Despite this, I will confess to finding the whole copy-editing process stressful. For that reason, I delay the moment of opening the file for as long as possible. In which time the stress and anxiety only builds. So, not a good policy.
The purpose of this post, then, is to give myself a good talking to. I ought to remember that proper copy-editing is a great opportunity. An opportunity to make the book as good as it can be.
A novel is written in a frenzy of creativity. You try the best you can to make sure you don’t commit any great howlers, or even silly little solecisms. But, inevitably, mistakes get made. Note my blame-dodging use of the passive, there.
I have been saved from some embarrassing mistakes in the past by my copyeditors. And once or twice things even slipped through them and made it to the published book. Which is not to blame them. Any mistakes that appear in the finished printed book are mine alone. (What do you say to that, Jonathan Franzen? All comments welcome.)
So yes, I need to overcome that peculiar phenomenon, the Novelist’s Fear of the Comment Balloon. I need to embrace the copy-editor’s query. It’s no bad thing to have your writing challenged. To look again at what you’ve written and decide, ‘Yes, that is what I meant and that is how I meant to express it.’
It’s no bad thing either to have someone point out when a character changes hair colour, name, or even gender. And if that is exactly what you intended, then you are allowed to say so.