This week I got the copy edited manuscript of DARK SKY back from the publishers, which means I have to go through and check everything the copy editor has found and see if I agree with her corrections. This is not a quick task – not because I made loads and loads of mistakes, but because when writing I have been using ‘ instead of ‘ and ’. Seems like a small difference, doesn’t it, that slight curve? But it’s enough for every single one to need to be replaced by the copy editor, and THAT means that the ‘Comments and Changes’ panel at the left side of the document is literally filled with her replacing one with another, because EVERY change gets logged. That means there’s an awful, awful lot of minor changes I need to skim past in order to get to the bigger ones that I might actually have an opinion on.
I think I may need to engage in some adventures with ‘Find & Replace’ before I sent the next manuscript in.
Anyway, my copy editor is BRILLIANT (I say ‘my’, she’s apparently called Charlotte Cole and is employed on a freelance basis by Del Rey UK, I believe – I’ve never had any direct contact with her). She doesn’t just look at spelling and grammar mistakes and inconsistencies (although she does), she also looks at plot consistency. So, for example, a plot point of DARK SKY which slipped by me as I was writing it, and presumably my editor when he was reading it, was caught by her and pointed out. Which is sort of annoying, as it now means I’ve got to go back and change something to make everything work… but that’s better than the novel going out with that sort of error in it.
(Quick aside – when I first met Michael, my editor, he talked about the copy editor they like to use, who I assume was Charlotte. He gave glowing praise to her attention to detail, including things like checking on a map of Paris to see if someone would in fact have turned left when the author describes them turning left getting from one place to another. I have to confess, my brain automatically went “You mean there’s people who would write that sort of detail WITHOUT checking it!?”
Yes, I’m a little anal about that sort of thing. You might have gathered)
ANYWAY, quite apart from my adventures into copy-editing, I’ve also recently been featured in this blog from Rob Boffard about the benefits of writing on mental wellbeing. Rob is the author of the shortly-forthcoming TRACER, of which I have read the first chapter and which looked good enough for me to pre-order. I soundly trounced him in a Twitter fight over the rights to having the words ‘In Space’ on a front cover, but he’s not bitter (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it).
Even more exciting (to me, anyway) is the fact that an original short story of mine is gracing* the pages of Grimdark Magazine #4 which is OUT NOW. The story is called ‘Redemption Waits’, is set a couple of years before the events of DARK RUN, and follows the crew of the Keiko on one of their less above-board jobs. GDM were kind enough to feature the first chapter of DARK RUN as a teaser in their last issue, and I’m very happy that they’ve agreed to run ‘Redemption Waits’ in this one. It’s still four long months until DARK SKY comes out, but here’s a little extra sample if you’ve finished DARK RUN and want a little more Ichabod Drift in your life.
And that’s all from me. Now, back to the editing…