Some examples of copyediting notes (many of which made me LOL). There’s nothing like a good, sassy copyeditor to swoop in and make you feel like a total dumb ass for not knowing which side of a window condensation forms on.
I have a few questions in my inbox about what, exactly, I mean when I say that I’m working on “line edits.” I’m so sorry, I should have explained myself a little better.
Basically, when I say I’m working on line edits, I mean my editor and I are going through the manuscript at a line level—meaning that we’re making small cuts, clarifying, checking for consistency and any repetitions. At this point, there’s only one “big” change that I need to make sure I work in, but that’s it in terms of overarching changes.
When you’re working on a manuscript, the three main kinds of editing you do (and generally in this order) are:
1. Global changes—these are the big changes, I was talking about before. You work through character issues, plot snags, themes. This is the real heavy lifting. Things tend to get worse before they get better.
2. After you’re done (or mostly done) with global edits, you move onto line edits. These, as you’ll see above, zoom in on individual sentences in addition to making sure scenes work and characters are, you know, in character in the dialogue.
3. Copyedits… oh, copyedits. I have to say, one of the great joys in life is getting a good copyeditor. Not one who necessarily nitpicks every. little. thing. but one who double checks you on the routes and highways you have characters take, make sure everyone is still wearing the clothes they were in at the beginning of the scene (I had the worst trouble keeping track of North’s bag in Brightly Woven. Every other comment was, “BAG? WHERE IS HIS BAG?”).
Then you move on to first pass pages (this being when they set the manuscript in the design as it’ll appear in the book), and second pass pages, etc.