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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Process: Copyedits (of Doom)

Copyedits for DAUGHTER OF A THOUSAND YEARS have arrived, so I'm diving into the editing cave to tackle them, which means you'll be hearing a little bit less from me for the next week or so. But I thought I'd give you a little peek into a day in the life of author me during Copyedits before I disappear entirely. (If you're curious, I already talked about the process of developmental edits, which obviously come first.)

When the copyedits arrive, the first thing I do is pour over the style sheet. This is basically an extra document that discusses everything unique to the manuscript, presenting the house's standard style choices for those elements and generally making sure we're all on the same page for everything from grammar rules I've ignored utterly to how we're planning on spelling landvættir throughout the text. (For this dual-narrative manuscript, the expression "stupid crying (v.)" made it onto the style sheet -- they find everything!)

Once I'm familiar with the style sheet I move on to the manuscript itself, surfing through the larger comments to make sure there are no surprises
and correcting or accepting the super easy stuff that jumps out at me. (So far, in every manuscript I've had to explain my irregular use of scene break markers -- because I'm kind of the worst about remembering to put them in consistently.)

Then the real work begins. I count up the days I have to get my copyedits done and divide the number of pages by the number of days I have to work with and then add in a little bit of a cushion -- so for this manuscript which is a robust 465 pages, I'm giving myself an assignment of at least 55 pages a day -- because I try really hard, always, to finish early and I usually do.

Then I start cleaning my house.

No, really.

By the time I get to copyedits on a manuscript, I'm mightily sick of reading and rereading and parsing my sentence structure and comma usage. But it isn't just that, either. For me, Copyedits are the most exhaustive and agonizing part of the process -- they make me second guess my choice to be a writer at all, and wonder if I even know how to write anything or if I'm only deluding myself into thinking I can write books. Basically, copyedits make me feel like utter crap, so I will do everything I possibly can to put off the copyediting.

I will wash dishes, swiff the hardwood floors, put away my laundry, pay the bills, write a conference panel proposal, shower, brush my cats, help El Husband with odd jobs, go grocery shopping, cook dinner for my cousins, turn making a sandwich into an art form, shoot the breeze with my fellow writers on our forum, reorganize my bookshelves and unpack boxes of even El Husband's books which don't really deserve premium shelfspace, go through all the accumulated junk mail, and write unnecessary blogposts just so I can Not Copyedit.

Which is why I won't be blogging again until I've turned these bad boys in -- because the last thing I need is another excuse to procrastinate. 

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