Re: Giving a Document **One Voice**

Subject: Re: Giving a Document **One Voice**
From: Beth Agnew <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
Date: Sat, 04 Feb 2006 01:59:37 -0500

I like Dick's approach, which is based on depth of knowledge and experience with editing. He is able to find that collective editorial voice ("his" editorial voice, at its best) and apply that to the documents. I wanted to just make the distinction between that professional and much-to-be-desired approach, and its opposite, which imposes the editor's own authorial voice. The latter is not a smooth, composite voice, but one unique to an editor who doesn't "get it". Poor editing occurs when the editor has to rewrite everything to make it sound like her, because that's the only way she knows how to deal with others' writing. Good editing is what Dick does. Ownership means you take responsibility for the quality of the document, as Dick pointed out, not that you make it "your own". Subtle distinction, perhaps, but with very different results.

Dick Margulis wrote:

Several people have offered good ways to approach the "one voice" problem. Here's one more:

I take the position that the one voice is going to be mine. Not my sometimes wry, sometimes deeply thoughtful, sometimes sarcastic or sardonic, sometimes long-convoluted-sentence mailing list voice but my clear-expository-writing voice, the one that channels Strunk & White and my high school English teacher.

In other words, I just take ownership of every part of the document and make it all as clear and readable as I know how, without regard for the idiosyncrasies of the original author but with full regard for the needs of the planned audience. If a section has to be completely reorganized and rewritten, I do that. If it just needs sentences recast for person, number, mood, and voice, I do that.

What I do not do is lose cycles trying to channel someone else's voice.
Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


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RE: Giving a Document **One Voice**: From: Melissa Nelson
Re: Giving a Document **One Voice**: From: Beth Agnew
Re: Giving a Document **One Voice**: From: Dick Margulis

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