Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Copyediting--What To Start With

What to start with when you read a text for the first time? Nearly everything. Fix problems as you come to them, but be sure to read all of each sentence before you try to fix what looks like a syntax problem, because sometimes a sentence can look like it's incorrect when it really isn't--don't try to predict, just read, and fix the problem if there is one.

When you finish correcting any problems in the details, go back and look for global problems--lack of cohesion, an introduction that doesn't quite work, transitions that don't bridge from one idea to the next very well, a conclusion that stops abruptly or trails off, lack of organization of ideas, a change in tone, wandering verb tenses or an inconsistent use of pronouns, etc.--then fix those, and after that, give the whole thing a once over in case you missed something.

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