This week before Christmas, I am going over the copy edited manuscript of a piece of my fiction due to come out next year. It is filling me with rage.
Let me make one thing clear -- I have had some very good copy editors in my thirty years of publishing, sharp-eyed men and women who have saved me from small stupid errors, from ridiculous misspellings, from referring to a character's blue eyes when three chapters ago they were brown. Good copy editors do much more than bring format and punctuation in line with the publishing house's style manual. They are the extra brain you wish you had.
However, not all of them are good. A few have delusions of grandeur, promoting themselves to co-authors. This is, unfortunately, one such person. When I write, "He blurted," I don't want it changed to "He said" -- blurting and saying are two different things. When I write that a character thinks "She was a good woman," I don't want that entire sentence omitted because -- WHY? The copy editor does not think she is a good woman? He doesn't think the character should believe that? He doesn't like sentences of five words?
I need to finish this job before I leave for New York to see my family for Christmas. If I don't finish it, I will carry this anger with me, which is no way to spend the holidays. So for the next few days, this is what I will be doing: rejecting the co-author I never signed a contract with.