Saturday, March 3, 2012

Things I learned from my copy editor

Hello there,
Like Kerrelyn, I'm in deadline hell right now trying to hammer out the third installment of the Diaries of an Urban Panther series. As I'm putting Violet and Chaz through the ringer once again, I'm trying to keep in mid some of the things that the copy editor pointed out in my last book so she won't be so frustrated with me in this book. See writers are not perfect. We are human and we make mistakes, but like humans, can learn.
That's pretty much where the human part ends, but that's another blog for another time.
Okay, the five things I learned from my copy editor.
1. I have really random references. The copy editor sent me a style sheet with all the people names that I used. This list included: Neil Patrick Harris, Vin Diesel, and Yoda.
2. I don't write about shapeshifters, I write about shape-shifters. Just to about to write about hyphens being the devil.
3. My APA style brain spells out numbers under ten. But Chicago style says spell out all numbers under 100. Another reason I feel schizophrenic sometimes.
4. The dash. I'm not even going to go into the difference between a em dash and an en dash, but she did point out that there was a subtle difference between ending a line of dialogue in a dash and ending in an ellipsis. Ending with a dash means that the person was cut off versus an ellipsis means that the person trailed off. Which made me notice just how many times Violet interrupted people. She's a little rude.
5. Apparently, I spell lots of things the British way. Which is appropriate considering my new motto for finishing this book.
So as I'm making sure that Violet survives the massive nasties that I'm throwing at her (hint- I've been watching snake attack videos on YouTube all week), I'm also trying to be a better writer, though I'm pretty sure that hyphens are going to be the death of me.
Amanda Arista


llamannerdymama said...

I write out the numbers under ten too. My teenage daughters are budding copy editors. They even edit my emails. I love your list though and you gave me a big smile.

Kerrelyn Sparks said...

Good luck with your deadline, Amanda! Hyphens just aren't fair! Why does Howard have to be a were-bear with a hyphen when Phil can be a werewolf? I want equality in the shape-shifter world!! LOL

Helen Lowe said...

The thing that gets me with both copy and proof editing is the repetition of words and phrases. I still seem to pick it up more than anyone else though when I go back through--like fourteen uses of the word 'dark' in the space of two pages for HEIR. I mean, sure, it's a 'dark' book, but ...!

Sharon said...

lol, copy editor rock! so many little details that they know. repeated words are a very common thing i find while doing beta work.