I heart copy editors.
I got the copy-edited version of Two Big to Know on Friday, and I’ve started reading through it. My copy editor (am I allowed to say she’s Christine Arden?) has read the book with incredible care and sympathy. She unties knotted sentences, irons out wrinkly paragraphs, and generally clears the path for the reader. It is a skill and a talent not to be underestimated. (And, yes, she would undoubtedly have flagged the mixed metaphors in this paragraph.)
I’m only 1.5 chapters in, but I can already see, thanks to Christine, that I tend to misplace my “only’s.” For example, given the chance I will write “He only trained for two months” when “He trained for only two months” is both clearer and stronger. Or, to give you a real example: “Of course, the Net can only scale that large because it doesn’t have edges within which knowledge has to squeeze” now reads “Of course, the Net can scale that large only because…etc.”
I also make every other possible mistake.
On the other hand, I’m going to push for spelling “email” without the hyphen, despite my publisher’s house rules. Real words don’t have hyphens.
Thank you Christine, and thank you copy editors everywhere!