Q&A (and brownies) with J.J. Murray discussion

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The Nitty Gritty of Writing > The Copy Edit of SHE'S THE ONE

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message 1: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
I'm still alive. Thanks for wondering ... and I'm sorry I haven't been as active. Life, don't you know. To the topic at hand:

Once you have revised the content of your novel through an editor, a copy editor takes your manuscript and ... tears it up.

Think of the most evil English teacher you've ever had, cross-pollinate that person with Satan, and you have an idea of what makes a copy editor (CE) tick.

My first CE was wonderful, and he even sent me a fan letter. My subsequent CE's have been ... malevolent.

Yes, I know it's their job to make my novel better, and I do appreciate them. But sometimes ...

The CE for She's the One commented on erry dang thing. S/he mapped and re-mapped distances, as if readers will hate the book because I was a few miles or kilometers off in my measurements. S/he wrote up a time line, which had to take a great deal of time, that basically mirrored my own. S/he fussed about a diva wearing sunglasses at night at least a dozen times. S/he put Northern words in my Southern lady's mouth--a no-no. Of the several hundred queries s/he had (I had a thick stack of Post-its), I made about three dozen changes for the betterment of my novel.

Are CE's necessary? Sure. The CE for The Real Thing was exceptional and caught several major goofs on my part. Do they have to mark erry dang thing? Probably. Do I look forward to copy edits? No. Fortunately after nine novels, I have the final say in any "suggested" changes.


message 2: by JC (last edited Aug 16, 2010 05:25PM) (new)

JC (ainathiel) Well I think you should be glad it only took nine. LOL, I think you just described a person working on their thesis and has to defend it from the professor.

As an unpublished writer, I don't have the burden of a CE. I thank you for the heads up. I will definitely prepare myself for the picky copy Editor.

Also I am glad to read you are well.


message 3: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Hi peoples.

I am wondering about the query process: Is it a complete rewrite? Or is the process more of a "cleaning up" during which they may capture something you may have missed or ask for an explanation of why you wrote something in a certain way?

And after nine novels, it's great you have final say. But has there ever been a time when they've asked you to change something, and you had to battle to keep it as is?

I ask this because I've always believed the CE was the clean up crew, in a sense, after the Editor butchers and takes you through rewrites.


message 4: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Murray (johnjmurray) | 250 comments Mod
Editors are extremely busy folks who work mainly with content. They suggest areas of expansion and areas of tightening.

My editor only gives me one shot at a rewrite. I can't speak for others.

If the content is irreparable, an editor will reject the entire manuscript. They don't butcher it--they just return it and ask for a completely new novel. Though I've been under contract, this has happened to me three times. "This isn't a J. J. Murray novel" is usually the reason.

Just me trying to branch out into other IR genres like suspense-thriller, coming-of-age, and crime-comedy. "J. J. Murray should only write IR romantic comedy." One day ...

CE's "catch" mistakes in plot, timing, logic, names, places, dates ... They clean up grammar, sentence structure, punctuation where needed. They make suggestions for changes in phrasing. They also seem to delight in writing all over a manuscript so that you think it's bad when all they're doing is making typesetters' marks.


message 5: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments LOL I meant "butcher" in a good way. Now I get the query process.

Well I'm sure your book is the bomb either way.

Anyway, I am sure it will work out, as it has eight times before. This is all good information.


message 6: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Um, just a thought but...

In response to: Just me trying to branch out into other IR genres like suspense-thriller, coming-of-age, and crime-comedy. "J. J. Murray should only write IR romantic comedy." One day ...

Well, you never know. Mary B. Morrison now writes under "Honey B" which she uses for her "line" of sex manuals, I mean, erotic novels.

*shrug* Would something like that be hard to do? Have JJ Murray novels plus *shrug* say the other "brand" or "line" of novels under a pseudonym?

Just thinking out loud. Have a good day...


message 7: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) J.J. wrote: "Editors are extremely busy folks who work mainly with content. They suggest areas of expansion and areas of tightening.

My editor only gives me one shot at a rewrite. I can't speak for others.

..."



Wow J.J. you have been branded. I will be just like you when I grow up.

Also Vacirca, not only Mary B. Morrison has published work under a pen name. I think it is a new black for writers. Nora Roberts did it until publishers realized that anything with Nora Roberts name sold. Jayne Anne Krentz does it as Amanda Quick for historicals and Jayne Castle for sci-fi; she has also started to link up her series. Lynn Viehl does it in fact I don't even know her real name, she changes it when she writes in a different sub-genre and J.R. Ward does it as well.


message 8: by Vacirca (new)

Vacirca Vaughn | 294 comments Yes, Jo, you're right...I have been seeing more and more authors doing that. I've also seen well-known authors have their name and their pen names on the cover like "Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb."

In regards to: Wow J.J. you have been branded. I will be just like you when I grow up.

I agree that it is pretty cool, J.J., that your novels are so distinct that they're a "brand." Maybe one day we'll be headed to the bookstore to buy a novel from your other "brand." It could have a cover that says "J.J. Murray writing as...hmmm... Murray Jeffries" or something like that LOL. It's not very creative, but you never know! At least published authors have the option. Who would turn down the chance to work with an established author?

Me? Just trying to get one Vacirca book out one day. Maybe I'll get to have a pen name someday too! I would name myself "April Mays" or something really simple like that.

Jo, would you ever have a pen name?


message 9: by JC (new)

JC (ainathiel) My pen name is J.C. Hunt or Christina Hayworth.


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