Sunday, 24 July 2011

Style sheet

After a week or two of arctic/monsoon weather in London, it's finally nice this afternoon. Unfortunately I am inside, because I have to finish looking through my copyedited manuscript. The copyeditor is the person who fixes grammatical mistakes, syntax and spelling, but most importantly for me they are, in a way, the writer's continuity director. For example, if you have a character suddenly appearing in or disappearing from a scene with no explanation; if you said that a character's country house was in France in Chapter 1 and then in Chapter 3 it's in Italy; if someone is wearing jeans on one page and a dress on the next - the copyeditor will spot it and ask you to fix it. This is very useful because it's that kind of tiny thing that can drive the reader crazy and destroy their faith in the story you've created.

My copyeditor has done a very good job, especially on picking up sense/continuity issues. For example, in one scene I had the character talking on the phone while holding 'a glass of Campari in one hand and a pair of high heels in the other'. The copyeditor asked the very pertinent question: 'How is she holding the phone?'

One other thing the copyeditor does is create a style sheet, listing the spellings used for common words in the text (where spellings etc can vary). The style sheet gives you an interesting snapshot of the book. Here's mine:

Botox (caps)
ghost writer
prosecco (lower case)


By the way: apologies that my posts have been so sporadic. From now on, I've decided I am going to post every Friday. So even if I've been quiet all week, please check in with me then ...

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