Just heard this morning (November 11, 2013) that the corrected copyedit has been sent to typesetting.
I’m still finding typos and such missed in correcting the copyedit, as I’m going over the ms., intensively reading so I can prepare the first stage of an index. So I will undoubtedly find many more, but they will have to be saved for correcting galleys.
I didn’t have a chance to post here about receiving the copyedit — it was quite sudden (I do not understand why, since this biography has been 13 years so far in production, and they’ve had the complete ms. since 2006, the publishers still feel they have to conduct the production process by ambush), and I had to work at it very concentratedly. And then when the copyedit itself was corrected I prepared and finalized Appendix 3 (a list of RAH works — not entirely satisfactory to my mind as there are too many compromises that had to be made) and then went immediately into index mode.
The copyedit went much more smoothly than the copyedit for the first volume (which was atrocious, the copyeditor, not apparently speaking English as either a first or a second language, introduced several thousand new errors into the ms.)
This time the biggest problem was a conflict of stylesheets. Tor/Macmillan uses the Chicago Manual of Style, which is a fine stylebook but designed for newspapers and not for a text that is full of citations and quotations. I was trained with the MLA stylesheet, which is widely used by lit academics — though the last encounter I had with it was before it had quite caught up with online sourcing, so at Santa Cruz they supplemented the MLA with two or three other stylesheets.
The relevant fact for this project about the MLA/CMOS variation is that CMOS apparently only recognizes one form of ellipsis, the three-dot. MLA uses a four-dot ellipsis as well. The three-dot ellipsis designates an elision within a paragraph; the four-dot ellipsis designates an elision that spans over a paragraph break. In addition, I use a legal convention when parts of a quotation are widely separated: three asterisks centered on an otherwise blank line.
Going into the copyedit, my principle was to live with anything that could be lived with. I had a discussion earlier with the editor in which I told him that I had used the greater precision of the MLA stylesheet because I wanted to give the readers trying to follow the citations enough information to tell how the pieces fit together (particularly now that the correspondence volumes of the Virginia Edition are out) — but that ultimately it was a publisher’s call about how much of that information they wanted to preserve.
I would have gone along with the changed style if it had been done in a sane fashion, but the copyeditor tried to change all the four-dot ellipses into three-dot ellipses with a preceding sentence-ending period, which does not work at all. When I found the copyeditor screwing around with ellipsis within quotes — and particularly putting in stray periods where she imagined periods might have been in source texts she has never seen — well, that cannot be lived with.
And that brought up a rather baroque set of rules about when to spell out a number and when not to. Since I had to go over the entire ms. again, I left some that I thought could work, but wound up changing some where I thought they would throw the reader into a slam-stop. The single biggest factor in the writing was to carry the reader along through the multi-million fact maze, and I tried to preserve that.