The 13 Stages of Copyediting Madness

1. Page 2: Hey, this book isn’t so bad.

2. Page 81: That’s the fourth misspelled word . . . and those are just the ones I caught. Wait, how many am I missing?!

3. Start over.

4. Send panicked email to writing buddy begging for one more reread of that problematic eighth chapter.

5. This book is terrible.

6. Realize you said the Roman eagle standard was silver, when Imperial-era eagles were gold. Make change, exhale, then grow cold. That was just the historical error you caught. HOW MANY AM I MISSING?!

7. Incorporate Chapter 8 changes from writing buddy, who read your pages at 11:30 at night on what was supposed to be a dinner break in the middle of their own deadline crisis. Hit the Vatican website and start petition to have writing buddy canonized.

8. Spend four hours untangling the timeline inconsistencies pointed out by your copyeditor, then realize it’s all because you miscalculated your hero’s age, i.e. you can’t count.

9. Get the shivers when your primary source says the Chapter 19 lightning strike happened fifteen years earlier than you placed it in your story. Ransack research materials wildly looking for that vindicating second source, which is missing. Finally found under sleeping, resentful dog who has not been walked in days.

10. Compose email offering your editor your first born child and a kidney if you can have another week to finish this. Delete email, go back to work.

11. Deadline Day. Writing buddy comes to your house, handcuffs you to the sink, and presses Send for you.

12. Thank writing buddy. Set a date next week to do the same for her when she needs to press Send.

13. Start drinking.

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