Re: Re[2]: his/her > A New Editing Question

Subject: Re: Re[2]: his/her > A New Editing Question
From: Joan -dot- M -dot- Laflamme -dot- 2 -at- ND -dot- EDU
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1993 12:52:27 -0600

>In my situation, when a programmer writes some instructions (which will be
>published under his name in the newsletter I edit), I have problems deciding
>what to keep and what to change. Rewriting passive to active may make it more
>usable, but it could also just reflect my preferences, biased as they are.

>There is such a large gray fuzzy area between "improving" the piece and
>just imposing my voice on the piece (which I of course would regard as
>improving it because I like my voice ;-) ).

>What do you all think?

As a professional editor, I don't consider my "voice" just one among many.
My expertise is precisely what I'm paid to use. If I think rewriting to
change passive to active voice improves the article, I do so. My goal has
always been to produce the best article, book, whatever, for the reader.

At times, editing involves such minor work as making a document conform to
house style. At other times it means rewriting almost every sentence,
deleting large sections, and even adding (or asking the author to add)
other sections. Substantive editing is an art, not a matter of applying a
few cut-and-dried proofreading rules. (When I'm done, even with massive
changes, the style is still the author's, by the way.)

Perhaps because I spend most of my time in the world of book editing, I
have a different viewpoint from the majority here. I certainly seem to be
far less timid about applying my pencil. I figure that's my job.


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