I can't be the only person who has this problem. What kind of pencil do you use on your copyedited manuscript?????

Instructions always ask that the author make corrections in colored pencil. No pen, No red pencil. No circles, no underlining, no highlights.

This all makes perfect sense except that I've never been able to find a colored pencil that doesn't make it look like I used a crayon. I end up with a wide, blurry line that can't be erased. To get around some of this problem, I first make changes with a regular lead pencil because I usually erase and revise a few times. Once I'm finished, I erase the final revision and rewrite it with the clunky colored pencil. But I'll bet there are some decent colored pencils that actually work well for editing. Any suggestions???

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I used to proofread using colored mechanical lead. It was red, and I don't know if you can get it in other colors. I always thought it was a little too light, but the alternative was the clunky pencil.

Actually - Crayola makes Twistables. They're mechanical and also disposable. Hamlet got some as a gift, except he preferred to color with the leads halfway out. Needless to say, they didn't last long! But I liked how they wrote. Didn't dull like a manual, had a thicker lead than the mechanical. Maybe an option for you?
i was wondering if mechanical lead came in any color other than red.

the crayola twistables sound promising, but i think they want to be able to erase the author edit. can you erase the twistables? if so, they sound ideal.
You know, I'm not sure. Possibly/probably not - they didn't come with erasers.

I'm looking on Staples.com... how about Prismacolor Col-Erase? They come in green and blue and are medium-point, "ideal for illustration, animation, and accounting notation." I'd think that would make them ideal for diacritical marks too...
those look perfect.
You're instructed not to use red pencil? Huh. My instructions indicated that I should use red, but I couldn't find a decent one. I'm going to try the suggestions you guys have mentioned.
my recent copyeditors have all used red, so authors have to choose a different color. But yeah, even a decent red is hard to find. Most colored pencils are made for art, so they have an oil base which just doesn't work for edits. It's obvious that writers have tried to find a way around this, because the cover letter contains a paragraph of what we shouldn't do -- all things I thought about. :D
haha! yes, i did! since it was out of context, i was looking for a euphemism. also wondered if it was drugspeak. just the other day i pointed to a plant and said it was salvia. everybody around me cracked up. huh? what? i didn't know salvia is a big street drug. sigh. and i used to walk three miles through deep snow for a hit of acid... so sad. but i do think we should all start replacing the word panties with the word pennies. that would be wonderful. unless it really does mean something else, then just tag this as senile ramblings.
okay, here's the poop.

we don't have a Staples around here, so i went to a nearby art store where they had a wall of Prismacolor pencils. and surprise -- They had the Col-Erase!!! I was shocked! At 60 cents each i could even afford to experiment with a few color choices. I did find a packet of mechanical pencils with 6 different lead colors. The packet was $13.00, and the guy at the store said I wouldn't be able to find replacement lead for them. Now, after getting back home, I'm thinking I should have gotten those because I probably wouldn't use more than one pencil per book. But anyhoo, I got the Col-Erase and I think they'll be fine. The guy at the store suggested a vinyl eraser, which ends up being a HUGE improvement over a regular pencil eraser. And some colors erase better than others, but don't expect any to erase completely. Purple and green -- erase pretty well. Violet and blue -- not as well. I also got a little twist sharpener that I'm thinking I can keep right there as I work rather than letting the pencil get dull before I trot off to the electric sharpener.

Thanks for the suggestion, Christa!!!
If those don't suit you might also want to think about looking at engineer's drafting supplies. They may have a type of colored pencil that works better or stays sharp longer. Given the type of work they do it is vital they have a sharp point without having to stop and sharpen the lead every few minutes.
norby, that's an excellent idea. i've had that vague, flitting thought, but was unsure of where to get such things. I thought about Dick Blick, but there are surely places that specifically sell drafting supplies. I'll do some online searching. I think publishers should start including the magic colored pencil with the copyedited manuscript. that would be cool.
Instructions always ask that the author make corrections in colored pencil. No pen, No red pencil.>>

So, Anne, how far did you have to walk for those tabs?

And here's the dope (sorry) on salvia: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=salvia. Sound like something waaaaaaayyyy too frisky for this old head.

Back on track: one house for which I do a lot of editing and proofing insists on red pencil, and I have the same problem that others have noted: sharpening it every five words, blurryiness, poor eraseability. My preference is always a rolling-ball marker, as fine a point as possible. Current favorites are Uniball Vision Exact, Bic Grip-Roller Micro and Sanford Uni-Ball Micro, in no order, and in green ink. I've tried the mechanical pencils in both 5mm and 7mm, but I'm heavy-handed and constantly break the lead.

"Needless to say these can be extremely powerful experiences and should only be attempted with a sitter."


"Darn, i can't get a sitter for tonight. It's so hard to find a dependable sitter."

Bill, can the roller pens be erased?


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