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Copyedits are done!

I’ve finally finished the copyedits to the manuscript for Only Superhuman.  Actually I pretty much finished them yesterday, but since this is being handled the old-fashioned way — a hefty printout that I had to mark up by hand and will mail back to Tor tomorrow — I wanted to add all the changes to my digital file of the manuscript so there’s a backup record of them in case the pages get lost in the mail.

I’m a bit puzzled that this part of the process is being done old-school all the way, seeing as how my earlier editor-requested manuscript revisions were handled digitally.  But I guess when you get to the copyediting phase, it’s deeper in the machinery of the publisher, or whatever, so I guess the procedure could be different.  But it’s just been rather a long while since I’ve had to mark up pages and mail them back, rather than sending a Word file with changes tracked, or just sending my editor an e-mail listing the edits by page and line.  When I’m sent physical pages, I still do take the red pen to them as a backup; but since it’s so rarely needed, I’ve let my notations get a little sloppy, so I’m a little out of practice on the proper format.  I hope all my notations are clear.

Only Superhuman by Christopher L. BennettBut I was finally able to make a couple of fixes that I’ve been waiting to make for a while.  One, which I’ve mentioned my intention to do before, was an update to a passage about the planetoid Vesta, incorporating some of the new information we’ve gained from the Dawn probe currently orbiting it.  I replaced a conjectural passage about Vesta’s geology — something that Dawn has found no evidence to support as yet — with a mention of Rheasilvia Mons, the name of the enormous mountain in the center of Vesta’s south polar basin.  At first I was going to say it was the tallest mountain in the Solar System, which it is as far as we know right now; but then I realized we could maybe discover a taller one somewhere out in the Kuiper Belt.  So instead, considering the extent of human travel and colonization in the system at the time of the novel, I described it as the tallest mountain humans had ever climbed.

The other fix I’ve been waiting to make was to correct an oversight.  In my last major revision of the novel before selling it, I reworked the backstory of a featured community in the novel so that they originated in a space habitat rather than on Earth.  And a while back, after the previous set of post-sale revisions, I realized I’d accidentally left in a line in which a character from that community referred to his “Terran upbringing” and how it affected his perception of a certain situation.  I was able to fix it by saying he’d resided on Earth for a time, which is a reasonable extrapolation from his backstory as it now stands.

Meanwhile, I’ve been consulting with my editors about a design issue.  There’s an appendix in the book, a listing of the locations featured in the book and their relative positions within the Solar System, and I’ve never been happy with the format I used to present the information.  I intended it merely as a stopgap and figured that if I ever sold the book, I’d consult with the editors/designers about coming up with something better.  But I’d forgotten about that until just recently, doing the copyedits.  But I had a little back-and-forth with Greg and Marco and came up with a couple of ideas, including a table format that I think works a lot better than what I had.  So hopefully that will be all worked out, and I’m glad I remembered to ask about it while we’re still pretty early in the process of designing and assembling the book.

Anyway, with the copyedits done, Only Superhuman is now one step closer to being a completed book.  All the major changes and adjustments are pretty much done by now; once we get to the galley proofs, with the typesetting and composition done, any further changes will probably be pretty minor.  So the way the book is now is almost its final form, probably.  Which means that any mistakes and plot holes I still haven’t caught are doomed to be immortalized (though with luck I’ll get a sequel and be able to rationalize or retcon them).

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  1. January 24, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Oh how cool, it’s interesting to see how some things just stay the same. I think that copyediting a hard copy would focus your attention diferently.

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