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Editing Fundamentals Instructor: Lisa Over

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1 Editing Fundamentals Instructor: Lisa Over

2 Objectives You will be able to  Distinguish between the levels of edit  Work with authors and designers  Preserve the author’s meaning and voice  Edit for the reader  Offer constructive comments  Determine your fee  Avoid over-editing

3 What is Good Writing? Is good writing simply writing with correct grammar and punctuation?

4 What is Editing?  Editing improves formatting, style, and accuracy of text to make it clear, cohesive, coherent, and consistent.

5 What is Editing? Two kinds of editing  Substantive edit  Copyedit

6 What are the Editor’s Responsibilities?  Preserve the author’s meaning and voice  Provide readers with good writing  Offer constructive comments

7 Preserve the Meaning and Voice  Ask the writer questions  Ask yourself questions  Always inform the writer of changes  Be flexible

8 Provide Readers with Good Writing  Eliminate Jargon  Know the jargon common to the author’s topic  Know the audience’s background  Offer suggestions for defining or changing terms

9 Provide Readers with Good Writing  Eliminate Colloquial Writing  Know idioms and their meaning  Offer suggestions for making the wording more original  Idiom Examples Idiom Examples  Idiom Worksheet Idiom Worksheet

10 Provide Readers with Good Writing Provide readers with writing that is …and that has appropriate  Clear  Cohesive  Coherent  Concise  Precise  Emphasis  Tone

11 Clear Writing  Characters are expressed as subjects.  Actions are the actions of the main characters and are expressed as verbs.

12 Clear Writing  “The implementation of the new mathematics curriculum by the department depends on agreement among the faculty.”  “The faculty must agree with the new mathematics curriculum before the department can implement it.”

13 Clear Writing  Voice is active except where passive voice would shift the topic to the beginning of the sentence

14 Clear Writing  “Black holes are dark regions in space that hold many secrets. A star creates a black hole when it’s gravity pulls its gases so tightly together that the star collapses into a ball about the size of a marble.”  “Black holes are dark regions in space that hold many secrets. A black hole is created when a star’s gravity pulls its gases so tightly together that the star collapses into a ball about the size of a marble.”

15 Cohesive Writing  Sentences form a connected line of thought: Familiar information is at the beginning and unfamiliar information is at the end.

16 Cohesive Writing  “Black holes are dark regions in space that hold many secrets. A black hole is created when a star’s gravity pulls its gases so tightly together that the star collapses into a ball about the size of a marble….”  This tightly compressed matter changes the space around it so that anything that comes near the space is sucked in and compressed.

17 Coherent Writing  Each paragraph develops one idea/topic.  Ideas are well-organized from one paragraph to another.

18 Coherent Writing  “Black holes are dark regions in space that hold many secrets. A black hole is created when a star’s gravity pulls its gases so tightly together that the star collapses into a ball about the size of a marble. This tightly compressed matter changes the space around it so that anything that comes near the space is sucked in and compressed….”  This strong gravitational pull is what makes black holes so mysterious. No one can get close enough to uncover their secrets.

19 Concise Writing  Each word advances your meaning.  Each paragraph conveys the most information and all necessary details in the fewest words.

20 Concise Writing  “It is necessary that we not forget to explain the basic and fundamental information users need in order to perform the tasks in an accurate manner.”  We must explain…  the basic information…  users need to perform …  the tasks accurately.

21 Concise Writing “We must explain the basic information users needs to perform the tasks accurately.”

22 Precise Writing Correct facts  Verify the facts  Avoid misleading terminology  Avoid overstatements or understatements  Reveal all the information the users need  Respect legitimate rights of privacy and confidentiality

23 Precise Writing Exact Words  Specific and concrete  Simple and familiar  Analogies and word pictures  Commonly Confused Words (PDF) Commonly Confused WordsPDF  Homonyms, Homophones, and Homographs (PDF) Homonyms, Homophones, and HomographsPDF)  Common Mistakes (PDF) Common MistakesPDF

24 Appropriate Emphasis  Short, simple information is at the beginning and long, complex information is at the end.

25 Appropriate Emphasis  “People who believe a process or outcome conflicts with their moral beliefs will oppose it.”  “People will oppose a process or outcome if it conflicts with their moral beliefs”

26 Appropriate Tone  Tone is the personality behind the message.  Tone conveys the writer’s distance from the audience and the writer’s attitude about the subject.  Personal or impersonal  Objective or biased

27 Appropriate Tone  Three levels of tone Three levels of tone  Informal  Semiformal  Formal

28 Offer Constructive Comments  Awkward  Unclear  Abstract  Dense  Complex  Indirect  Choppy  Disorganized Avoid telling how you feel

29 Offer Constructive Comments  Be more specific  avoid using so many prepositional phrases  put your ideas in logical order  use connectors to clarify logical relationships  write short sentences  too ‘wordy’ Avoid addressing the symptoms

30 Offer Constructive Comments  This reminds me of…an analogy may convey your message better.  Make your main character the subject of this sentence  Start sentence with something familiar to “ground” the reader  You have two ideas in this paragraph. Break it up. Make comments specific and helpful

31 Avoid Over-editing Ask yourself “why?” Why do I want to change it?  To improve the organization, readability, or usability?  To clarify ideas?  To make it correct or consistent?

32 Avoid Over-editing Edit in phases 1. Substantive issues 2. Clarity, cohesion, coherence, emphasis, and tone 3. Grammar and mechanics

33 Career Tips  Portfolio  Editing Career Links Editing Career Links

34 Stylebooks and Style Sheets  Chicago Manual of Style 16 th edition  Associated Press Stylebook

35 Stylebooks and Style Sheets  Company and Project Style Sheets  Example: When using a technical term for the first time, put it in boldface font, briefly define it in the text or in the margin depending on how complex it is, and include the new term in the glossary.  Companion Web Site Companion Web Site

36 References  Williams, Joseph M. (2005) Stlye: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 8 th ed. Pearson Education, Inc.  Lannon, John M. (2006) Technical Communication, 10 th ed. Pearson Longman.


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