The Black Cat monthly round-up: February 2021

I looked back on my February 2020 blog post before I started to write this. It was about a year ago that the COVID situation really started to escalate in the UK – I had decided not to go to the London Book Fair, but the local group celebration of the CIEP being granted chartered status still seemed possible. It feels like a million years ago. February 2021 saw me visiting a COVID testing site in Newbury. I had a temperature and was feeling unwell, so I went to get tested. It’s a strange experience, and it was almost impossible not to sneeze when I was doing the nose swab. I had to let one of my clients know I may have difficulty sending back the hard-copy proofread they had planned to send me, but they kindly asked me to take on an on-screen copy-edit for them instead. Fortunately, my test came back negative and I felt mostly back to normal after a few days of rest.

What I’ve been working on

I managed my workload this month despite not feeling well for a while. I did have to put some of my tutoring work on the back burner for a while, but I am catching up with the backlog and my students have been very understanding.
I started February with the proofread of a thriller with a large cast and a storyline that spanned multiple decades. I moved on to the copy-edit of a biography of an early gay rights activist. It isn’t something I would usually take on (I rarely copy-edit non-fiction) but the subject matter is compelling. I also have on my desk the copy-edit of the third instalment of an epic fantasy fiction series. These are both long projects and will take me into March. However, I did finish off the critique I started in January.

Looking ahead

We are nearly at the end of the financial year, and that means I need to think about the continuing professional development I would like to do in the next financial year. The West Surrey and North Hampshire CIEP local group is due a meet-up in March, and I have hope that at some point this year we may be able to have an in-person meeting – even if it still isn’t our much-delayed chartership celebration.

The Black Cat monthly round-up: February 2020

The end of February sees the end of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and the beginning of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, of which I am proud to be a member. It would not have been possible without the hard work of many within the organisation. I look forward to continuing to serve as a local group coordinator.

What I’ve been working on

Despite cutting down my workload for February and the immediate future, I still have quite a list of completed projects to report. I finished working on the indie mystery thriller I starBlack Cat Editorial Services_ February round-upted in January, and I completed the critique of the time-travel adventure I had on my desk. I have a real love of critiques now – it feels wonderful to really dig into a manuscript and help the author realise its potential.

The rest of the month was taken up by three proofreads – of very different novels. The first was contemporary new-adult fiction, presented in the form of a diary. The second was a satirical crime thriller, and the third was a multi-generational tale of a single family.

Looking ahead

The beginning of March brings the first meeting of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading’s West Surrey and North Hampshire group. We’ll be talking about tracking and accountability, but I hope to organise a chartership celebration for us later in the year.

At the time of writing, the London Book Fair is going ahead despite concerns about coronavirus and multiple exhibitors cancelling their attendance. I’ve made the difficult decision to do the same – I was so looking forward to it. But my mum has just been discharged from hospital and it would be deeply irresponsible of me to put her at risk.

The Black Cat monthly round-up: February 2019

February felt like a very short but busy month at Black Cat HQ. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of projects come my way. Around my editing work, I managed to fit in a lovely afternoon tea with my sister and a few days in the beautiful county of Yorkshire. The unseasonably warm weather, while worrying for the future, made it a very pleasant trip.

Black Cat Editorial Services_ February round-upWhat I’ve been working on

I completed the proofread for the PhD thesis I started work on in January. The end of this overlapped with the edit of a sci-fi/horror novel for a well-established independent author. I don’t often get to edit science-fiction, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. And I don’t often edit US English – although I frequently proofread it – and to do so with this project was an interesting departure from the norm.

My next project was the proofread of a story exploring the idea of eternal love. Parts of it were set in a country in east Africa and parts of it took place in the UK – a juxtaposition that was used to good effect.

I have two projects on my desk as I write this, and they will take me into early March. Both are fiction, but strikingly different. The first is the story of a rural village’s fight against the development of communal land. The second is an epic re-telling of a doomed medieval romance.

The CPD session

The West Surrey and North Hampshire SfEP local group held a continuing professional development session on professional practice. It was, in theory, led by me (not a role that comes easily) but I was pleased – although not surprised – that the group members were chatty, enthusiastic, and generous with their thoughts. We shared ideas and techniques for a wide range of interactions with clients and focused heavily on the paperwork we use (such as project agreements, style sheets, and feedback forms). I have to say I found the session extremely valuable. I will be making changes!

Looking ahead

The West Surrey and North Hampshire local group has a lunch meeting in early March. A few days after that, I will be off to London for the fiction mini-conference. The line-up looks brilliant, and I am really looking forward to it. I am hoping to find the session on helping self-publishing authors particularity useful. A day or so later I will be back in London, with a couple of my favourite SfEP colleagues, for the London Book Fair. We went last year and had a great time. I expect to be completely knackered by the end of March.