“My manuscript is pretty clean. Probably won’t take you long. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure it just needs a proofread, not a whole edit.” Like other copyeditors, I get this a lot.
The biggest problem is writers don’t see their own mistakes. Then, an editor like me comes along and surprises the author with red lines and corrections on their story. The sheer number of them makes their manuscript look like it’s getting ready for Valentine’s Day.
This inability to see the mistakes in your writing can be called author blindness. Author blindness can be lessened with some time away from your story but never fully cured. It is a condition caused by overfamiliarity with your words. You’ve seen them many, many times, even in your head before they were formed on the paper or the screen. Once they’re out there, you see what you expect to see on the page—your vision of the story—instead of what is actually there. Often, these issues exist even after you’ve self-edited.When author blindness kicks in, you see what you expect to see on the page—your vision of the story—instead of what is actually there. Click To Tweet
An Aside on Self-Editing
And you should self-edit before you send your book to your editor. Think of it this way. You have the choice of giving your editor an unshaped lump of clay or a mostly sculpted piece that still needs some polishing. Given time and money constraints, which one could she most likely refine into something that is both a superb work of art and on par with your vision?
If you don’t believe me, watch this video by Garret Robinson.
You have the choice of giving your editor an unshaped lump of clay or a mostly sculpted piece. Which one could she most likely refine into a superb work of art that is on par with your vision? Click To Tweet
Mistakes Copyeditors Catch
Self-editing aside, here are some very common problems copyeditors fix while editing. In fact, I see them in nearly every manuscript I edit. Are they hidden in yours?
The Process of Copyediting Fiction
Past or Present? Using Tense Effectively in Fiction
The Importance of Point of View: Part I: The Types of POV
Resources for Fiction Writers: Read, Watch, and Listen
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