Sunday, March 12, 2006

belle and sebastian and the copyedit

i'm still deep in the copyedit. need to have it done early in the day tomorrow so i'll have time to make a copy, then get it to UPS. i have a ticket to see belle and sebastian tonight. i thought about selling it, but i don't think i will. not as crazy about belle and sebastian as i was years ago, but i still want to see them. i hope they play seymour stein.

Seymour stein - Ive been lonely
I caught a glimpse of someone's face
It was mine and I'd been crying

Half a world away
Ticket for a plane
Record company man
I won't be coming to dinner

My thoughts are far away
I'm working on that day
North country girl
I think she's going to stay

Promises of fame, promises of fortune
LA to new york - san francisco back to boston
Has he ever seen dundee?
Won't he hire a limousine?
Seymour send her back to me


I heard dinner went well
You liked chris's jacket
He reminded you of johnny
Before he went electronic

Seymour stein - sorry I missed you
Have a nice flight home
It's a good day for flying

the copyedit:

i've found two big things that were there from the very first draft.
three editors missed it.
one scene involves two guns. a little later there is only one gun. the other big problem involves DNA. not anything complex. I should have known better.

it's scary to get to this stage and find fairly big problems. i know there must be other things i've missed.

i wonder what a reader thinks about mistakes like this. if the book is really good, i would probably forgive the writer. if the book isn't that great, it would be another reason to check the writer off my list.


Anonymous said...

If three editors missed it, perhaps it wasn't that noticeable. Still good that you caught it. In any event, try not to panic!! We'll all be reading it for enjoyment. That's a much more forgiving approach.

emeraldcite said...

If three editors missed it, what's to say that many readers would catch it (to reiterate jason's point). You'll have a few who might, but unless it's a key point, no one will notice.

Every once in awhile I'll catch something in someone's book, but I won't hold it against them unless it really plays a role in the plot or it happens too often.

No writer is perfect and people will only nitpick if it really sticks out or they have a stick up their ass.

And who needs those kinds of readers anyway... :)

bekbek said...

Speaking of nitpicking (I must have a stick up my ass), Ellis Peters/Edith Pargeter and comma splices.

Oh my freakin' god, the comma splices.

I thought several times, "what is up with the world today, are there no editors?" Now I'm learning, perhaps yes there are none, and perhaps I must still blame the author.

I'm just sayin'... you may live and die by the comma, my friend. Be brave.

On the up side... I still love Brother Cadfael. What I wouldn't give for those books I sold...

Jeff said...

As a reader, I'm willing to overlook a couple of spelling errors, misplaced or absent quotation marks, and other minor grammatical missteps. Your two gun/one gun example is probably not even noticeable unless pointed out. Writers and editors are not going to catch everything, I don't care how good they are. Mistakes happen.
Blatant factual errors, unrealistic plot developments, and the lack of a smooth transition between scenes is another matter.
Like you said, if the book is otherwise good and I'm familiar with the author, I'm more likely to overlook a few minor mistakes.
Echoing Jason and Emeraldcite, if three editors have missed what you've discovered then the errors must not be that obvious and most if not all readers won't even notice. :)

Jeff said...

Oh, and I hope you enjoyed Belle and Sebastian. :)

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I'm stressing about the whole copy edit thing. I have no idea what I'm getting into.

Glad you caught the problems. Hope I catch any they miss as well.

anne frasier said...

jason, emeraldcite, and jeff -- your comments have removed some of my worry. :)
bekbek -- i think you mentioned comma splices somewhere else! :D :D

rob, i hope your copyedit goes smoothly. most do. this one is problematic because of the odd process the book went through. no time to really tighten and polish so i'm trying to do that now -- completely backward.

jeff -- yes, i did enjoy the show. :) thanks! a little sad about the direction the band has taken in the past few years. you see that sometimes when an amazing band has struggled for so many years to finally get mainstream recognition. i always loved the scottish literary aspect of their music, and that doesn't even exist in the new material.

and the fans!! if jim jones kool-aide had been served, they would have had mass participation.

Jer said...

Anne, there are three copyeditors at my company. We call ourselves the comma-kazes. Jer

anne frasier said...

jer, i love that! :D