Wednesday, August 02, 2006


When a copyeditor edits a new author's work, she checks for many things, but most of her edits flag multiple instances of the same few stylistic errors. The result can take the wind out of your sails, because you get your work back with something flagged in every other sentence.

It isn't that bad though: it's just that you weren't taught to write the way you must write for publication. You have no way of knowing the tricks of the trade, so you keep making the same few mistakes. Unfortunately, these are stylistic errors that you must recast the sentence to fix. Then, after you revise your edited work, you need a second copyedit to check for other things and polish the piece.

So, whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction, you can slash your copyediting costs by learning and using a few basic principles of good writing style. Then you really get your money's worth out of an editor. You don't need her level of professional expertise just to tell you to write in the active voice… one hundred times at $30-$55 dollars an hour. That's overkill, like paying an M.D. to show you how to take your temperature.

Moreover, then your editor can dig deeper and do the things you really need an editor for. The result is a finely crafted piece of work.



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