Thinking of my two most recent jobs, proof-reading an e-book, and copyediting a workbook, I can honestly say the work is painstaking, detailed and definitely not glam. However, it is rewarding to help shape something into a coherent whole.
There have been days when I have wanted nothing more than to leave my desk and all the copyediting that goes with it, but by the end it is rewarding. The pecuniary rewards are not great. It’s a buyers’ market out there, but knocking something into shape is satisfying. Rosemary Serluca writes:
Heavy copyediting not only requires someone who can do what a baseline copyeditor does: proofread and look for errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation; ensure consistency and proper word usage; verify cross- references; check for correct sequencing in lists. But also, what a medium copyeditor does: maintain parallel structure; note inappropriate figures of speech; enforce style and tone; change passive voice to active voice; and make note of incorrect statements.
Add all of the aforementioned tasks to: improving flow, pace, structure, and actually add to the overall quality of the writing, and you have some of the criteria required to be a substantive or heavy copyeditor.
I’m not keen on starting a sentence with But also, but you get the gist of what copyediting is about. If you start with a disparate collection of material and create a coherent whole, that feels good. Ditto, if a piece of work has many typos and errors which may be ironed out, that also feels good. We also learn a good deal from the style questions we are asked. The fact that my work makes me think is just up my street.
Now I’m ready for the next piece!