The Better Angels of Our Writing

Copy editors are to the world of publishing what the stage manager is to the world of theater. I love copy editors and I love stage managers.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 5.31.36 PMWhen the copy editor for my latest book placed a little check mark over the name of a computer game, Snood, and then wrote in the margin (“”), I knew that her fact-checking was protecting me, and I felt grateful. When I dashed off a sentence in the manuscript about something starting to “stink and rot,” she pointed out that things rot first and then they stink. She kept track of how often I used particular words and asked, kindly, if I was repeating them for a reason. | My editor and I had already gone through countless drafts of my novel by the time the copy editor read the manuscript. She fixed my infelicities of language and outright mistakes, coded the text for the compositor, and paid attention to the timeline, the plot, and the quirks of both my characters and my prose. She safeguarded me and saved me from myself.

Who could be anything other than slobberingly appreciative? —Chronicle of Higher Education


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