The Faustian Bargain

A blog about life outside the academy

Entries in editing (2)


The ghost at your desk: the benefits of a light editorial touch

The late Stanley Sadie, the first editor I worked under, gave me, and everyone in his charge, the same fundamental image to hold in mind as we worked: imagine that the author is standing behind you, casting judgment on every change you make.

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Why Rewriting and Editing are Important

"The best writing is rewriting" -- E.B.White

Today I came across this nice post on the joy and importance of rewriting by writer and editor Caitlin Kelly. As she points out,

every writer always needs someone who'll read or listen to their stuff with a critical but constructive attitude. It can be your room-mate, spouse, best friend, sister or anyone whose intellectual opinion you respect. The ideal first reader is someone who reads a lot of good writing, whether for work or for pleasure. Above all, your first reader must offer your work their full and undivided attention.

And she's not wrong: it's impossible for the lone writer to really see how their work comes across, or how it can be made even better. Kelly advises:

Always read a hard printed copy with a highlighter marker or pen in hand to catch typos, grammatical glitches and places it just doesn't flow. Don't just rely on your spell-check and other software helpers.

Having your work looked at by a decent copy-editor won't do any harm either ...