Adrienne (scieditor)

Author's details

Name: Adrienne (scieditor)
Date registered: May 25, 2011


An editor of words, mostly those in instructional materials — and mostly on technical subjects such as science.

Latest posts

  1. Inglorious Credits — November 24, 2014
  2. LOTW Nov 15–21 — November 21, 2014
  3. QA Trick for File Names — November 20, 2014
  4. Multi-platform Publishing Jobs at The Walrus — November 19, 2014
  5. 5 Steps for Effective Outlining in Non-fiction — November 18, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Productivity Rates in Editing — 13 comments
  2. Basic PDF Mark-Up for Copy Editors and Proofreaders — 14 comments
  3. How to Find Freelance Editing Work — 10 comments
  4. Thinking of a Career in Editing? — 9 comments
  5. Surprising 2-Step Trick to Find the Going Rate in Your Market Niche (podcast) — 16 comments

Author's posts listings

Nov 24

Inglorious Credits


On some projects, as Saller says, being acknowledged is “the kind of glory we can do without.”

Tweet this quote.

Today, in my How To column at, I follow up on the implications of doing less than your best, even if you met your triage criteria and are rolling on a big pile of money. Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article:

Nov 21

LOTW Nov 15–21

This week’s roundup of internet stuff and things for publications and science types (with some nothing-but-fun thrown in for balance):

Tweet this post.

  • why dangling modifiers aren’t a problem
  • ACES chat about estimating an edit and red flags (warning signs)
  • ebook publishing options
  • a brief history of (tech) failure
  • Postmodern Jukebox — genre adaptations of pop songs. Fun, and most excellent singing with fun arrangements.
  • the argument against (and the bad research supporting) rote homework

Permanent link to this article:

Nov 20

QA Trick for File Names

I just discovered something so simple and effective that my jaw literally dropped. To proof file names (or create a list for transmittal):Tweet this post.


  1. Open your file browser (Finder or My Documents)
  2. Select all files (? + a)
  3. Copy using ? + c (ctrl + c for Windows users)
  4. Open a blank text file. Word will do.
  5. Paste using ? + v

screen capture of files selected in finder and pasted in Word

Presto. Now you have access to all of your usual copy editing tools. Run your macros, your spellcheck, your consistency checker. Just remember to turn on Track Changes so you can transcribe those fixes to the file names themselves.

Make the spellchecker work on the final word by ditching all the file extensions (.jpg, .doc, etc.). Just search for the file extension (with preceding period) and replace with nothing.


Why this Helps

Some products I edit are electronic. The files I transmit are the final ones that will be burned to a disk (old-school) or uploaded to a content management system (CMS). File names are as important as chapter titles. My check caught some transposed letters (typos). Win!



Permanent link to this article:

Nov 19

Multi-platform Publishing Jobs at The Walrus

walrus job ad

Tweet this quote.The Walrus Foundation is hiring a full-time copyeditor and full-time editorial fellows for the multi-platform range of products that come out of their office in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Today, in my Canadian, Eh? column at

Link to my Canadian, Eh? column on



Permanent link to this article:

Nov 18

5 Steps for Effective Outlining in Non-fiction

Not only can outlining help lubricate your writing, it can save you huge time and effort (by avoiding unnecessary writing and by helping you focus) and can get buy-in from key players and users you consult along the way (and who may have ultimate approval of what you write).

Follow these steps to get an outline you can use. Tweet this quote.


  1. Describe Purpose
  • describe user/ reader/ audience — who, what, when, where, why:
    • purpose
    • education level
    • context/ when they’ll be using it
  • list goals and learning outcomes*


  1. Brainstorm Content
  • list facts/ points specifically


  1. Match Content to Purpose
  • fill in any missing elements
  • strike extraneous content, that which doesn’t address the purpose


  1. Sequence Content
  • usually, work from the known to the unknown, most important to least
  • group like items
  • start with specific and move toward general (or opposite)
  • order it step by step



If you wrote nothing more, the user/ reader would have a decent starting point in hand.


  1. Revise Outline from Feedback

 photo of people standing at junctures of steel scaffold

Get stakeholder input at this point, for maximum efficiency and efficacy. Ask target users for feedback. Ask peers and subject experts if the content matches the purpose (as you did in Step 3) and what should be added or omitted. This helps avoid spending time on material that doesn’t move you closer to the goal, and buoys the integrity of your product. This review step also builds a sense of collaboration among those who have influence on your product and on its later uses.


As you write and continue to get input, return to this outline often. Ask Does this suggestion honour (fit) the goal? before making any revisions. Be critical yourself too, kill your darling content if it doesn’t support the goal. You’ll have somewhere else to use it, one day.


*Laughter is a perfectly fine goal.

Read more about outlining from Geoff Hart, who likened outlining to building the frame for a house.

Find more resources and advice for writing and getting your project to “press” in the Client Kit.

Photo by Danielle Defrancesco, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.


Permanent link to this article:

Nov 17

Editorial Triage for Maximum Effect in Minimum Time

close up of post-it flags

Tweet this.The thing that is hard for some of us (editors) to accept is that some of the things that drive us crazy aren’t noticed by anyone but other editors. Tips for editorial triage: when time (or money) is tight, make the changes that make the biggest difference. Today, in my How To column at
Link to my columns on


Photo by Arria Belli used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.


Permanent link to this article:

Nov 14

LOTW Nov 8–14

This week’s roundup of internet stuff and things for publications and science types:

Tweet this post.

  • something I copyedited got noticed by the cool kids of the interwebs
  • the language of beauty packaging is in code
  • book launches are old-school marketing you should forget
  • MS Office free for iOS
  • plain language is recommended to help keep us safe when using medication

Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article:

Nov 13

A Colour Hack to Sharpen Your Editing Eyes

photo of printed text viewed through a blue ruler and a yellow rulerChanging the background colour of your document can trick your brain into seeing the words in a whole new way. People with reading disabilities (such as dyslexia) have had great success with this hack. To change the colour, you can use

Tweet this post.

  • a sheet of coloured acetate
  • coloured glasses
  • background colour of the onscreen doc
  • a coloured ruler

How a Ruler Can Trick Your Brain

Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article:

Nov 12

Canadian Copyright Primer

Tweet this quote.

Easily digestible chunks and sections on tracking down rights holders make this primer on Canadian copyright law a valuable addition to the editor’s shelf. Read more of my review in today’s Canadian, Eh? column on


Link to my columns on


Permanent link to this article:

Nov 10

How to Accept Less Than Your Best

photo of imperfect tulip with curled petal

Tweet this quote.Rolling in a heap of money helps one cope. Consider adding an aggravation fee.

Out of time or out of money, just two of the reasons to do less than your best: today, in my How To column at Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article:

Older posts «