Holly and I are deep into the copyedit phase of the project. She’s already responded to the first round of copyedits and I’ve sent her my thoughts on some further tweakage.
For me, copyediting is a combination of deep thought about structure, plot and characterisation, as well as lineedits. Once again, this is the same process I follow with my publishers.
In the case of the Secret Life of a Zombie Fan, Holly had done a fabulous job after the editorial letter of thinking through character motivation, the actuality of the event and tightening up what was going on and why. There was one suggestion of mine that she didn’t agree with and when she questioned me, I realised that what she was trying to achieve was spot on and so I pulled back.
So it was copyediting time. I considered the place of every action the characters took. I considered the dialogue. I considered every word, every sentence, and whether it was pulling its weight. The copyedit is a labour-intensive process.
Holly and I are using track-changes and the manuscript I sent back to her was covered in deletions, additions and comments. It can be a heartbreaking thing to see. I remember the copyedit of Secret Ones. The cover letter said it was a light copyedit, my writing was quite clean, and then I opened the MS and there was pencil scrawled all over it, with huge chunks marked for possible deletion. Didn’t seem a clean copyedit to me.
I’ve since seen a full-on one and yes – I didn’t have much to do. My writing is pretty clean.
So is Holly’s, and so this copyedit was more about considering word usage and action of characters rather than about sentence structure and the like.
Holly accepted a lot of what I said but also argued on a couple of points. Particularly two sentences I wanted deleted. The good thing is that I ended up agreeing with her reasoning, so now we’re about tweaking those sentences to make them work harder and earn their place in the story.
I’m really happy with how things are coming together, and excited about the fact it’s just twelve days until you’ll get to read Secret Life of a Zombie Fan yourself.