WORK Re: Help for a newbie?

Subject: WORK Re: Help for a newbie?
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 19:38:15 -0400

Kate Marventano wrote:
>What techniques do you use for
>proofreading, and ensuring that your material is the best it can be before
>handing it off?


Interesting how the same topics seem to crop up on several lists at the
same time. We just finished a similar discussion on the copyediting-L
mailing list. For those of you who aren't members of that group, here is
the description of the proofing process on one of my current projects:

On my current technical writing project, I am both author
and primary editor. Part of the material is original, part is
based on material provided by the client. I'm subcontracting
through another writing firm, but I deal directly with the client
for queries.

The final edit before each draft goes to the client, however,
is a group-grope at the office. All 4 members of the team ---
myself, the graphics guru, the layout guy, and the president
of the company (aka The Proofreader From Hell) --- get together
and go over the entire manuscript.

We lay it out on a conference table, one section at a time,
and examine absolutely everything. Grammar, punctuation,
style issues, layout tweaks, technical questions --- everything.
As we finish one section, it gets taped to the wall while we
work on the rest. If a change is made to a later section, we
go back and check consistancy in the earlier sections. In short,
we pick nits until everyone is thoroughly disgusted with the whole thing.

I take the resulting masterpiece to the client with a list of queries,
he chews it over with his review team for a day or two, then I meet
with him to discuss revisions. Since -our- team has already dealt
with the literary issues, the revisions generally involve technical
issues or changes in presentation strategy. I make the necessary
revisions, give them to the layout guy, then we have another group
edit on -that- draft.

The process can be a bit grueling, but by the time we're finished
with each draft it's pretty darn near perfect. It's soooo nice to be
working with folks who are obsessive about quality --- AND willing
to pay for it!

>>Pam Gillespie replied:
>>>God, that sounds fun!

It's either fun or pure torture, depending on the group. The things
that make this group especially enjoyable are:

o Everyone is more than competent in their own area of expertise.
o We have nearly identical ideas about what makes a 'quality' document.
o We are all willing to hack at every element---text, graphics, style,
layout
---without making personal attacks on the perpetrator(s).
o None of us perps are especially thin skinned. We're all pretty feisty,
in fact, so no-one gets bulldozed into the dust -all- the time.

If you're dealing with a tyrant or a prima donna or a control freak
or a careless slob, though, the scales can tip toward the 'torture'
mark REAL fast.

This has been my first experiment with subcontracting. For 10 years I have
negotiated my own contracts and handled the whole job myself. This has
been a very interesting experience.


@Kat ___________________________________ katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting Services, Rochester, NY
Technical writing / Editing / Document design

"One thing a cat is not is obedient.
Writers aren't either, at least not the good ones."
Lloyd Alexander, quoted in Rogak's _The Cat on My Shoulder_

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