Tag Archives: copy editor

Beriberi doesn’t cause diarrhoea. Try dysentery.

Phil: We’re hard at work on the Kate vs the Navy’s edits thanks to some really superb work from proofreader Catherine Fitzsimons.

All the way through the manuscript, Catherine has annotated changes and made suggestions. Working on these is a little like the days of handing your work in to a teacher and seeing what they have written at the bottom of the page.

We’d expected little more than a tidy up for the grammar and spelling plus some useful text formatting. What we have is far better. Catherine has read the book and provided all sorts of plotline advice. There are notes about references that appear later in the book, the sort of the things you only know when you have fully grasped the structure of the narrative. To be honest, I think she knows our book better than we do!

Along the way there are also technical points such as the sort of illness one of the characters could have suffered in the past, although Candice was glad to have read this AFTER eating her Warwickshire Rarebit lunch (It’s like Welsh, but with local ingredients since you ask).

Once you get over the idea that someone has criticised your work, then the process of applying many of the suggestions is great fun. For a start, we have to really think about sections of text, some of which require a bit of head-scratching. However, the result will be far better than we’d have managed on our own and makes the service well worth every penny.

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Feedback

Candice :  Now writing is one thing but being able to take feedback on what you’ve written is something entirely different. I have to admit, I am not the best at taking constructive criticism. My usual response is to jump to the defence of what I have done, right or not.  Phil is much better and doesn’t take things quite so personally.  However, we have had feedback from a few people over the last year and we seem to have two different types of reader:

One: who reads the book cover to cover and then gives constructive notes on the whole thing with a few pointers. They fall in to the “I liked it” group.

Two: those who read it as if they are marking a school essay, mark up every typo or grammar mistake and give it back three months later.  They are the ” I hated it but I’m not going to be that blunt.”

Now, we understand everyone is different and we all don’t like every film we see or book we read but I have to say I have taken some our feedback personally . Hey, this book is like my baby, we’ve both put alot of time and effort into it and when some one is negative I feel like saying, your child is ugly too!

However, after my last negative feedback, I really felt like throwing the towel in.  But after a pep talk from Phil I thought it was about time we sent something to a professional editor.    So I found Liz, a locally based editor also on wordpress (libroediting.com) and we sent off the first three chapters.  And 48 hours later back they came.

Finally I felt that we  were getting professional help that was constructive and actionable. So, Liz’s feedback spured us on in our writing chat last week.  Here is someone who said, well actually you need a better hook at the start and need to beef up your proganist, and I understand what she means.

So we are going to work on book 2 and keep Liz’s comments in mind. And when we get back to reditting book 2 we’ll send it to her for the professional opinion as well as those of friends and family, to keep things in perspective.

And hopefully with all our feedback, 2012 will be the year when someone goes, “”hang on I think this is worth pursuing.”

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Filed under Candice, Writing