The essence of copy editing is making sure every aspect of the language is used
correctly. That doesn't mean insisting on an artificial formality. It's not about rigidly applying
every rule that made your eyes glaze over in high school English class. It does mean ensuring your words
say exactly what you mean, and that readers don't have to struggle to understand.
Many first-time authors resist the idea of hiring an editor. It's understandable. It's a
real cost, and talented writers do (and should) have confidence in their own skills.
There is a real cost, though, to not using an editor. It doesn't take many mistakes in a
published work to overshadow your brilliant insights and your limpid prose. Even the most careful
writer will make unnoticed errors, just because hand, eye and brain don't always cooperate perfectly.
The price of skipping the copy editing step can be high. Rejection by agents or publishers.
Dismissal by reviewers, or worse, bad reviews. Reflex reactions by readers who judge you, your work,
and your ideas, by the flaws in your text.
As a copy editor, I'll find and fix errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar and word
usage. But I won't be pedantic about fussy, unnecessary rules. Such as never starting a sentence with
a conjunction. Or smiting every sentence fragment. If a writer's tone is casual and conversational,
I won't ruin that by making her sound like a textbook. My approach to the mechanics of English -- and
I know them well, both by logic and by instinct -- is to let accuracy and clarity govern every editing
Where a word's meaning has become unclear, or a word is commonly misused, my bias is toward
finding the most precise usage. Readers who don't know the difference won't notice. Those who care about
distinctions of meaning will appreciate it.
Some other aspects of copy editing are sharpening fuzzy phrases, defining or explaining
difficult concepts, and translating a specialist's jargon into plain English. I'll find and smooth out
any rough edges I find in a manuscript, asking questions if necessary to make sure I'm correctly
interpreting the author's intent.
Most important, I'll help your own voice be heard, faithful to your writing style,
while ensuring your prose is clear, correct and compelling.
Tools have changed; editing principles haven't.
It's not so important whether editing is done with quill on parchment, red pencil on paper,
or cursor on computer screen. A focus on accuracy and clarity, and an ear for good writing, are still
essential to a copy editor's work.
To request a rate quotation,
to query form.