Copy Edit Season

One year ago this week, I began writing Her Dying Day. I’d flown to Bangor, Maine to participate in a writer’s retreat. I’d never done anything like that before. I was nervous. As a mystery writer and true crime aficionado, part of my brain was telling me that trekking out into the woods where I knew no one to take part in a long weekend of learning a very particular writing style that many people are overly passionate about wasn’t going to end well. However, I did it anyway.

Lobster rolls are a great way to start your writing journey.

That weekend I came home with a mostly-solid outline, a dynamite opening scene, a tentative ending, and new friends. I spent the next 2 or 3 weeks making that outline iron-clad and then started writing. 6 weeks later I had a rough draft of my book.

On Wednesday, my copy edits for Her Dying Day landed in my inbox. I immediately printed them so I could see the publisher’s copy edits and then add my own. So far the edits are minor. I learned my comma game needs some work, and I found a couple of very minor continuity errors I missed when I changed a plot point.

But that’s the point of copy editing. I haven’t seen these words for about four or five weeks. My mind can process them in a fresher way. I can see my mistakes like a reader will see them. Of course, some mistakes will slip through. That’s the nature of life, but hopefully none of the big ones.

My copy edits are due back in my publisher’s hands next Wednesday. If things continue as they’ve been going that shouldn’t be a problem.Then comes what’s mysteriously called the “First Pass.” I’m thinking that has to do with galley proofs and catching egregious errors. And then the equally mysterious “Second Pass” to make sure those errors were caught. And then …. advance reader copies!

My agent indicated that my ARCs might appear just after the first of the year. That would be the best Christmas present ever.

I’m planning my book launch. If you want me to come to your local bookstore let me know. I’d be happy to drop in, say some words, and sign some copies for you and your friends. It would be equally great if you could help by introducing me to those book store owners. Have pen, will travel.

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