Honing your editing skills

March 11, 2010 at 5:40 am Leave a comment

I went to a TCANZ workshop called “Honing your editing skills” at the end of last month and wanted to share some of the stuff I learnt.

The instructor

The instructor, Howard Warner, is an experienced editor and plain English enthusiast from Auckland. He is the founder and director of Plain English People.

Types of editing

I found that the most valuable thing I learnt was to define the “discrete stages” that make up the editing process which are:

  • Structural editing
  • Sentence level editing
  • Proofreading

Structural editing

Make sure the necessary sections are there, ordered correctly and weighted appropriately; and that text is divided up into manageable, readable chunks.

Sentence level editing

Check for “a light texture”, consistency, clarity, and accuracy. Ensure short sentences, active voice, common words, etc.

Proofreading

Ensure correct, consistent punctuation; correct spelling, capital letters, consistent terminology, consistent formatting.

Editing & Information Mapping

A properly Information-Mapped document won’t need structural editing. It also helps with some parts of copy editing and formatting, though I think these are still quite separate and still need to be done.

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