June 17, 2003

Copyedit stage

Someone at Forward Motion was expecting a copyeditted manuscript back and had been instructed to add 30 pages to beef up the novel. She wanted to know what a 'copyedited' manuscript would be like and how you inserted material into it.

You'll be getting your manuscript back shortly with lots of marks on it in two colors. One will be the color your editor used for making corrections. The other will be the color your copyeditor used for making corrections. There will be a sheet of paper telling you how to make corrections/changes attached to the manuscript along with deadlines and other instructions.

Go over every word in the document. Make sure that the copyeditor translated your sentences into correct english. Usually they have, but occassionally something was misunderstood and the corrected version is no longer what you meant.

Also noted in margins (which is why they're so large) and attached in little notes (DO NOT REMOVE THEM) are questions from the copyeditor. Sometimes they're simple (You said 5 years here on page 157 and 7 years here on page 243, which is right?) and sometimes they are much more complicated (You didn't indicate what happened to the mouse and it reappears on page 258, please insert sentence/paragraph/pages to show where the mouse in between that time.)

You'll want to find correct copyediting marks and use them to indicate changes you want to make to the corrections. Usually anything the copyeditor has done can be undone easily, but anything the editor has done probably should be discussed with the editor. This disccussion usually entails putting back (STET) information that the editor has crossed out. For example, in ALIEN TASTE, my editor crossed out all the places that Ukiah cried (made him seem weaker) and drastically cut down a prolonged flashback. I didn't agrue with the cuts to the crying and most the cuts to the flashback (she was right) but I thought that two paragraphs HAD to be in the material to support later motivation.

If the addition is only a few words, add them under the lines by writing them in, using a different color pen than either editor or copyeditor used. If the addition is a long sentence, or more, up to several pages, type them up on a seperate page headed with the same style of head (name, title, page #) as the page of the original manuscript and add "A", "B" to the page number as needed. For example, if I needed to add three pages to ALIEN TASTE at page 345, I would type in page SPENCER/ALIEN TASTE/345 A...345 B, 345C
at the top of the additions. They are paperclipped to the original page (345) then.

To make added information flow better, you can cross out a paragraph/page and replace it with a drastically altered paragraph/page paperclipped to the original.

When I did ALIEN TASTE, my editor wanted an expanded ending, which originally was only three pages. I crossed off the three pages totally (which ended with Ukiah talking with Indigo at the crime scene, then jumped to Indigo, Ukiah and Max driving to the lake with Kittanning, discussing what to call Kittanning, and then a page of Ukiah introducing his moms to his new son) and replaced it with Ukiah and Max going back to the office, checking into a hotel, naming Kittanning without Indigo, and then joining Ukiah's moms and finally ending with him leaving the cottage in the middle of the night to join the howling Pack.)

Don't be afraid to fix little mistakes here and there as you work through the manuscript, paperclipping on anything longer than one sentence, but at the same time, don't do any major rewrite without your editor requesting them.

As to how you're going to insert 30 pages without any clear instructions as to where...good luck!

Posted by wen at June 17, 2003 12:29 AM

Wen, this is great!

Posted by: Morgan Brilliant at July 1, 2003 06:15 PM

This is great advice. I wish I'd thought of the page numbering method you used here (345A, 345B, etc) ... I totally didn't use that. :) Will remember for the next one though!

Posted by: Karin at July 14, 2003 01:56 AM