My top 5 takeaways from The Art and Science of Editing webinar with consultant/educator Merrill Perlman (@meperl), formerly of The New York Times
This Oct. 3, 2012, webinar is “for writers and editors who want to learn to identify when you need to edit something, when you don’t and how to explain your changes to others.”
Most important: Your job as an editor is to stand up for the reader. Your goal is to make something more accessible — what is the writer saying? What is the reader hearing?
Good editing follows guidelines, not rules (except when it’s a law).
You want to edit, not change. A change is something you *want* to do … an edit is what copy *needs* to be clearer. “An edit always keeps its main focus on the reader. A change is made for convenience sake or to obey a rule.” And editing improves copy as *invisibly* as possible.
“Good editors understand why they do what they do … and can explain it.” When you do explain an edit, avoid terms like “you did” or “I fixed.” Instead: “The idea is unclear” or “a reader might misunderstand …”
How to give a story a fresh read? Change the font size to make it bigger … or print it out and read on paper.