February 26, 2006
Liz published this at 8:38 am
Editing for Quality
It’s true that every writer needs an editor. We all know that I sure do. In textbook publishing, we say that every writer really needs two–a content editor and a copyeditor. The first makes sure that the logic and ideas make sense. The second makes sure that the work is readable. Readable doesn’t mean much, if the ideas are all over the place.
Content editing doesn’t need to take bundles of time. You’ve gotten the ideas onto the paper. Print the post out and read it. A pause for a content edit makes sure that your information is accurate, relevant, and accessible. Why not make sure your ideas move in a way that readers can follow them? It can only make you look smarter.
For that purpose, I offer you this basic content editor’s quality checklist.
Content Editor’s Quality Checklist
- Does the work have a clear focus on one topic?
- Does the introduction grab interest and offer a clear purpose for reading?
- Are the facts accurate?
- Does the work follow a logical plan from beginning to end?
- Does the body of the work present well-ordered paragraphs of main ideas with relevant, supporting details?
- Does the conclusion leave readers feeling satisfied, feeling a sense of conclusion now that they have reached the end and know what to do with the information?
Use this checklist for the content edit first. Then move on to copyediting — making sure that the spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct. Do the two tasks separately. Trying to do both at once is like trying to have dinner with two dates at two different restaurants — not a good idea.
Use the content editor’s quality checklist and you’ll be that much more confident that your reader won’t get lost looking for the forest among the trees. Now whether they’ll agree with you . . .
–ME “Liz” Strauss