Copy Choreography

There are many stages in the editing process, and this month, Long Story Short will be fleshing out the reasoning behind the particular services How Novel provides, ordered chronologically with the writing process. Lucky for you, most everything comes along with an illustration or two straight from my geeky (but quietly charming, she said very convincingly) life, especially childhood.

It’s important for writers to find the support that helps their style and process. Some folks plan out everything. Others like the excitement of “winging it.” Some writers take months and years to deliberate over their manuscript, putting it in a proverbial drawer until they can weigh the pros and cons of proposed changes. Others like to keep the momentum going by editing as soon as they’ve received feedback. Hopefully, hearing about the services offered by HNE will be helpful for you as you continue on your writing journey and discern the best fit for your work!


More information can be found on the services page.

I’m roughly five years old, and my entire dance class is lined up for a recital in front of a packed house. I don’t know about the others, but, for me, intimidation is a significant factor at that moment. I’m on the high school’s giant proscenium stage, lights are blasting my eyes, and the ridiculous music is blaring through the sound system. My family is out in the crowd somewhere watching me strut (poorly) while dressed in a shiny, puffy, pink monstrosity. My dancing skills are about to be put to the ultimate test. Can I remember the steps?

The outfit for the tap number was even better. Because, well, sequins.

The outfit for the tap number was even better. Because, well, sequins.

Our teacher is in the wings, dancing right along with us, smiling and counting like a maniac. We’ve all got our faces glued to her. Ignore the lights, ignore the people, ignore everything. Just copy her steps.

When I saw a snapshot later (taken in bold defiance of every announcement prohibiting photography), of course, we were obviously looking at the invisible teacher behind the curtain. We survived the routine, but I was aware even then that in several ways our cutesy performance suffered for it.

When writing, yes, one should copy edit their own material to the best of their ability before sending out it to be read by anyone, but have you ever read a book where the writing seems solely focused on correct spelling and grammar? The author has been looking into the wings for the steps, the rules, instead of enjoying the performance and delivering a genuine and personal experience to the audience.

A writer reads through his/her own work a million times to catch everything he/she can, an editor helps hone the story into what it needs to be, and then it’s time to switch gears. A copy editor will not have prior knowledge of what the author meant to say or what switches the developmental editor suggested. The copy editor will be able to catch a missing e here or a tense disagreement there, because he/she didn’t already know where the sentence was going.

Some writers like to have someone familiar with the manuscript do the copy editing as well, which can be especially helpful when the style is intentionally different grammatically. Maybe the prose is written conversationally reflecting a certain dialect or geographical region, and if he/she already knows the story, the copy editor will have head start on which errors to fix and which match the voice of the narrator. A good copy editor will figure it out either way, but when it comes to hiring a freelancer the author’s comfort is a major factor. In this case, How Novel Editing offers a flat rate when adding copy editing to a developmental editing contract.

Wait. Was this on beat five or six? Or was this my partner's part?

Wait. Was this on beat five or six?

On the other hand, some writers understandably want a different person entirely to copy edit. A wise choice but that requires finding someone else. More brains will have wrestled with the words to make sure everything is clear and that the story isn’t inhibited by avoidable errors. In this case, How Novel Editing offers an hourly rate for writers who are looking to enlist the services of a separate entity for their copy editing needs.

Practice the grammatical steps, strengthen form and posture, but also find the freedom in performing. A writer doesn’t have to look in the wings to perform steps created by someone else nor face the intimidating process and performance alone.

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