, I have my ‘stet’ pen to hand.) Many minor strangenesses in the text, and a darling selection of crutch words, have been disgorged on the strand of editorial reason.

I cannot imagine what it takes to perform a copy edit. That task lies somewhere below “publisher” and somewhere above “Congressman” on the lists of jobs I wouldn’t be caught dead performing. I have an immense respect for those who can do those jobs, especially those who can do them well.

As for me? I have 630 marked up pages right here to demonstrate my execrable command of the simple English sentence. Excelsior, y’all.