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'08 Authors Insider Tips


Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Epublishing: A Different Way
Choosing an Epublisher
Your Milage May Vary
Understand Your Contract!
Reasonable Expectations


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Publishing Biz
Critiquing: To Give and ...
Commerical vs. Literary...
Antiformalism for Fun &...
So You Want to Write a Novel
The Story Idea
Planning Your Novel...


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
5 Steps to Success
Inspirational
Opening Passages
Let's Get Critical
Writer's Block
Learning Lessons


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Be a Finisher ...
Listen to Your Characters
Conferences: Act Now ...
Starting an Erotic Story
Exercises & Writing Prompts
Revising & Rewriting
Copy Editing
The Manuscript Critique
How to Submit Your Work
Reading as Craft


Guest Appearances

Adventures in e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

For the Love of Man
by Laura Baumbach

How to...Influence Editors
by Alison Tyler

Marketing your e-Book
by Brenna Lyons


2008 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Role Play
Busy Doing Nothing
Picture of a Fish & Chip...
What I Did With My Summer


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Naughty Cookies...
Tie Me Up, Please …
The Smut-Writer’s Holiday
Never Trust the Narrator ...
Compare and Contrast
Following the Pen
Naked at the Farmers Market
Iím Easy, But Iím No Slut
Good Girl Gone Bad
Pleasures of the Dark Side
Slow, Spare and Sexy


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Raising Daughters
Jamie Lynn
Utopias
Lust
The Good Old Days
Election '08
Traditional Marriage
Campaign 2008
Free Will


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Masturbating on SSRIs
Sex and Disability
Besides Ourselves
Adjusting our Contrast


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Sex Is All Metaphors
Turn-ons and Squicks
Sexual Truth
Fickle Muse
Porn, Erotica & Romance


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Alison Tyler
Ashley Lister
Debra Hyde
Donna George Storey
Jeremy Edwards
Kristina Wright
Rachel Kramer Bussel


Erotic Hot Spots
by William S. Dean
Interview with Tilly Greene
Interview with Devyn Quinn


Getting Graphic
with William S. Dean
New Times for Readers...
The Future in Words ...
Interview with Fantagraphics


On Writing Erotica

The Accidental Pornographer
by Lisabet Sarai

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

Get Them Off in High Style
Helena Settimana

So, You Want To Write Erotica?
by Hanne Blank


Web Gems
Hot Movies For Her

Two Girls Kissing:
Writing Lesbian Literary Erotica

with Amie M. Evans

Copy Editing



Amie M. EvansCopy editing is a relatively straight-forward task that will ultimately cause you untold trouble and stress. It is the final step in the long manuscript production process. Skimping here could be the difference between acceptance and rejection from an editor. The two most important things for you to remember about copy editing are: (1) it is very, very difficult for you, the author, to copy edit your own work and (2) you are either a good copy editor or you are not. Both of these facts, once accepted, need not stop you for copy editing your own work, but should instead send up red flags that this is a dangerous forest and you need to use extra care as you walk through it. Copy editing should be given as much respect, time, and consideration as all of the steps that came before it.

Copy editing your own work is difficult because you are hyper-familiar with the manuscript and you made all of the errors. This means the errors will be that much more difficult for you to see. You know what you want to say and there is something in each of our minds that blocks out the errors and allows us to see what should be there instead of what is there. (Form should be From, but we see from, not form when we read it). Unfortunately, just because you are a great writer doesn’t mean you are a wonderful copy editor. Copy editing is a skill apart from and very different from writing. The copy editors I know say that the errors pop off the page at them almost as if they were in red ink. But, even if you do not have a natural talent for copy editing; you can learn basic copy editing and improve your own skill as a copy editor with a little work, practice, and a note book.

What is Copy Editing?
From The American Heritage Dictionary:

  1. to edit (a manuscript, document, text, etc.) for publication, esp. for punctuation, spelling, grammatical structure, style, etc.

Copy editing is an intense and deep reading of a final manuscript for spelling and grammatical errors as well as typos. It is the final step in the production of your manuscript. Good copy editing is critical in producing a “clean” manuscript and the cleaner your manuscript the less likely it is an editor will toss it back to you as a reject. Turning in a clean manuscript won’t get you published, but it will show that you have done your work and respect the editor to whom you are submitting. Bad copy editing is a mark of unprofessional work or, at the very least, a lazy author. In either case, it reflects badly on you, the author.

Copy Edit Marks

Copy editing marks are the standardize symbols used pretty much universally by all copy editors and proofreaders on hard copy manuscripts. Marks are made within the text and annotation is made in the margin. While using these marks is not required when you are editing your own work, I strongly suggest you used them. This will ensure you have a set system for copy editing and also familiarize yourself with the industry standard. I also strongly suggest you do your final copy editing on hard copy.

The link below is to a sample set of these marks and their meanings.
http://www.espressographics.com/graphics/proofreader.gif

How to Copy Edit
You finished revising and rewriting and are done with your manuscript except for the copy edit. Save your document.

A Note on Spell and Grammar Checks
Spell check and grammar check are two features that come with all word processing software. These are not copy editing software and they should not be mistaken for or treated as such. Spell check is a great place to start your copy editing tasks. It will not, however, catch correctly spelled but misused words. Examples of these are alter/altar or their/they’re. It will also not catch typos that make real words such as tot he (to the) or form/from, or for that matter, compound words that are also stand alone words such as school house (schoolhouse) or fire man (fireman). In short, spell check is limited to checking spelling under very specific conditions. Do not rely on it exclusively.

Grammar check is turned off on my computer as it is worthless, in my opinion. Use the that/which test. Under the right conditions, grammar check will suggest you substitute that for which. Go ahead do it. Now run grammar check again. It will suggest you substitute which for that in the same exact place. Hours of good, clean unproductive fun. Grammar is best learned by writers and/or checked in a style guide.

So run spell check (and grammar check if you like), but do not accept any suggestions without looking at them and confirming they are actually correct. If you aren’t sure if the spelling suggestion is correct check it in the dictionary to make sure you don’t alter/altar your work incorrectly.

  1. Print a hard copy of your manuscript. This is one of the few places were I insist you edit on a hard copy. (Your manuscript should already be formatted in a double-spaced line format.) You want to look at the actual document as the editor will see it. Get two different color highlighters, a notebook, pen/pencil, dictionary, and style manual. Chicago Style and Elements of Style are both popular. You simply need a grammar reference guide that you like and can refer to with ease.
  1. Read your manuscript aloud. (For a novel, break it into chapters.) There is so much that the ear will catch that the eye will miss. Find a quiet room and read aloud to yourself. Highlight anything that causes you to pause, stumble, or that you question. At this point you are only copy editing, if you find you need to rework sections, rewrite paragraphs, or make large changes return to the revision/rewriting stage. Read the entire story/chapter to the end highlighting as you go.
  1. Now go and look specifically at the items you highlighted and using your copy edit marks make the changes. Refer to the dictionary and style guide as needed. If you have a lot of changes (more than five per page) make them on your computer and reprint the document.
  1. Now start at the beginning and read each word. Each sentence. Each paragraph. Look for typos, incorrect punctuation, and grammatical errors. The trick here is to READ EACH WORD and SEE EACH PUNCUATION MARK. One of the hardest copy edit problems to conquer when editing your own work is to actually read what is on the page not what should be on the page. Look up the words you think are spelled incorrectly or used wrong. Check punctuation and other grammatical issues in the style guide. Mark all changes on your hard copy.
  1. Enter your edits into your computer document from your hard copy. Print another hard copy and give it to your reader or professional copy editor.

As you go through this process, make a list of reoccurring errors to help you develop your copy edit skills.

Know Your Weaknesses
This is good advice in general and will improve your copy editing skills. I know for example that my spelling is terrible. I keep a list of words I always spell wrong at my desk. I also know that my right hand types faster than my left hand and ultimately this means I make some typos all of the time. An example of this is tot he (to the) which I have loaded into my custom dictionary. I never use the word tot, so it was safe to customize my dictionary to change it. What are your weaknesses? Do you comma splice? Do you not use commas? Do you use certain incorrect words over and over? Figure out what your writing weaknesses are and work on removing them from your life or at the very least make a list of them so you can correct them during the copy edit phase.

Get Help
Help is critical. You should have someone read your manuscript after you have finished copy editing. In the case of a short story, you may be able to find a friend who is a good copy editor or another author who you can swap stories with on a regular basis. But it is important to understand that the person reading your work is going to copy edit it and not just read it. For a novel, I highly recommend you pay someone, a professional copy editor, to copy edit it.

Copy Editing Exercise
There is an on-line copyediting test at: www.penandpage.com/EngMenu/prfread.htm

NEXT TIME: How to Survive and Benefit from the Manuscript Critique Process

Amie M. Evans
August 2008


More of Amie M. Evans' Two Girls Kissing in ERWA 2008 Archive.

______
"Two Girls Kissing: Writing Lesbian Literary Erotica" © 2008 Amie M. Evans. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Amie M. Evans is a widely published creative nonfiction and literary erotica writer, experienced workshop provider, and a retired burlesque and high-femme drag performer. She is on the board of directors for Saints and Sinners GLBT literary festival and graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Literature and is currently working on her MLA at Harvard.
Read Amie M. Evans' full bio at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.



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'08 Movie Reviews

Almost Perfect
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The Fold
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Two
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Fallen
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'08 Book Reviews

Anthologies

Best Bisexual Women's Erotica
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Best Fantastic Erotica
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Best Women's Erotica '08
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Bound Brits (ebook)
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J is for Jealousy
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K is for Kink
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Lust Bites
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Open for Business
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Possession
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Rubber Sex
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Rubber Sex
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Seriously Sexy
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Sex & Candy
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The Shadow of a... (poetry)
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Spanked
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Tasting Her
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Tasting Him
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Tasting Him
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White Flames
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Yes, Ma'am: Male Submission
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Yes, Sir: Female Submission
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Novels

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Demon by Day
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Gemini Heat
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Gothic Heat
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The Hidden Grotto Series
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The House of Blood
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In Too Deep
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In Too Deep
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Incognito
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Out of the Shadows (ebook)
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Phantasmagoria
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Reckless
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Seduce Me
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Seduced by the Storm
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Serve the People!
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Signed, Sealed and Delivered
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Sunfire (eBook)
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Templar Prize
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The Wicked Sex
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Wild Kingdom
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Gay Erotica

Backdraft
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Best Gay Romance '08
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Hard Hats
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Leathermen
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Lesbian Erotica

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The Night Watch
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Non-Fiction

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Best Sex Writing '08
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Bonk: The Curious Coupling
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The Book of Love
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Dishonorable Passions
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The Flesh Press
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Geisha, Harlot, Strangler, Star
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The Humble Little Condom
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