“You smell like Chewbacca”

Wow, two posts in a day! I told you I was going to pick it up. :-)

I came across this post in praise of copyeditors while Twittering “copyediting” and had to share with you. I particularly love the author’s description of how authors feel when they get a copyedited manuscript back:

It was like getting dressed up and brushing one’s hair very carefully and thinking one looks quite respectable indeed, only to have one’s big-mouth best friend show up and say “You can’t go out like that—your skirt is tucked into your underwear and you smell like Chewbacca.” You feel relief that someone caught you in time. Adoration for their superior wisdom and objective eye. Lingering embarrassment, mingled with wounded pride, mingled with overwhelming gratitude.

Every once in a while copyeditors run into an author who gets offended at having these things pointed out, but it luckily doesn’t happen very often. :-)

2 thoughts on ““You smell like Chewbacca””

  1. That’s a wonderful quote, and I think it really does capture the essence of what I perceive copyediting to be.

    I just completed my first pro bono copyediting assignment–the first chapter of a novella-in-writing of a friend who is not a native English-speaker. Surprisingly, the copy was in very good shape, but her gratitude (after overcoming what she called “jitters” before looking at my edits) to me for pointing out things she thought were perfectly okay was genuine, and definitely rewarding to me.

    And the way we worked out a rather confusing description did a lot for both of us, I think, as far as establishing that we could (and will) work together effectively.

  2. Yeah, it’s always nice to do that first job. :) The experience can be completely different when you’re working on a book by someone you don’t know at all, and I think a lot of becoming a good copyeditor is learning how to work within the styles of a variety of authors.

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