Turn bad editing into good writing

Whether soliciting advice from friends, family, or colleagues, on the receiving end of letters and track changes from journal editors, all authors have received bad editing. Bad editing is part of the writing game. Not everyone who is an editor is an excellent writer, in fact many are not. Although we’d like to think that our manuscripts are read by people with an interest or specialization in the material our articles or books cover, that’s not always the case. Readers can have bad days. Professors can be bogged down by exams; student editors may be more concerned with tests.

Top 10 grammar errors

Becky Burckmyer, author of Awesome Grammar (Career Press, 2008, shares the “top 10” grammar errors she has seen in her 20-year career as a copywriter, writing coach and seminar leader:

1. Incorrect placement of quotation marks. Note that quotation marks go OUTside periods and commas, whether the little marks are part of the quoted material or not:

Archie has written a song, “Green Christmas,” which I think you should hear.

How to edit a collective volume of papers from a conference

A collective volume is often a written record of a single conference or symposium, or a record of the “acta” or proceedings of a series of meetings of an organization, often annual, stretching over a number of years; or, finally, a festschrift offered as an acknowledgement of an individual’s professional impact over a significant period of his life. Festschriften are often occasioned by 65th or 70th birthdays, retirement, or other excuses.

How a copy editor can help you polish your work

As a professional freelance copy editor, I have the pleasure and honor of working with publishers and authors of scholarly titles. I have known authors who resisted copy editing (or any kind of editing), and publishers who won’t pay for a thorough edit of a manuscript. Sadly, these occurrences generally result in inferior work being published.

You may wonder why you should work with an editor at any stage of your writing. Working with an editor that you hire can help prepare your book for a publisher by making it clearer, effective, and easier to read. Most reputable publishing houses will have copyediting done as part of the process of publishing to clean up your text and make sure it conforms to the publisher’s style.

Q&A: What techniques do you use to cut clutter, wordiness, jargon, etc. from your writing?

Q: “What techniques do you use to cut clutter, wordiness, jargon, etc. from your writing?”

A: Andrew P. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor of Holistic Education, Department of Special Education, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mankato, MN:

“What you don’t include in is just as important as what you do include. Splash your words on the page. Write your draft without regard to length or redundancy. Get the whole mess out there. First focus on and revise sentence-by-sentence. With each, only include the information that needs to be there to communicate the idea. NO EXTRA WORDS.