Sun, 30 Sep 12 at 22:43 | 2 Comments
Copy editor jokes are universal in publishing, probably even among copy editors themselves. (Click on this true story for a good example.) But they know what they’re talking about — or rather, marking up — and at least according to the rules, they’re usually right. My manuscripts are always better after CE.
This time around — copy edits on FULL RATCHET, which will be published next year — the CE caught something more significant. I based one character on a very famous, very wealthy, very beloved person … except in my version, he’s crooked, duplicitous and venal. Uh-oh! The Penguin legal department became involved:
It is within a fiction author’s license to take real-life persons as models for fictional characters. That said, if the resemblance is too close (in essence, a literary wink-wink to the reader) – the legal term is “of and concerning” – the real-life model could make a claim over anything defamatory or privacy invasive attributed to the fictional character …
And so this character is undergoing a radical transformation, even as we speak. No libelous mockery allowed.
Which is just as well (even if I kind of wish we’d gone ahead, just for the publicity). Better to find out now rather than down the road, when the consequence might be, say, pulping the entire run.
A good CE saves you from yourself.