Re: How to edit constructively?

Subject: Re: How to edit constructively?
From: Karen Gwynn/Datatel <Karen_Gwynn -at- DATATEL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 10:54:39 EDT

Glenda, since you are working with some "junior" or new writers, I would,
initially, rewrite some of their sentences, or at least provide more
information than "awkward, rewrite." If they wrote an awkward paragraph to
begin with , your simple comment may not be enough to help them fix it.
However, when you rewrite, also explain why you are doing so. For example:
"this sentence is in passive voice; rewrite as ..."

However, you are right that it takes more time. But if you start out realizing
that you are doing a substantive edit, and not a copyedit, then you should
build into the schedule the time to do that level of detail.

Several months ago I reviewed a coworkers work. While he is not a "junior"
writer, this is his first project at our company. I had thought I was going to
do a simple copyedit--but nothing is ever simple, and this definately was not a
copyedit job! What I eventually did was make short notes on his document and
then I met with him. I told him that the information was good, but overall the
document did not meet a lot of our company standards and we could take one of
two approaches: we could sit here and go though everything, or I could take
another stab at editing, this time doing a substantive edit. We choose the

I then spent much more time on the document, but this time suggesting complete
rewrites. I either rewrote complete paragraphs or made detailed suggestions
(such as, "rewrite this section explaining blah, blah, and boo in light of the
users need to understand bloop"). Yes, it took a lot longer, but after seeing
his rework, I think it paid off.

kwg -at- datatel -dot- com

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