Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kudos and Copyedits

Before I do anything else, I must brag for a moment, and let you all know that not one, but TWO of our very own Heroine Addicts have been shortlisted for 2012 Festival of Romance Awards:

Liz's THE CORNISH HOUSE is up for Best Romantic Read, and Christina's THE SILENT TOUCH OF SHADOWS is up for Best Historical Read! (Liz's agent and Christina's publisher are up for awards as well, as are several of our RNA friends, so lots to celebrate on this list).

Right then, on to the rest of the post.

You'll see, by the date, that I'm late again. I was supposed to have this up on Sunday, but in my defence I was working all weekend (and through most of Monday) reviewing copyedits of my book The Firebird, which I'd promised on my honour that my editor would have by end-of-day on Monday afternoon.

Copyedits very often are, to me, a Labour in the Herculean sense. I have a writing style that drives Grammarians to drink. I  like to boldly split infinitives. Write fragments. I don't think that prepositions are bad words to end a sentence with. And I can sometimes be stubborn, when it comes to commas.

© Tom Schmucker |
One of my early copyeditors, some years ago, hated my commas so much she took most of mine out and put her own ones in, where she thought they should go. In one memorable sentence describing a courtyard my characters had just come in to, I'd written: "The air was still, here." Meaning it was not moving. She took out that comma, too, leaving a sentence that still makes me smile (though it doubtless came as a relief to the characters to learn the air hadn't gone someplace else...)

The thing is, we have voices, as writers. And writing is made up of rhythms and structures and cadence and emphasis, things that won't always be bound by the strict rules of grammar. So the copyediting process, for me, usually begins with some poor copyeditor probably hitting the whisky and burning the midnight oil somewhere while trying to "fix" all my errors, and ends with me hitting my own whisky bottle and muttering into the night while I "fix" them all back. 

Well, all right, to be fair, I "fix" most of them back. I've been known to make actual errors, and good copyeditors find them and save me embarrassment, for which I'm grateful. And most copyeditors, after they've worked on a few books by one author, do start to "hear" the voice, and let it be. 

But I do wish they'd lay off my commas.

Do come back tomorrow, to read Julie's (always grammatical) post. 


  1. Thank you for mentioning the Festival of Romance Awards - I was thrilled to be nominated and I'm in amazing company! Look forward to cheering Liz and other RNA friends on :)

    Re: copyediting, love the air that was "still there", LOL! But you're right, it's lovely when the copyeditor gets your voice and only corrects things that really do need "fixing". Glad yours are finished - can't wait to read The Firebird!

  2. Congratulations to Liz and Christina!

    For one publisher, I had to remove ALL semicolons. This was hard; I love semicolons.