The Black Cat monthly round-up: June 2021

I had a little bit of time off in June, so things have been a bit less hectic work-wise. I have, however, managed to fill my schedule for the rest of 2021 – which is, frankly, ridiculous. I can only thank my clients for their ongoing trust and support; I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you all.

As I mentioned in my previous round-up, I had my first vaccination appointment at the beginning of June. Fortunately, the only side effect I experienced was that my arm really, really hurt the next day – I could barely move it. But the jab itself didn’t hurt at all and all of the staff at the vaccination centre were absolutely lovely.

Restrictions have started to ease in the UK, so I was able to go out and about (in a responsible manner) during my time off. I had my first pub lunch for about 15 months, and I treated my mum and my sister to afternoon tea to celebrate their birthdays. I have missed those tiny sandwiches so much.

What I’ve been working on

One critique went back and I started a new one. June’s critique (although it will extend into July) was of a work of epic fantasy fiction, with magic and dragons and all that good stuff. Alongside this I had the copy-edit of a short-story collection and the proofread of some contemporary fiction. The main project of this month was the copy-edit of book four of a fantasy series – there’s only one book left now, and I’m going to really miss the characters and working with their creator. I finished the month with the proofread of a pretty extensive travel memoir for one of my publishing services clients – it really brought home how much I have missed being able to go places, and even missed just there being a possibility of going somewhere new and experiencing new things.

What I read for fun

OK, so it is excuse time again. The Kingdoms did turn up, and I have started reading it, and I’m enjoying it a lot, but I haven’t managed to spend much time on it. I think some of this is to do with having a succession of critiques to do – my head is full of those stories and it’s hard to split my focus.

Looking ahead

It’s nearly time for another Zoom meeting for the West Surrey & North Hampshire CIEP local group, so I will aim to get one organised in July.

The Black Cat monthly round-up: June 2020

Welcome to the June round-up! We’ve done half of 2020. To be honest, June felt like a very long month. But things are, at the moment, looking up. My mum has finished her radiotherapy treatment, I’ve got a whole heap of bookings for the next few months, and the weather can be described as moderately warm rather than absolutely baking. Lockdown restrictions may be easing but I won’t be rushing to the pub or the hairdresser any time soon (I don’t think my hair has ever been this long before).

What I’ve been working on

Black Cat Editorial Services June round-upIt is a relief to be able to say that my workload is continuing to build back up. June was a busy month but I was fortunate to work with some lovely authors. I finished the edit of the sci-fi thriller I started in May. It was a heavy edit encompassing a lot of point of view tweaks, and I’m really quite pleased with the final result. It was a total change of mindset when I moved on to the proofread of an accomplished mystery thriller. The copy-edit of an adult dystopian epic will take me into July, as will the copy-edit of a fantasy short-story collection. In more good news, publisher work seems to be starting to trickle back in – I’ve got the proofread of a YA fantasy romance to keep me very busy.

Professional development

I surprised myself by managing to fit in some training in June. I took Louise Harnby’s course How to Write the Perfect Fiction Editorial Report. It provides a lot of valuable information and advice, and I’m looking forward to putting it into practice for my future copy-editing commissions.

What I’ve been reading

M. B. Vincent’s A Death in the Woods was my companion for the last of my waits in a hospital car park. It’s the sequel to Jess Castle and the Eyeballs of Death (a much more intriguing title, that). I don’t think it’s going to win any awards for originality, but there are times in life when you don’t necessarily need that. It’s a comfort blanket of a book (despite the serial killer). It’s funny and the characters are likeable, and the series deserves more attention than it seems to be getting.

Looking ahead

After the success of the last meeting, I’ll be hosting another Zoom catch-up for the West Surrey and North Hampshire Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading local group.

The Black Cat monthly round-up: June 2019

Black Cat Editorial Services_ June round-upI almost can’t believe we are halfway through the year already – where does the time go? I’m pleased that my workload has remained steady, and that I managed to find some time to enjoy the much-improved weather at the end of the month.

One of my June highlights was being asked to approve the typeset version of the review I wrote of On Editing – I’m not ashamed to say I was quite excited to see my words nearly ready for print! I think the review will feature in the July/August edition of Editing Matters.

What I’ve been working on

I finished off the fantasy-romance edit I started in May. The author was delightful to work with and I hope she finds great success with her novel. I also completed the second part of the short-story collection I began in May – it was great to see the themes coming together and the realisation of the direction of the piece as a whole.

I was then on to two fiction proofreads. One a modern-day revenge thriller and the other an action thriller set during the Second World War. I followed these with the proofread of a long and complex non-fiction book on how our brains absorb visual information. It’s good to do something different every now and then, but this project reminded me how much I prefer to work on fiction.

What I read for fun

I managed one book this month: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. It has a great concept and the story rolls along nicely. It did make me think, however, about the art of using punctuation. The correct use of punctuation is, of course, important, but I think those little marks need to be wielded with style and sensitivity. For example, if the reader has to stop and re-read the sentence to make sense of what the dashes are doing, that’s a problem. If the reader (I admit this may be specific to me) is thinking about how ugly the punctuation combinations are, they aren’t absorbed in the story anymore. The punctuation should help the words flow by, should clarify and reinforce meaning, and all while being unobtrusive.

Looking ahead

Early July sees another SfEP local group meeting. We’ll be talking about our favourite books and other resources when we are working or training. I have a few go-tos (hello, newly re-branded Lexico) and it will be interesting to find out what other editors recommend.