A Capital Copy Editor

I spent most of today reading the copy-edited manuscript of my next book.  While I was writing it and for months after I sent it in, I referred to it as HOW I WONDER.  Then one day my editor emailed me to say that the publisher didn’t think this title was as strong as my other titles. She wondered if I would consider changing it.

Anyone who has read the story would probably agree that HOW I WONDER is a perfect title but I had to admit it was not a title that would be likely to make kids grab the book and want to read it.  The book is now called RUNAWAY TWIN, and I think it’s a better title than my original.

Between when I submitted my original manuscript and when it came back to me, it had been scrutinized by a copy editor, who made pencil corrections directly on the pages and added several Post-it notes with questions,  comments and concerns.

I am always amazed by what the copy editor finds. For example, I started reading this morning and found that the word windbreaker had been capitalized. It was now Windbreaker. This sent me to my Dictionary where I learned that Windbreaker is a trademark and therefore must be capitalized. Like Kleenex, it has been used so much that we have come to accept it as a generic term, but that is not correct.

There were more capitalization problems. I had capitalized the French in French fries; the copy editor put it in lower case. This sent me back to the Dictionary where I learned that we eat French toast, French dressing, French chops and French pastries. But when we serve potatoes they are french fries. No capital F.

I had also mentioned Vitamin A which, it turns out, is not correct. It should be vitamin A.

I was even wrong when it came to dog breeds. There is a marvelous dog in this book who is part basset hound and part black lab. Or so I thought. It turns out that Snickers is really part basset hound and part black Lab. Capital L.  

 Who would have thought I could learn so much in one day by reading a book that I wrote myself?