Touchstone copyedit (3)
So the options are:
1. He pulled on a hat and buttoned up his coat, then let himself out into the cool, silent morning, luminous in a way heâ€™d only ever seen in this country.
2. He pulled on a hat and buttoned up his coat, then let himself out into the cool, silent morning, a morning of luminous potential such as heâ€™d only ever seen in this country.
3. He pulled on a hat and buttoned up his coat, then let himself out into a morning of luminous potential such as heâ€™d only ever seen in this country.
The second one, which will probably not surprise those of you who enjoy Mary Russellâ€™s prolix tendencies, was my original version. The third is how my editor changed it, and the first one was my attempt at preserving the flavor while tightening it up a little. Which, clearly, led me to overlook the little matter of a flawed antecedent, a thing I would have caught when I re-checked (I did leave a flag here, which means Iâ€™m not finished with it) and thus led to a fourth version.
What I need to do is fire up the laptop and do a word search for â€œcoolâ€ and â€œsilentâ€, since I have a terrible habit of using the same word again and again. The copy editor (Praise be upon her) is very good at catching those, but only when theyâ€™re close together. So if Iâ€™ve already referred to a silent morning elsewhere, that phrase will get the chop.
Iâ€™ll also need to reread it in the larger context, and see if the pace needs the quicker step of number three, or the leisure reflection of number two.
This is one line in a manuscript with, what, 20,000 lines?
Thank God these sort of questions donâ€™t occur more than once a page.