RE: Editorial review board - when to edit?

Subject: RE: Editorial review board - when to edit?
From: "Janoff, Steve" <sjanoff -at- illumina -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2010 11:53:53 -0700

Great story. :)

-----Original Message-----
From: ... On Behalf Of Al Geist
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2010 5:54 AM
To: 'Peter Neilson'; 'Kieran Sullivan'
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Editorial review board - when to edit?

I would like to add to Peter's excellent suggestions that the skill of
author also affects the time and depth of the editorial process. One of
first writing projects was writing operational theory and maintenance
procedures for an military air navigation system. I had the technical
skills, but my writing was closer to a 10-grade hockey player than a
professional technical writer. My supervisor called me and had me sit in
chair next to his desk. In his hand was a print out of my first
In front of him was the paragraph cut into individual words laid out in
order, and next to me was a blank sheet of paper covered with

We went through my text word-by-word sentence-by-sentence, placing the
that were needed in rows on the tape and tossing the "deadwood" in a
pile. I
was livid at first, but he was as compassionate as he was tough, so I
listened, and responded to his comments. The end product was tighter,
better, and conveyed the message without confusion, and there was a big
of useless words left over. Spelling was corrected during the process,
the words that were left had a lot of red ink on them. I never forgot
and, although harsh, I am a much better writer because of that
experience. I
saw him do the same to several other fledgling writers, half of whom
out and never returned. Brutal? Yes, but when I became a magazine
editor, I
realized that a lot of new writers could benefit from the same process.
too often, lazy writers tend to think that the editor will clean it up
them, and each time we do means less time available for other projects.

Okay...I'm off the soap box. Everyone can get back to work now......

Al Geist
Technical Communicator, Help, Web Design, Video, Photography
Office/Msg: 802-872-9190
Cell: 802-578-3964
E-mail: al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
See Also:
Fine Art Photography

"...I walked to work, quit my job, and kept walking. Better to be a
without a destination, I figured, than to cross the wrong threshold each
day." (Sy Safransky)


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Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:

Editorial review board - when to edit?: From: Kieran Sullivan
Re: Editorial review board - when to edit?: From: Peter Neilson
RE: Editorial review board - when to edit?: From: Al Geist

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