Copy Editing: Results

Posted: May 20th, 2011 under Editing, the writing life.

820 pages have now been gone over in detail one direction, front to back.   Next comes the (usually faster) reverse sequence, back to front.  I’ve already seen all the CE’s marks, and have made most (sometimes all) of my marks.  More “stets” may be applied, or some “stets” may be withdrawn.    Usually, in the last half of a book, both CE and I are getting sick of it, and begin to do things mechanically in a way that’s not best for you readers.  So if I have the time I always go backwards on the second run.

My guess is that there are well over 800 “stets” (refusals of the CE’s marks) and that just about ensures that not all of them will make it into the final proofs.    I probably accepted that many marks, including ones I had to think about for awhile.  (Does this mark materially damage the meaning, flow, readability of the text? )   I’ve also made changes on unmarked text–the CE, for instance, missed some things that were wrong (“he’s” instead of “he” in one instance.)   Where the CE made changes, I sometimes agreed that a different phrasing would be better than my original–but not the CE’s phrasing.

I don’ t have an accurate count on this first run-through and I’m not going to make one on the reverse run, either.  Takes too long.     I will say that this CE isn’t the worst I’ve ever had, but also isn’t the best I’ve ever had.   It could be that I’m not the best or worst writer this CE has had to copy edit, which would make us even.


  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — May 21, 2011 @ 6:23 am


    820 pages – hopefully this means a thick book.

  • Comment by elizabeth — May 21, 2011 @ 8:09 am


    Fairly thick, yes. It’s in the neighborhood of 160,000 words. GRR gets away with longer, but I don’t.

  • Comment by John Mc — June 25, 2011 @ 7:25 am


    Looks like I need to get longer book shelves.
    More DIY not my favourite occupation.LOL

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