I am so thrilled to be able to share with you about my favorite topic: editing. Yes, I’m a geek to the major level, I love words! Sculpting an excellent sentence, crafting paragraphs and molding manuscripts is a type of puzzle to me. And I hope some of my passion will pass through these posts over the next few weeks. Maybe you too, will love to edit your work, instead of sighing heavily and secretly wishing you had a root canal appointment. Whether you are editing a poem, short story, novel or nonfiction magazine article, my goal is to clear away creepy cobwebs from all those dark corners, shedding light and life for you to use as you edit your work. Each week we’ll move through an important editing skill. This week it’s the basics.
The first thing I’d like to do is get the definitions out there so we can all be on the same page. Revision, editing, and rewriting have all been used as interchangeable terms but they are different. Editing is the top of the pyramid, if you were to draw the hierarchy or a family tree, it’s the papa, the last name all of them use. This is what it would look like:
The graphic is poor quality on purpose, for it is one I use as a handout and I don’t want peeps snagging it…they can make their own. 😉
Developmental/Project Editing – Co-ordinating and editing a project from proposal or rough manuscript to final manuscript, incorporating input from authors, consultants, or reviewers. May include: budgeting, design supervision, hiring, production co-ordination.
Rewriting – Creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript on the basis of content and research supplied by Author. May include: research, writing original material.
Developmental/Project Editing and Rewriting are considered equal in terms of time, vary with projects and may overlap which is why I lumped them together.
Substantive/Structural Editing. Clarifying or reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure. May include: research, writing original material, negotiating changes with Author.
Stylistic Editing. Clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, polishing language, and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing. May include the following: checking or correcting reading level, creating or recasting tables or figures, negotiating changes with Author.
Substantive/Structural Editing and Stylistic Editing are in a category together because they both consist of clarifying or correcting on a large scale.
Proofreading. Checking proofs of formatted, edited material for adherence to design and for minor, mechanical errors in copy (such as spelling mistakes or small deviations from style sheet). Does not include the following unless specified:
|• incorporating or exercising discretion on Author’s alterations|
• checking accuracy of running heads and folios
• checking page breaks• inserting or checking page numbers to contents and page references
• marking color breaks
• flagging or checking location of art
Notes: The agreement should specify whether proofs are to be read in isolation or “to copy” and whether a style sheet will be provided. It should also specify whether proofs are first, second (or subsequent), or final pages.
“Proofreading” is often loosely used to include copy editing and other tasks. It is not so used in this agreement. These other tasks must be specified.
Copy Editing. Editing for grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style; checking for consistency of mechanics and for internal consistency of facts; inserting head levels and approximate placement of art; editing tables, figures, and lists; notifying Designer of any unusual production requirements. Does not include the following unless specified:
|• providing or editing art manuscript|
• providing or changing system of citations
• editing index
• writing or editing captions or credit lines
• writing running heads• obtaining or listing permissions needed
• providing front matter (prelims), cover copy, or CIP data
• editing preface or foreword
• negotiating changes with Author
• seeking approvals from clients’ representatives
Notes: The agreement should specify whether changes are to be made to hard copy, to the electronic manuscript, or to both. “Copy editing” is often loosely used to include stylistic and even structural editing, fact checking, and mark-up. It is not so used in this agreement. These other tasks must be specified.
Fact Checking/Citation Checking/Reference Checking. Checking accuracy of facts and quotes by reference to original sources used by Author or to other reference sources.
In this Etc. category is Indexing, Mark-Up/Electronic Coding/Tagging, Picture Research, Permissions, Production Co-ordination, and Desktop Publishing (formatting documents for e-publication).
Those are terms from my contract, and they’re pretty thorough. But they don’t usually apply to how we look at our own work. In the next segment, I’ll share how a writer breaks these down, applying them to each draft, landing a stronger piece.
Until next Friday…namaste 🙂