Copyediting is like working a jigsaw puzzle. I look at the details. I make sure the pieces fit together well. But the picture itself is the artist’s creation.
Like working a puzzle, editing can be a lot of fun. I’m lucky in that I find almost all subjects interesting, so I tend to enjoy my work.
A good copy editor thinks analytically.
My degree is in math. Before I started freelance editing, I wrote software for about eighteen years, which honed my eye for detail. In software, being off one piece of punctuation, or one letter or digit, can cause spectacular errors.
My dad taught me clarity and consistency. He wanted things to match, contradictions and misunderstandings straightened out. I learned well: I’ve found inconsistencies hundreds of pages apart in books.
A good copy editor thinks creatively.
Writing isn’t all about “correct” language and grammar and coloring inside the lines. What about your story? Your voice? The feel of the piece? It’s your writing, your work. It’s extremely important to me to support your style.
I have written, too. A nonfiction book, this website, technical instructions, and a few columns for the Fort Worth Star‐Telegram. I understand what can go into creating a written work.