I cut my editing teeth in 2003 when I began working for a nonprofit organization with communications ranging from website and email to a magazine to a radio program. I learned how to polish and shape nonfiction of all lengths and varieties: articles, brochures, and even textbooks. As my editing skills developed, so did my editing philosophy. I sought to identify each writer’s unique voice, clarify areas of confusion, amplify the message, and strip away anything that detracted from it. In fact, I earned the nickname “The Machete.” (That’s a good thing!)
Whether your nonfiction is short or long, for print or for web, editing will address the following:
- Is the information accurate, logical, and faithful to what the author believes to be true?
- Are the content and sources properly documented?
- Does the writing style appropriately express the content?
- How can its best, most distinctive qualities be further revealed and refined?
- Does the chosen form reflect the content?
- Is the form of the work well executed?
- Is the information presented in an organized, understandable way that holds the reader’s interest?
- Does the work achieve the author's purpose in writing it?
- Does it convey the author's intent?
Carol Becker and Diane Kummer, Authors, Simplify Your Recordkeeping and Transcript (acknowledgements)