Lessons From Copyediting

Yesterday I turned in my final approvals and mark-ups of my copyedited manuscript. I was a little nervous about the feedback I would receive. What if there were so many mistakes that we had to slow down the publication process? What if the writing itself needed more work than originally thought? What if the content itself wasn’t interesting?

Like everything else I worry about, none of that happened. In fact, my publisher sent a really touching comment from the copyeditor:

“This inspiring memoir traces the author’s journey through mental illness, alcohol abuse, and challenging relationships with the help of taekwondo, a Korean martial arts form. Told with humor and disarming honesty, it captures the reader’s attention with a lively style and sound writing. (It also has a great title.)”

…you guys!!

It does have a great title, doesn’t it?

The content itself was fine, and the writing was solid. The errors she corrected were minor things like commas or missing words. Apparently “gray” is the correct spelling according to the Chicago Manual of Style, and you never, I mean never, use the word “towards.” Some English major I am.

Over the past few months I’ve begun to appreciate prose in a way that I hadn’t before. Much like how our ear delights in a melody or the rhythm of lyrics, I’ve started to pick up on the music of written language. When something flows beautifully or even just in a funny way it really catches my eye and sticks in my mind. Reviewing and reflecting on my copyeditor’s corrections helped me think more carefully about the words I choose and the phrases I craft.

Turns out I wrote a pretty good book.

Next stop–proofreading!

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