Part I Part II Part III Part IV
Part V Part VI Part VII Part VIII
Part IX Part X Part XI Part XII
Something a lot of readers don't know is that a copy editor can input errors and changes into a manuscript that the author never approved. This is why I'm freakishly controlling about my edits and proofs. I know that if a grammatical error or a typo slips through, most readers will blame me. After all, it's my name of the cover.
The majority of copy editors are very good at what they do. Since each of my books has gone through anywhere from one to three copy/line edits, I've had several copy editors, and only a few complaints. (Like the copy editors who inserted four misspelled words and added a lay/lie error . . . that was fun. I was glad I caught it at the last minute.)
I've really had only one really bad copy editor, and that was one of three I had for Spires of Stone.
An editor's job is to make the writer look good. They polish and smooth out the text and make the writer shine.
On the other hand, a bad editor will try to rewrite the whole thing so it sounds like them.
(This isn't just a whiny writer talking; I edit professionally and know what it takes to make a writer look good but still sound like themselves.)
That second scenario is what happened in one copy edit for Spires. I believe that this editor was really a frustrated writer, because they kept changing my voice, pulling out any personality that was me. Many sentences were rewritten so they were different . . . but no better. Entire sections were diluted from showing to telling. Humor was stripped out. Cliches (yes, cliches!) were added.
I had steam coming out of my ears.
In a sense, I'm glad this didn't happen until my fifth book. Earlier, I would have been hesitant to request that they change it back to the way I originally had it. This time, I had no qualms. With my blazing red pen, I scrawled STET (the editorial mark meaning "put it back the way it was") page after page.
Getting Spires to press had been more time-consuming and stressful than any of my other books to date. When it was done, I wanted to celebrate. But I couldn't quite do it at first, because I'd had moments of thinking I was done several times, so I waited, holding my breath for a few days before collapsing.
I've had people ask about what was changed in all those rewrites. In all honesty, I don't remember much about how the final book varied from earlier versions. I do know that my editor thought a prologue with some action would help introduce the male characters better and start the book of with a bang more, so that was added.
I remember that there was a lot of developing of Claude's character and his issues.
Oh, and the scene where the Relief Society sisters show up in support of Hannah was added (although originally put into the wrong spot, thanks to a late-night session where I had about two brain cells functioning).
Beyond that, I've seriously blocked most of it out.
Here's the cover they picked:
The artwork is pretty (always a fan of Al Rounds). But if I'm being perfectly honest, it's my least favorite of the temple covers. Part of that might be my own fault; I asked for two girls to be on the cover instead of one. Bethany and Hannah are both huge parts of the story; I didn't want readers to have to guess which was on the cover. But having two instead of one changed the basic look; they had to cram more in the same space.
One other downside is that the girl facing front looks so serious that I think she made a lot of people think that the book was more somber and tragic than it is, and that might have steered some readers away from it. (It's a retelling of a Shakespeare comedy; it has a lot of light moments!)
We all know the adage, "Don't judge a book by its cover," but the fact is, we all do it anyway.
I'm getting all weepy lately. Today's tour stop did it to me again:
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