State of the Author Dealing With A Copyedit, in gifs

smaug eye

tea is soothing

for fuck's sake

drinking 1

A nice murder will cheer you up

and then, when it all seems lost… you just give up, give in, and start STETing the fuck out of everything.



(this is, of course, a worst-case scenario.  But even the best-case scenarios cycle through similar emotions….)


About Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne is a recovering editor-turned-novelist, with an Endeavor Award, a Nebula nomination, another Endeavor award nomination and a Washington State Book Award nomination under her belt. Her most recent series is the award-winning "Devil's West" trilogy, starting with SILVER ON THE ROAD, and her same-universe story collection, WEST WINDS' FOOL, AND OTHER STORIES OF THE DEVIL'S WEST. The novella GABRIEL'S ROAD was published by Book View Cafe on April 30th, 2019. Her Patreon, featuring original fiction, writing advice, and original Rants, is at Learn more at, where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.


State of the Author Dealing With A Copyedit, in gifs — 4 Comments

  1. That sums it up very well. I had a superb copy editor on The Weave. Most of her edits were dead on, but unfortunately a lot of them required doing some rewriting, which, of course, led to alcohol and screaming.

  2. Then there was the one where I called my editor in near hysterics because the copy editor started commenting on plot points at the end of the book and didn’t seem to get the previous 400 pages at all. (Apparently she’d gotten into the romantic subplot and was judging by commercial romance standards. Sigh. Crisis averted.)

    STET and STET, DAMMIT are the best stamps in the world.

  3. Oh I know most of these so well. I rather like the idea of the infinite bottle of whiskey, though. THAT would come in handy some days. (As in, “NO! I *meant* that! It was DELIBERATE!!! I CHOSE TO DO THAT! Leave the things you don’t understand alone!!!)

    My favourite horror story – I have a particular bugbear about its/it’s. The wrong usage of those two leaps at me from the page and pokes me in the eye with a sharp stick. I would never, therefore, use the wrong version – because I *am* so sensitive to it. Back comes a copyedited MS of one of my books… with Every. Single. Instance. Changed. Into. THE. WRONG. THING.

    The first three times I blinked and changed it back to what it should be. By the time I was halfway through the manuscript I was bleeding from eyes and ears and screaming incoherently. And wanted to carve the correct usage into the copy editor’s forehead right between the eyes. With that apostrophe.

    • I believe I would have sent this back to the copy editor and told them to fix their error and send me a properly edited ms to work on. Anyone who doesn’t know the difference between it’s and its should not be working as an editor. Or a proofreader. Or in any kind of editorial position.