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)
Rúbia Lopes, Research Scientist