Why Hire a Copy Editor?

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You have an amazing story to tell. Aunt Mary says, “Why don’t you write a book about it, dear?” So you do, and you rush to self-publish your first book just the way thousands of authors are doing these days.

But, wait!

You may feel you’ve just written the next bestselling novel, but the truth is, most first novels are full of errors.

When you rewrite the first draft (and the second and third, and so on) except for small improvements your work will still have weak sections. You can’t fix something if you don’t know what is wrong. At some point you will need outside help. Even experienced authors benefit from an impartial eye, so that help should not come from your loving Aunt Mary. Support, yes, but writing advice, no. Not unless she’s a successful author herself.

Have you taken the time to go to a writing conference or join a writers’ group? If you have ever had your writing analyzed by an expert, you were most likely shocked by their comments. You had no idea there was still so much to learn about writing. Taking a course in creative writing, joining a local writers’ group, going to writing conferences, and reading some of the many books on writing can teach you techniques for making your novel a success. You will pick up writing tips and learn how to structure a novel.

After you’ve rewritten your novel employing all your newfound knowledge, you may think you are ready to publish. Not so. This is the most dangerous stage, where many writers become impatient and “just want to get it published.”

Take a step back. You have a wonderful plot and you’ve told the story in a way that makes the reader want to turn the pages, but you can ruin it all by publishing before it is ready. Some people say poor editing doesn’t make them stop reading. Does that mean they don’t care about the fine craft of writing? If they will read anything, regardless of quality, perhaps they will write without quality too. Not something worthy of much respect.

Imagine you are going to a job interview. Would you present yourself before the interviewer  with your hair scraggly and unwashed, wearing a beautiful brand new outfit and dirty old sneakers? Would you think it doesn’t matter because you know you’re a great person inside?  I can guarantee you won’t make a good impression. The interviewer will have nothing good to say about you. He is judging you by what he sees.

And so it will be with your book. If you want the readers to love it and recommend it to others, don’t publish it if it hasn’t been cleaned up. And I don’t mean a quick read through by Aunt Mary who declared it the best thing she’d ever read. Even that friend with a college degree who pointed out some grammatical things and a spelling mistake is not going to catch everything. Get your book professionally copy-edited and publish quality work confidently.

If you have not worked at shaping your novel with the help of books, courses, critiquing groups, and workshops, you may need a substantive editor for putting the scenes and events in the best order. Chances are that you are past this stage and feel the book is ready. Don’t hire a proofreader. That won’t do you much good unless you only want spelling, punctuation, and typos fixed, but a good copy editor will check all these things. You pay once and get the benefit of having any mistake or problem pointed out to you.

copy-editing [1]

Here are some of the things a copy editor will draw your attention to.

  • poorly phrased sentences
  • lack of balance in the sentence (perhaps where the verb at the beginning does not match with the clause or phrase you have added onto the main sentence frame)
  • overused words
  • repeated words within two or three sentences
  • incorrect grammar usage
  • incorrect capitalization
  • misuse of possessives and plurals
  • wrong word meaning
  • punctuation mistakes, especially in the use of dialogue
  • typos, missing words, and repeated words (the the)
  • incorrect information (fact checking)
  • consistency throughout the work (does Jane become Jayne later in the work?)
  • misspelled words (breath or breathe, loath or loathe)
  • misuse of homonyms (peek, peak, or pique)
  • incorrect verb tense (lie, lay, laid, lain, etc.)
  • boring repetition of the same sentence pattern
  • incorrect use of pronouns after a preposition (between him and I? or him and me?)
  • use of clichés that are not part of the dialogue

These mistakes and many more will be drawn to your attention. It’s well worth spending the time and money to have the errors corrected. A good copy editor will help make your writing shine.

 

Christmas Interview – Gina Page

Visiting Anneli’s Place today is a talented artist. Gina Page uses a variety of unusual materials to create unique works of art. Etchings and papermaking combine to make one-of-a-kind books that display Gina’s artistic and poetic talent.

Here are some samples of her handmade books.

In Mexico (cropped) [1]

Meditation on a Canterbury Bell Stem-inside [1]

Pages Farm Galiano Island [1]

Gina has agreed to share her thoughts on Christmas by answering my Christmas interview questions.

ginapage_1350953001_58Welcome, Gina.

1. Do you celebrate Christmas?  Yes

2. Have you ever spent Christmas alone?  No

3. Have you ever had a non-traditional Christmas dinner? What did you have?  No

4. What are your thoughts on gift giving?  I enjoy it!

5. What was the most fun activity you’ve done at Christmas?  Just being together with family and friends.

6. Do you have stockings either at Christmas, or on St. Nicholas Day? Christmas Day

7. What was the best gift you ever received at Christmas?  My mum made me a beautiful green silk dress once.

8. Have you ever given a homemade gift? Tell about it.  I made my mom a lovely sewing basket.

9. What would you change about Christmas?  More classical Christmas music on the radio.

10. What would you keep the same if you could?  I like the Christmas tree and the traditional turkey dinner.

11. What is your favourite Christmas music or song?  Once in Royal David’s City…I get goosebumps if it’s sung by the King’s College Choir.

12. What do you like best about Christmas?  Renewing ties with family and friends.

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One year Gina had a good idea for Christmas. Here she is in a place I’d love to be right now.

Gina and agave plant

Have you ever spent Christmas in a holiday setting? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

You can find out more about Gina Page and her art at this link:

http://www.cbbag.ca/OL_Gallery/papermaking/gina.htm

Cool Paper, Art, and Poetry

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Gina K. Page is a lady of many talents. This blog isn’t big enough to talk about all of them, so I’ve chosen a few to display a sample of Gina’s creativity and sensitivity to beautiful things. I asked Gina to provide me with some photos of her folding books which are a combination of her poetry and artwork. Click on the photos for a very large image and a much better look at the artist’s books.

Pages Farm Galiano Island [1]

These are etchings done from drawings Gina did at the Page family farm on Galiano Island. She has added her own poetic description in the pages of the book.  I will let her explain the process in her own words:

Gina:

I’ve been writing poetry and making prints for quite a while, so combining them both into artist’s books seemed like a logical way to pursue both interests.

When I am creating etchings, usually aquatints, to include in an artist book or to stand alone, I employ a method called chine colle, in which I place thin pieces of coloured Japanese tissue papers that have been cut or torn to desired shapes into position on my inked etching plate.  Each piece will have been previously sprayed with an adhesive.

I then place a piece of heavier damped printmaking paper, such as Somerset or Stonehenge, over the paper and plate, being careful not to disturb any of the thinner papers, and roll everything together through the press.  The resulting print is a seamless image created by the ink from the plate as well as the colours of the chine colle papers.

In Mexico (cropped) [1]

I usually use a light or dark coloured hadura paper for the base layer of the chine colle, as it gives a beautiful edge when torn damp.  Occasionally I use kozo or gampi papers; they are both strong and can be very thin and allow other colours to show through them.  Kozo has a wonderful softness, and gampi has an attractive sheen.  I often use Japanese rayon tissues that have very small gold and silver metallic particles in them, as many of my etchings and writings have to do with dreams, dusk and the night sky.

The papers are lovely to work with, especially those made from natural fibres. I choose subtle colour combinations well suited to nocturnal musings.

Being very light, though, they require a lot of concentration when being put in place, as the slightest breath or movement can cause them to shift out of place.

Meditation on a Canterbury Bell Stem-inside [1]

Because I don’t have my own press and type, I use alternate means of producing the text.  For the past few years, I have been stenciling the text onto the paper.  I use a purchased plastic sheet of upper and lower case letters, and stencil the text one letter at a time, with a quite stiff oil based stencil paint.  This process is time consuming but very effective when carefully done.

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One of Gina’s earliest books of poetry was entitled “Along a Road of Pattering Shade.” I found it perfectly named for the West Coast.

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Here is one of my favourite poems from that book:

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And finally, two more pieces of unique artwork by Gina K. Page.

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Best of luck with your poetry and artwork, Gina.

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Please don’t be shy. Leave a comment and let us know what you think.