Friday, May 29, 2015

Nods and breaths and other victims of copy editing

I've just gotten the page proofs for HIDDEN. This is the last stage of the editing process, when the book has been typeset and I get to look at it one last time for any errors. I really like seeing how the pages are going to look inside the book, because I notice that sort of thing when I'm reading a book. Because the pages have been typset, though, I can't make any huge changes at this point; it's merely to look for spelling or small grammatical issues. It was in the copy editing stage that those bigger fixes can be made. And I made them.

I was appalled at how many times characters in the book were nodding. They nodded here and there, sometimes two or three times to a page. That's not all, either. Everyone seemed to take deep breaths. All. The. Time. There was so much heavy breathing going on, it could've been an erotic romance. Or a long description of an asthma attack. How I didn't see this before I sent it off to my editor is a mystery. And I'm embarrassed that I didn't see it. But not looking at the book for four months helped me look at it with much more open eyes. So there is a lot less heavy breathing and nodding going on now.

I have a superb copy editor at Severn House. Sara caught a lot of those little nitpicky grammatical problems that are the bane of the copy editor's existence. I admit to loving being a copy editor, so the copy edit stage is one of my favorites. One thing about being published by a British publisher is that sometimes my Americanisms were questioned. As an example, there was a sticky note asking what it meant when one character said he had to "hit the head."

There were times while I was looking at the copy edits that I wondered if I didn't like this more than the actual writing. But that came from the fact that the second book in the series is very slow going at the moment, and copy editing was so much easier because HIDDEN is already written. (There are a ton of reasons why writing is slow right now, most of them external, like the fact that my daughter is going to be graduating high school in less than a month and there is so much to do that isn't writing.)

I have a week to go over the page proofs and then the book will be out of my hands completely. I won't be able to change a word, and what's there will be there when you open the book to read it. That scares the daylights out of me, she says while nodding and taking a deep breath...