Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Copy-Edit Electric

I did finish the copy-edit four hours ahead of deadline, plus I learned something new in the process: Never try to do a copy-edit in only 24 hours. I think I sprained a retina; I'm pretty sure the production team up in NY did, too.

I once did a copy-edit over the phone with an editor, with us both reading from our copies of the ms. and her marking the production copy. As copy-edits go that one was very light, maybe a dozen queries and corrections total, but still it took us a good two hours to work our way through the stack of pages.

This time I did an electronic copy-edit, which is all done in Word (and which is eventually going to become the standard method by NY publishers, I'm told, for doing all copy-edits.) It's basically working with queries typed in those little sidebar comment balloons instead of hand-written notations, but it takes some getting used to. With the exception of that phone call copy-edit, I've always done mine on paper, not on the screen. The benefit for me is that I can use the Dragon now instead of scrawling all over the ms.

Btw, it now looks like Master of Shadows will make our target release date. More details will be coming soon, I promise; I just want to make sure the date is chiseled in stone and I see the final edition before I spill all the beans.

What's up with you guys? And why does it smell like a donut shop around here?

27 comments:

  1. Congrats on getting it done! Copy-edits are not Big Fun.

    I did a proofread a year or so ago in IM; both the editor and I had .pdfs in front of us on the screen and we threw stuff back and forth in those little yahoo boxes. It took us three days, doing two plus hours a day until one of us was just too tired to carry on.

    Not doing that again!

    My latest excitement was a power cut that struck just as I was trying to snipe a book I wanted on eBay. No heat, no lights, no hot food/drinks. I read in bed with a candle and some five hours later got back online to discover I'd lost out on the book. Meh.

    Word ver: ponders

    How often does that actually come out as a word????

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  2. I am so used to doing everything in Word that paper feels clunky. Isn't that weird? I grew up with paper, I used paper all my life, and I only made the switch to Word in my 20's. And yet...

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  3. That hurts thinking about it.

    (He said, planning not 1, not 2, but 3 NaNo-esque projects for 2009, not counting nonfic work.)

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  4. Congrats on getting the edit done. Sorry about the strained eyes, though.

    But now you're free to search for the donuts, right? :)

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  5. *brushes away crumbs* Mmmph. *swallows* No reason! *hides empty donut bag*

    Congrats on your triumph over the copyedit and looking forward to hearing more! I prefer doing edits in Word. So much easier to hit "next comment", respond, save, hit "next"...

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  6. Epublishing does everything in Word (or if an author doesn't have Word, Open Office). It's so much easier. And environmentally friendly. And cheaper! (no paper, no shipping, no ink...)

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  7. Buffysquirrel wrote: I did a proofread a year or so ago in IM; both the editor and I had .pdfs in front of us on the screen and we threw stuff back and forth in those little yahoo boxes. It took us three days, doing two plus hours a day until one of us was just too tired to carry on.

    Eeek. I think that method would be like trying to copy-edit with someone standing over my shoulder and saying "No, you're wrong. Change that. Change it!"

    Sorry to hear about losing the book bid on eBay. Have you tried looking for it on one of the co-op sites like Alibris?

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  8. Margaret wrote: I am so used to doing everything in Word that paper feels clunky. Isn't that weird? I grew up with paper, I used paper all my life, and I only made the switch to Word in my 20's. And yet...

    Writers are extremely flexible. :) I'm kind of glad this change is being made; earlier in the year my daughter actually had to write in some of my replies to queries on a ms. because my hand wasn't cooperating that day. With the electronic method, all I need is a headset and my voice.

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  9. Eviljwinter wrote: That hurts thinking about it.

    The times they are a'changing; we have to change with them (she says, offering the bottle of ibuprofen.)

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  10. Sarita wrote: But now you're free to search for the donuts, right?

    Sadly, no. I'm back to work on a type-in for the final contract book of the year. Then another copy-edit. Then . . . James, give me back that ibuprofen.

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  11. Charlene wrote: *brushes away crumbs* Mmmph. *swallows* No reason! *hides empty donut bag*

    Jordan, I think I know where all your Krispy Kremes went.

    I prefer doing edits in Word. So much easier to hit "next comment", respond, save, hit "next"...

    There's a next comment thing? That wasn't in the instructions...(makes note to smack copy-editor.)

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  12. Angela wrote: Epublishing does everything in Word (or if an author doesn't have Word, Open Office). It's so much easier. And environmentally friendly. And cheaper! (no paper, no shipping, no ink...)

    Another reason for NY to embrace the practice, I think -- they'd save a huge chunk of overhead (and so would authors) if we didn't have to ship hard copy manuscripts back and forth. I also like the green aspect of eliminating the hard copy.

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  13. Congratulations on finishing the copy-edits. I'm trying to wrestle an outline into submission. (Bleech!)

    Is the donut smell more like cinnamon sugar or closer to chocolate glazed?

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  14. epubs pretty much always do edits like that, and personally, I prefer it.

    I hate writing things in my hand, just because my hands can only handle so much writing before my wrists start screaming at me. But I can keyboard easily.

    I dunno why it smells like a donut shop, but where are mine?

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  15. That's an .... interesting way to copy edit. Glad to hear about the new way. I just got Word 2007 and am trying to wrap my head around it. Moving up from WordPerfect 6.1 (bought in 1994) isn't as big a jump as from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other, but it's close.

    You may like to know that the project I've been working on for awhile (a collection of literary stories, seen on my website) is being shopped to a couple of agents. Yes, I'm in the arena at last. Jeez, those horns of rejection are pointy, aren't they?

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  16. Excellent work on the copy-edit!

    I've done so much on Nano, I'm beginning to sound like Mork: "Nano, Nano, I'm working on Nano.

    Doughnuts? Nah, I'll take a double-choc Tim Tam any day.

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  17. Congratulations on getting done ahead of deadline. I've used the Track Changes option in Word for a few years now when I edit papers for friends. It's easy to use, but staring a screen for that long can get a little tiresome.

    Not much is really going on, though, as I'm just plugging away at work. *sigh*

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  18. I just discovered your blog and it's wonderful. Pretty, funny, insightful. So glad to have a new place to come for inspiration.

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  19. The book is on Alibris, at interesting prices...the one on eBay woulda been a lot cheaper :).

    Word verif: booke

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  20. Darlene wrote: Is the donut smell more like cinnamon sugar or closer to chocolate glazed?

    Chocolate glazed. Or maybe that's coming from my eyes....

    Good luck with womanhandling that outline. :)

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  21. Shiloh wrote: I hate writing things in my hand, just because my hands can only handle so much writing before my wrists start screaming at me. But I can keyboard easily.

    Aha -- you probably type the way we're supposed to, with the wrists in the correct position. :)

    I dunno why it smells like a donut shop, but where are mine?

    (points to Charlene.)

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  22. Bill wrote: That's an .... interesting way to copy edit. Glad to hear about the new way. I just got Word 2007 and am trying to wrap my head around it.

    Let me know how you make out. I just now figured out how to get the headers and the page numbers on without one deleting the other.

    Moving up from WordPerfect 6.1 (bought in 1994) isn't as big a jump as from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other, but it's close.

    Oh, man, I loved WP 6.1. I had to give it up in 2003. I cried for weeks.

    You may like to know that the project I've been working on for awhile (a collection of literary stories, seen on my website) is being shopped to a couple of agents. Yes, I'm in the arena at last.

    That's terrific news -- congratulations.

    Jeez, those horns of rejection are pointy, aren't they?

    Amen. I've found carrying a little red cape and wearing my Mickey Mouse ears helps, though (ole.)

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  23. Jaye wrote: I've done so much on Nano, I'm beginning to sound like Mork: "Nano, Nano, I'm working on Nano.

    The pitiful thing is, only a few of us are old enough to know who Mork is/was. :)

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  24. Karin wrote: Not much is really going on, though, as I'm just plugging away at work.

    That's the job description. Moments of stark terror interspersed with years of plugging away. Hang in there. :)

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  25. Kris wrote: I just discovered your blog and it's wonderful. Pretty, funny, insightful. So glad to have a new place to come for inspiration.

    Welcome, Kris, and thanks for the kind words. We have a lot of fun here, and the discussions are especially great.

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  26. Buffysquirrel wrote: The book is on Alibris, at interesting prices...the one on eBay woulda been a lot cheaper

    Interesting as in the Chinese curse variety of interesting, I'm guessing. You need to read cheaper books, girl.

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  27. Hugs on your eyes. You can change the background color to reduce eye strain if you haven't discovered that yet.

    I do all my crits using comments and get my crits back that way too. It makes life SO much simpler. I even copy in paper crits that way so I can access the information.

    If you right click on the toolbar area and check "Reviewing" as an active toolbar, you'll get the little arrows to click next, previous, accept change, etc. It's quite handy.

    And yes, I certainly hope by the time I get to New York they've given up on the paper thing :). My hands can't take it at all.

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