Re: Self-editing

Subject: Re: Self-editing
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 02 Nov 2014 06:13:42 -0500

.method good another is backwards copy hard the Reading

If you have the time, put your creation away for a month before you look at it again. "Who wrote this garbage??!?"

Sometime I'll read material aloud to my wife. There are usually two or three errors in half a dozen paragraphs, such as "to" for "too" or "of" for "or" and I'll catch them as I pronounce them. Occasionally she'll remark to me about an error of fact or a poor explanation. I guess she's just smarter than I am.

Oh, there's an error in the paragraph above. I'll send an invisible pony to the first to find it.

When I worked for a newspaper and we were setting the "legals" into type we used formal proofreading, where one person reads the typeset copy aloud to another who holds the typewritten original. "To cap arthur cap lessingham L E S S I N G H A M of parts unknown colon, cap a petition has been entered in cap cambridge cap district cap court for the termination of ..." The legals are ads for tax takings, probate, etc. Occasionally we would discover an error in the original, and would call the appropriate lawyer or court for clarification. An error in the publication of a legal ad invalidates the required publication, resulting in rescheduling of a court date and (more importantly) no payment to the newspaper for the ad.

One other method is available to users of Unix or Linux:
tr " " "\n" <sourcefile|sort -u|>outputfile

That Unix shell command turns all spaces into newlines, so there's one word per line. It then sorts into an alphabetical list of words, eliminating any duplicates. Examination of the results can reveal the presence of unexpected words, overlooked in previous readings because they seemed correct in their original context.

Don't have Linux handy because you're Microsoftened? Get cygwin: https://www.cygwin.com/


On Sat, 01 Nov 2014 23:46:51 -0400, Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

I wish my stuff were checked by an editor. When you see something too often it begins to fall off your radar.
One way to get around that is to print it and check it in hard copy. I find it makes a real difference, maybe because that way I can proof it under conditions other than standard work conditions. Reading it at different times, or in a different place, helps refocus my thinking.

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Self-editing: From: Richard Hamilton
Re: Self-editing: From: Keith Hood

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