I’ve written previously here and here of my appreciation for good copyeditors. For the last two days I’ve been reviewing the copyedits for my next book (a middle-grade novel due out from HarperCollins next year) and once again I’m fascinated with the ways the copyeditor saves me from myself. Two examples:
My submitted text: “And what better place?” he said, nodding his head toward the ravine and switching quickly back to a smile.
Copyeditor’s comment: Delete “his head”? Unnecessary with “nodding.”
My reaction: Indeed. It’s not as if he would nod with his patella.
My submitted text: Here and there you’ll see a steam engine vehicle, or an old car powered by a contraption called a gasifier, which can turn wood into fuel.
Copyeditor’s comment: Wood is a type of fuel. Maybe “which uses wood for fuel”?
My reaction: Hey, words are my life and livelihood, so don’t you tell me how…how…well, now that you put it that way…
It’s a privilege to have one’s work scrutinized, pruned and furbished with such care.
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