Reviewing Your Comments

What a week! I can’t thank everyone enough for their contributions. I’m going to have to work hard at getting the comments and ideas summarized.

So you’ve finished copyediting – proofreading the manuscript, and it’s time to send it back to the author. This is usually when I think about the work I’ve done and have I done what the author asked of me. It’s a good time to pause and re-read ALL the comments. I ask myself:

  • Are the comments clear?
  • Are the comments consistent?
  • Have I introduced any errors?

If I am working on a computer copy of the document, I’ve asked the author not to touch their version until I’m done (I probably should have mentioned this in part one). With only one version active, the author can accept or reject changes without introducing new errors. Also, I figure if I’m going to spend the time editing, the author should wait for me and not create another version of the manuscript. It’s frustrating to have to repeat the editing process.

I usually summarize my detailed comments in an overview. I remember to tell the author what I liked about the story. This is important. Every writer needs to hear what he/she does well. It’s easy to focus on criticism, and my goal is to motivate the author to continue to write. I don’t want to de-motivate them because I made too many comments.

In the summary, I remind the author to do the following before shipping the manuscript to an agent, publisher or uploading it to an e-book site (if they are self-publishing):

  • accept or reject suggested changes
  • delete any remaining comments
  • turn off mark-up or track changes
  • remove bookmarks
  • check under properties that the title is correct

When you’re ready, ship the manuscript back to the author and see what he/she thinks. I’m usually nervous at this point. It’s an honour to read and work on another author’s manuscript, and I hope I’ve found a balance between being helpful and not being overly critical.

One final caution: I find it difficult to edit my own work. My eye reads what I think I wrote and not what I actually wrote. I do my best to correct my manuscript before I give it to someone else to edit, but I try to have a sense of humour and laugh at myself when errors are found. Nobody’s perfect ☺

Thanks again for reading . . .


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