Re: How to edit constructively

Subject: Re: How to edit constructively
From: CARYN_RIZELL -at- HP-ROSEVILLE-OM2 -dot- OM -dot- HP -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 09:12:52 -0800

Item Subject: cc:Mail Text

One question I had was the motivation of the writers to improve. Are
these new writers striving to become better writers, or do they think
that as a technical person they already know how to write?

If they are motivated to improve themselves as writers, then maybe the
best method is to suggest books and courses that would help them while
making constructive comments when you review their work.

Of course, this only works if they are motivated to improve. If not,
you have another situation on your hands!

Caryn Rizell


Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 21:57:12 GMT
From: Glenda Jeffrey <jeffrey -at- HKS -dot- COM>
Subject: How to edit constructively?

Can anyone post some suggestions on how to edit a writer's work so
that you help the writer to improve? That is, what is the best way
to supply constructive criticism?

Some background: I am an engineer turned tech writer; I am managing
three writers who are all writing software documentation. All three
writers are also technical people turned writers.

I already know I have a tendency to edit first drafts in copious
detail. I've heard that this is generally not a good idea, but I'm not
sure where to draw the line. If I'm seeing bad sentence structure in a
first draft, I'm inclined to point it out so that the writers know
they are off on the wrong track from the beginning. Is this bad?

Another point -- am I better off rewriting a sentence or parapraph to
"show them how it's done," or should I just say, "this section is
unclear, awkward, whatever; please rewrite it."? Clearly, it's
time-consuming for me to rewrite their work, but it is also
time-consuming to iterate endlessly in search of an unclear goal...

Any suggestions from the "voice of experience" would really help.
Thanks in advance...
Glenda Jeffrey Email:
jeffrey -at- hks -dot- com
Hibbitt, Karlsson & Sorensen, Inc Phone: 401-727-4200

1080 Main St. Fax: 401-727-4208
Pawtucket, RI 02860 Web:


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