I came across a post by author Scott Berkun the other day that contains a lot of useful information about the copyediting process, and I thought readers here would be interested in it. Scott writes nonfiction, but many of the ideas he talks about are relevant to fiction as well. I particularly like the bits below.
And of course writing is more than grammar and tense, it’s also less tangible factors like honesty, relevance, humor and value, which the copyeditor might sense are lacking but can’t fix on their own. That’s the writer’s job. The result is good copyediting leads to good conversations between the copyeditor and writer about what the writer was trying to do and how they can do it better.
Not all houses allow copyeditors and authors to have actual conversations, so queries sometimes have to suffice for this. And although I’ve met authors who are offended by being queried, Scott makes another excellent point later in the post:
A copyeditor and author shouldn’t agree on everything – the process should force the writer to think more clearly and catch bad assumptions they’ve made. I get final say, so what do I have to lose in being questioned? Better now than in book reviews.
The entire post is worth checking out, and it’s always lovely to see an author who appreciates the process.