The questions I get from copyeditors

I’m digging, word by word, through the copyedited manuscript of my new novel, The Shadow Tracer. This means I answer the copyeditor’s questions about everything from verb choice to the accuracy of facts included in the story. Some of the questions I’m dealing with for this novel:

1. Should the name Zoe have an umlaut over the e — Zoë? Answer: No. While I love Zoë Sharp as an author and a friend, I don’t want the character in my book to spend her life adding little dots over the final vowel in her name.

2. Did I misspell “crack” as “crank”? Answer: No. They’re two different drugs, and I know which one the evil dude was smoking.

3. Don’t cicadas hatch only once every 17 years? Answer: One variety does. Other varieties are annual — they hatch every year. And after listening to a dozen recordings of their freakishly loud humming, I am positive not only that the insects mentioned in the novel are dog-day cicadas, but that they will haunt my nightmares for months to come.

4. Should shitstorm be one word or two? Answer: I trust the copyeditor’s grammatalogical investigation of the term, and agree that it should be one word.

5. How would a bunch of criminals get hold of a police scanner? Answer: Easy. They’d just do like the rest of us, and buy it on their cell phone from the app store.

6. Does U.S. 60 intersect I-40 in the Texas panhandle? Answer: Wow, did you know that with Google Street View you can take a virtual drive on the highway from Texas all the way up to the Oklahoma/New Mexico/Colorado border? I’d always wondered what the “three corners” spot looked like, and now I know.

7. What about the footprints in the snow? Answer: I’m working on it. I’m working on it.

6 responses to “The questions I get from copyeditors

  1. That is a shitstorm of questions. Just clear up those footprints and you’re home free.

  2. Yeah, those footprints are intriguing the hell out of me

  3. Okay, she’s entitled to spell it Zoe. It’s her name. How does she pronounce it?
    And she’s your character, so you get to call the shots (though characters do have a way of calling their own shots, sometimes.)
    Reminds me of when a contest judge told me (and take off points, no doubt) that my hero’s name, DJ, was Wrong. It obviously had to be D. J. because of course, they were initials and just as clearly, I was an idiot not to know that you put periods after initials.

    Yeah, I think shitstorm works. Shit storm sounds more like, uh, an freaky weather pattern. Unless, of course, that’s exactly what it was. In which case, footprints in the snow might be a little out of place.

  4. Are the footprints human or animal? Remember what I told you, always save the animal.

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