Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10 Things I've Learned From Copyedits

So, I opened my door on Saturday morning and found THESE on my doorstep:


Copyedits for KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES!!! 

*jumps up and down*

For those who don't know, copyediting is a different kind of editing. It's all done on paper, and your draft is COVERED in the strangest and most confusing marks EVER. Most of which--THANKFULLY--apply to the typesetter, not you. But there is a lot of very technical, very grammar and detail oriented stuff you DO need to address, which has taught me ten surprising things:

1. I should have to give back every single "A" I ever earned in English. (No really, I'm sure my copyeditor agrees.)

2. Whenever a copyeditor's note starts with, "Technically," you're going to feel really dumb.

3. Spell check failed me. A LOT.

4. I apparently have NO IDEA how to use commas. (They are being added, deleted, and moved on pretty much every. single. page.)

5. I also seem to have no idea how to use hyphens. And there are a TON of words that are apparently supposed to be hyphenated. For example: good-bye. I have been spelling that wrong MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!!! #mindblow

6. I also have no idea what a dangling modifier is, but I apparently had a bunch of them that needed fixing. (And I still can't tell why the suggested change is better!)

7. But the bright side is, if you consistently break a grammatical rule (even totally unintentionally) you're allowed to keep breaking it. They just mark it as "consistent with the style of the MS." Like... okay, we know this is wrong, but she keeps doing it so we're just going to let her and call it her "style." :)

8. It's also a good idea, if you're going to capitalize something, to do it consistently every time you type the word. Sporadically switching back and forth seems to confuse copyeditors. A lot. 

9. Also, if you're going to make a statement toward the end of the book along the lines of: "X amount of months have passed" it would be helpful if X amount of time had actually passed in the timeline in the book. 

10. And, most importantly: fixing all this stuff takes FOREVER. 

Not gonna lie, this process is TEDIOUS. And I'm actually on a pretty tight deadline for it. So I'm sorry to already be doing this to you guys, but I'm going to take the rest of the week off blogging, and maybe part of next week--however long it takes to get. this. done. 

And then I promise I will be back to normal blogging again. I still have all kinds of exciting things I want to tell you guys about. But it will have to wait till I meet this deadline.

In the meantime, I'm also holding a pretty darn awesome contest--if I do say so myself--that you definitely don't want to miss out on. If you haven't entered yet, I strongly recommend you do that HERE.

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week. See you all once I turn these darn things in!

37 comments:

  1. Oh copyedits. Yikes. Awww but I'm still doing a happy dance just for you!! Phew!! It's keeping me nice and warm! LOL!

    GOOD LUCK lovely Shannon! See you soon! Take care
    x

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  2. LOL. Don't worry too much about 'goodbye,' you can actually still spell it without the hyphen. Your copy editor must just have that preference :o) I know because I'm a copy editor too, and I think it looks better as one word ..., but I won't argue about it! Hahaha ...

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  3. Yay! Because you're getting to the end of the process for this book--love hearing about the steps along the way. Good luck getting them all done!

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  4. I loved copy edits! I think there might be something wrong with me, but I really did think they were fun.

    My biggest lesson was choose one: toward/backward or towards/backwards. Apparently I liked toward and backwards but that meant I was favoring American English with the toward and British/Australian English with the backwards. No mixing allowed.

    As much as I wish I was a Brit or Aussie I chose to stick with good ol' American style.

    Have fun! :0

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  5. So excited for you! Best of luck with wading through your edits. You'll do fantastic!

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  6. How much fun for you! Best of luck!

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  7. I worry about capitalization, because I have a lot of foreign words in my book, and I capitalize and italicize them the first time they come up, but not later. I wonder whether they should always be capitalized? Probably not.

    It's complicated.

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  8. I feel your pain.

    I just finished mine a few weeks ago. Holy cow, I didn't even know what half of the marks meant. And the commas! The commas!!

    It felt REALLY good to mail that sucker back, I can tell you.

    Good luck!

    Shelley

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  9. Hang in there, girlie! You'll get through these in no time :) And I'm always just a text/call away <3

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  10. "...okay, we know this is wrong, but she keeps doing it so we're just going to let her and call it her "style.""

    Best. Blog line. Ever.

    SHANNON SHANNON SHES OUR WRITER, IF SHE CANT DO IT...um...SOMEONE FIGHT HER!

    That's violent. No one will fight you. Promise.

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  11. Oh Shannon, can't help but laugh at that post. Too funny!

    But seriously, good luck getting through this part. Just think though . . . you're getting so close to your book being done!

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  12. Wow. It really does sound like tedious and eye-opening stuff, #1. Good luck!! :-)

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  13. Oh man, I do NOT look forward to that. I am already finding so many things that I do wrong and I don't want to think of the millions more! Hang in there tho - it'll all be worth it in the end!

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  14. Aha! I'd wondered about good bye, whether it was one word, two words, or hyphenated. Thanks! I've actually made a Style Sheet for my novel, for when I get a publisher. So I'm trying to be consistent already. I LIKE spelling goosebumps as one word, even though Word doesn't like it!! ("consistent with the style of the MS")

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  15. Dangling modifier, WTF?

    Have fun! ;)

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  16. Are they easy fixes?

    Dangling modifiers = funny things. Even though I teach how to correct them, I find myself doing them sometimes, even!!!

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  17. I am so glad that blogs and such allow me to watch (always watching...) other writers go through the process before me. Its so unbelievably helpful. Thanks for that!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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  18. I like the "style" rule. I'm going to remember that one and use it often.

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  19. Funny post! Love how you're so positive even about the things you dislike. Go for it! You'll be out the other side of it in no time if you blitz on it. :)

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  20. Happy editing! And I swear I know nothing of comma's either. They are the bane, of, me,.

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  21. I yearn for the day I get copyedits, knowing full well that I'll be frustrated with them when it happens.

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  22. I can imagine how tedious it can be! May peace be with you:)

    Oh, yeah, and gotta love dangling modifiers.

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  23. I'm so glad there's someone else out there with my kind of comma deficiency! And hyphen-deficiency too.

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  24. I SO feel your pain! I just got back my first draft of line edits. Ouch. :/ Yeah, the hyphenated words things is my problem, too. Never knew! And I'm an English major! And a teacher! ;)

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  25. How exciting and slightly terrifying at the same time! I have a feeling if I ever get to that stage when someone ssends me copyedits it will be probably the same.

    I know I have plenty of weak points when it comes to grammar!

    But congrats on getting them and facing the next step in your publishing journey!

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  26. Best of luck, Shannon. Dangling modifiers and all.... :o)

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  27. I will have to keep this post so I can look back at it if I ever get to that point (and hopefully I will!)and see that Shannon had comma isssues and hyphen problems and also didn't know what the heck a dangling modifier was either! Lol! I know that if, God willing, I ever get copy edits sent to me it will look like a massacre. ;)

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  28. Good luck, Shannon! Will miss your posts, but more important work prevails!

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  29. Send a couple commas my way, will ya?

    Good luck!!

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  30. Heh. You said dangling participle. :D Get 'er done, Shannon!

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  31. Very helpful. Thank you for sharing.

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  32. Hmmm... I wonder if sentence fragments will eventually be written off as my style. Let's hope so!

    Fascinating stuff - just keep telling yourself that! Good luck - I'll send you some virtual cupcakes for energy!

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  33. I always spell goodbye like that so I guess I've been doing it wrong too then :)

    Enjoy the week off blogging, Shannon.

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  34. Good luck! And I just have to say that I love Sara Raasch's comment.

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  35. You had me laughing SO HARD! Good luck!!

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  36. I sympathize with your copy edits. Been there. Having been an English major doesn't seem to have helped me. lol.

    Loved #7. It's your style!

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