Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The copyedit stage

As much as I love the process of writing my books, I love the copyedit stage even more. That's when it's Fine-Tooth-Comb stage, looking for every little typo or factoid that might need a second glance. On this gorgeous fall-like morning, I'm sipping my French Vanilla coffee and copyediting my new book 'Home From the Honeymoon,' which helps newlyweds create fun ways to celebrate all of the exciting Firsts of newlywed life...and handle the challenges as well. I couldn't be more proud of a manuscript -- it may be my new favorite.

As I copyedit, shortening some FYI boxes for layout space and giggling over some of the inside jokes that I always put in my books, I came across a factoid that stopped me in my tracks. Is Virginia Woolf actually Virgina Woolff? I know, I know. All you English majors out there are smacking your foreheads and thinking, "What?! Shouldn't she know that?" I can assure you that when you're in fact-check mode, the most basic tidbits can send you right to Google. So I looked up our dear departed friend Virginia, assured the correct spelling of her name, and found out that her real first name was Adeline. (Again, English majors, feel free to sigh... :) The copyedit stage always brings up some great trivia that makes this stage more of a game than a chore. In the end, we have a mistake-free manuscript for you. In my earliest days as an author, I named the wrong spouse for a distant member of England's royal family and that made it to print after sliding past two additional editors as well. Ooops. Only one royal-watcher from across the pond sent me a gentle note to correct the prince's name. In another of my books from years ago, a legitimate-at-the-time wedding resource that I included in my Resources section evolved into a phone sex line! These things happen, since change is as inevitable as the turning of the seasons. As writers, we're perfectionists, so everything gets a once-over, and it's a victory to discover an error at this stage...and you find out the coolest things when you're triple-researching something.

So that makes every stage of book-writing fun for me. The next step? Seeing this book in the front windows of bookstores during wedding season. And knowing that Virginia is happy her name is spelled correctly.