I was talking to someone recently about what’s involved in copy editing something like a text-book. Because of my background in science I am from time to time given something like this to work on. I don’t mind as it’s different, although I always then look forward to getting back to a novel. While I like editing for the  flow of the  narrative and checking sentence structure, that arguments are reasoned and logical, correcting grammar, typos etc. I do spend an awful lot of time on the nitty-gritty.

By this I mean the checking headings, formatting, spaces on the page, consistency in capitalisation, hyphenation and spelling of words with alternatives (normalize/normalise; World wide, worldwide, world-wide), index, contents, table and figure references, section headings and the thing that I always found the most tedious when writing papers: references! Harvard being the most common system used but it has to be done right. There is so much more to editing than many people realise that when I then move back to critiquing a novel or short stories it seems so much easier!

So I urge any of you, whatever you write to think about how you spell words with acceptable alternatives. If you write ice-cream in Chapter One then don’t write ice cream in Chapter Two. If you decide to opt for realize with a z then don’t change it into realise later. And if you use a z in realize then you need to also do it for recognize, categorize… see? While these are the things the copy editor and the proof reader check, if you can get into good habits, your work will look more professional, and make my work a lot easier!

That is all. I have the last three chapters to write in Chutney. No, I don’t mean I am abandoning my computer to write in chutney, although…

Have a great Tuesday!

Consistency is key


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