How to save money on copy editing #1: Know thine own tics


Copy editing is often the most expensive part of a writing project, because the editor has to read, analyse and decide if the author has made the best choice at each and every word and sentence and paragraph and chapter ...

It's intense work. And a good copy editor is worth their weight in gold.

But there are ways to keep the costs down and we're going to share the most common we come across, starting with: Know Thine Own Tics.

It's hard to recognise your own writing tics. A good way to become familiar with them is to read your text aloud, either to yourself or someone else.

Just a couple of pages will have you stumbling over extraneous words, such as 'exceptionally', repeated words, such as 'and and' and over-used words. (I'll tell you mine in fiction: plenty, some, a bit. Can you see the link? I use them when I'm qualifying a phrase. Mostly, they're not necessary; sometimes they are vital to the rhythm of the sentence, especially in dialogue. Now, you tell me yours!)

Do try reading aloud. Or ask someone else to read a few pages looking for words and phrases (even whole paragraphs) that are not needed or simply don't belong. If neither of you can find any, this means you're either: 

a). Perfect in every way!

b). Not perfect! (Sweet relief.) And it might be best for us to take a look at your text and highlight those we can find with our beady editor eyes ...

To celebrate Imperfect Humans Day, we're offering a two-page prose check. (I know ... it's a snappy concept, huh?) All you have to do is send two pages of text (any genre, any style) to and pay us $85, and we'll read your prose, mark-up two paragraphs and, using examples from your pages, summarise and explain your most prominent three tics.

Then you can go on your merry way, safe in the knowledge that you can learn tips and tools at the same time as working on your project. You don't have to stop. You just slide the learning back into your daily life and smile, smugly.

May your words pour onto the page,