Thursday, July 13, 2017

Cheers to the Copy Editors, the Unsung Heroes of Writing by Hilary Wagner

Definition: Copy editors begin the editing process by fixing any grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. They also double check that names, places and organizations are spelled properly and that facts, dates and statistics are accurate.

As writers, we are very lucky. We get to live in wonderful worlds we create, places that defy reality and bring our readers somewhere we hold dear. What makes us even luckier, is having editors who work with us to make our stories shine. They help us ferret out plot issues. They take out the unnecessary. They approach us with the utmost honesty and are straightforward about changes that will only make the story better. 

All that said, there's special folks in this process that take it a step further. They are the highest quality of researchers. They are grammatical wizards. They have supernatural x-ray eyes. In essence, they perfect the imperfect. They are copy editors. 

I was very lucky to have a chance to work with one such wizard by the name of George L. Newman, who copy edited books two and three of the Nightshade Chronicles. Not only is he the nicest person you'll ever work with, but he truly cares about getting things right. Whether it was something as mundane as a comma or as detrimental as a line that could potentially throw off the reader, George found it. I can honestly say a copy editor is a prized possession to any writer. They allow us to write our story in our voice, but they make sure we are following those wonderful rules (and there are so many) of the English language. If we compare a book to a fine dining restaurant, a talented copy editor gives it that gleaming polish to contend for a Michelin Star.

The wonderful George Newman
I'd love to know others experiences on working with a copy editor and of course, give a big thank you to George Newman and all you copy editors out there. For someone like me, copy editing would be a grueling task and I'm so very thankful as a writer and a reader that you take the time to make those many books we all treasure glow with perfection. 

Of note, this was copy edited by my own eyes only, so be gentle. :)


Thanks for reading,

Hilary Wagner

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