Friday, March 26, 2021

Writing a Wrong

 It seems like hyphens are in now.  I noticed in the copy edit of the next crochet mystery, ONE FOR THE HOOKS, and now in the copy edit of the next writer for hire mystery that both copy editors have added hyphens to lots and lots of words like ice cream.  Now it’s ice-cream.  As far as I can tell both are correct, so it would be a matter of style.

I was about to write about how I go through a copy edit, but then wondered if it was supposed to be copyedit. Turns out it depends what dictionary you check.  Anyway, when I go through a copy edit, I really do more than just respond to the copy editor’s suggestions.  I go through the whole manuscript and rewrite and tweak.  The whole copy editing process is kind of strange.  On one hand the copy editor makes words conform to whatever style guide that publisher uses, and catches repetition of words, but they also check facts.  For example in WRITING A WRONG, I had a character deal with someone who was choking. I had him go directly to using the Heimlich maneuver, but the copy editor said that the correct method is to try some raps on the back first. I checked and the copy editor was right.

But copy editors also mix in their own personal biases. Like words they don’t like.  Or some thing in a situation they don’t agree with.  I find that confusing.  I can understand if they mean it’s not clear, but objecting because of they just don’t “buy it” seems wrong.  There’s also the issue that the copy editors are not always right, which means I have to check up on what they purport to be true.  Like I’m the copy editor of the copy editor.

In general, the author can reject a suggested change, but the publisher can overrule the author.
I’m hoping that isn’t an issue with this manuscript.  

I was trying to work on BUT KNOT FOR ME at the same time I went through the copy edit.  It worked for about a day and then I decided it was more efficient to focus on one thing at a time.  Even though I kept jotting down ideas for something else I’m working on.

I did take time off to sign the contract for two more writer for hire mysteries.  And this weekend, I’m going on a virtual walking tour which has to do with one of the plots of the books I just signed the contract on.

And then there’s life to deal with.....


Miss Merry said...

Busy Busy Busy! I know what you mean about personal preference. As a secretary, I typed up newsletters for educators in our office. I would use "my preference" and would receive "corrections" from one educator, but not another. Both were correct and it was hard to remember who liked what which way LOL.

Sally Morrison said...

Writing definitely brings out one's style. For 4 years I stopped using exclamation points because a politician overused them or used them incorrectly on an almost daily basis. I couldn't handle it and I found I couldn't use them even when they were appropriate. Nuts, I know. I guess his style really offended me. :)

Looking forward to your next book.

Betty Hechtman said...

Miss Merry, I used to be under the illusion that there was a right way, particularly when it came to commas which I always had a problem with. The real goal is to make whatever you're trying to say clear. I did newsletters for two different schools my son went to and got all kinds of grief when I edited someone's comment.

Betty Hechtman said...

Sally, it used to be a no-no to use exclamation points. And now I get emails all the time with Hi!. Also used to be common to say something like "I hope you're doing well" at the end of a note. Now, they seem to start out that way. It's hard to keep up.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I do find it interesting that a lot of the grammar and punctuation rules I learned in school are now iffy. I guess that means I can make some of my own new rules, which is fine. But I find it interesting, too, to see how copy edits go on my manuscripts.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, another change is that the copy edit is all done on a computer copy. I remember when they'd send me a hard copy with post it notes stuck to it. It was pretty hard to do much beyond address the copy editor's comments. Now when I get a copy edit, it's much easier to tweak the manuscript and no rushing to FedEx to send the manuscript back to them.