Divided by a common language

Had the copy edits back from Tor for Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, which is exciting stuff. It’s the first time I’ve worked with such a large publisher and although the manuscript has been through my editor Claire Eddy’s stringent hands, it’s now had the once-over from the copy editor.

I now have to review and approve the changes that have been made. Most of these are for Tor’s particular style – whether there’s a comma after an ellipsis (there is) and how some compound words are hyphenated and some aren’t (froglike isn’t; ball-like is).

There has also been, as you’d expect, a certain amount of Americanisation of the text. Or rather, in the spirit of the copy edits, Americanization. Nothing unexpected – harbour to harbor, grey to gray, that sort of thing.

And then comes the nitty gritty, the usages that simply won’t wash in America. I’ve already had discussions on some of these with Claire – they don’t know what a saveloy is in America, who knew? – but here came some more.

One of the characters, Aloysius Bent, is an East End journalist. He’s used “karzi” a couple of times for “toilet”. The copy editor didn’t like this much. Also, “rozzers”. This was suggested as changed to “cops”. And perhaps most contentious – instances of arse changed to ass.

Karzi I let go. We’ve compromised on “coppers” instead of either rozzers or cops. But ass? In Victorian England?

I’m delighted to say, that after some negotiation, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl will be as full of arse as the author intended.

Now: bullhorn instead of loud-hailer? Hmm…


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