Tag Archive: edit

Jun 05

The argument for making changes silently, not tracking them

I espouse making routine copy editing changes silently; that is, without tracking them in Word. From editors, I hear a few common concerns about this:


  • What if the client wants to see every little change?
  • What if the edits introduced errors?
  • What if we really want the client to know that we did all that work? Will invisible changes go and unacknowledged, and, in the end, unappreciated?


sample of how tracked changes in MS Word quickly gets clutteredAbove all, do what works for you and for your client. There is room for many valid work styles among editors.

The idea of making changes silently came to me from Carol Fisher-Saller, one of the more prominent editors at University of Chicago press. I’m in good company on this point, and her post explains it well. But then again, she does call herself The Subversive Editor. Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2014/06/the-argument-for-making-changes-silently-not-tracking-them/

Apr 10

5 tips for editing your own work

photo of magnified eyeFive brain hacks for tricking yourself into seeing text with fresh eyes are covered in this episode, an adaptation of Adrienne’s post on copyediting.com. While originally written for editors, these tips can help writers editing their own writing too; they are ways to trick your eyes into seeing what is actually there rather than what your mind thinks should be there.

Press play below or subscribe to have this sent automatically to your podcatcher/ iTunes, or right-click to download the file. 6:35 min

Follow this link to instructions for subscribing to this podcast.


What do you do to see the words anew? Leave your comments below, or join the discussion over on the Dameditors Facebook page.


Mentioned in this episode:

Original post: 5 Ways to Refocus Your Editing Eye

First and second episodes: Error Rates in Editing: What’s Your Save Percentage? and How many errors trigger a book reprint? (Spoilers: data shows 95% is the best humanly possible and, secondly, precious few.)





Link to my Canadian, Eh? column on Copyediting.com


The image for this episode is by chrisbb, used under CC BY 2.0 license.


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2014/04/5-tips-for-editing-your-own-work/

Mar 01

Get your manuscript ready for the editor and save money on editing costs

I have good news for you — two bits of it, even!

  1. You can save money by doing a bit of editing yourself.
  2. You do not have to spend time cleaning up the formatting.

Follow the process below, and you’ll have a better grasp of your own work and save a bit on editing. Plus, you’ll probably spot some problems that had eluded you before.

What I want you to tell me about your work

Photo by neepster used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license. http://www.flickr.com/photos/neepster/344276189/sizes/m/Save a new document called Style Sheet for [name of work]. On it, tell me this:

  • dictionary you prefer, or at least whether to use Canadian, US, or UK spelling
  • style guide you prefer, or at least the intended market such as trade, news, academic journal, or website
  • preferred spellings of any words, especially if you made them up (like hullova)
  • abbreviations and acronyms used, and what they mean when spelled out fully
  • names of all people and places in the piece, make sure they are spelled the way you want
  • relationships among characters, such who is the dad and who he was married to first
  • important attributes of characters, such as eye colour (if it comes up) and any other important details (such as “colour blind”)
  • timeline, list pertinent events and dates in order
  • map of place if fictitious


What I want you to do to your manuscript


proken red pencil Grab the checklist below and give your manuscript a once-over. I will still check these things during a copy edit, but the cleaner the manuscript is, the less it costs to edit. Time is money after all. Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2014/03/get-your-manuscript-ready-for-the-editor/

Apr 16

Writing for investors? Avoid these five phrases

guest post by Danielle Arbuckle


Vision Of Eyechart With Glasses used with permission of www.SeniorLiving.Org

Every industry has its own language, and finance is no exception. Some people may think we use this language to confuse readers (i.e., investors) or, worse, to hide important information with our vague, technical wording. I don’t believe that. In my 10+ years as a financial writer and editor, I’ve found that most of the people I work with are simply very comfortable with the language of finance. We get so comfortable, in fact, that we forget that others may be confused by the words we use. So, I’ve put together this list of five phrases to avoid when writing for investors:


1. Economic headwinds (and tailwinds)

Yes, I’ve travelled by plane, so I know that headwinds push against the direction of travel while tailwinds help push us forward. I could guess that economic headwinds are a bad thing, while tailwinds are good. But we shouldn’t assume every investor will make this leap. Often, a headwind is some economic challenge we expect markets (or funds or a specific industry) to face, and a tailwind is, well, the opposite of that. When writing for investors, be specific and explain the challenges or positive developments you’re expecting.


2. Cautiously optimistic

Numbers And Finance used with permission of www.SeniorLiving.Org

This is often a way to say we have no idea what’s going to happen with the markets (or a specific industry, etc.). Will they rise? Will they fall? Will they swing wildly? We’re not too sure; therefore, we haven’t decided whether we should invest with caution or whether we should dive in more optimistically. Thus, we remain “cautiously optimistic.” This phrase is too vague to hold meaning for investors; it should be avoided.


3. Secular trends

“Secular” has a specific meaning in finance that doesn’t translate well to the non-financial world. To many people, “secular” means non-religious or non-spiritual. In finance, it means “long term.” The fix is easy: write “long-term trends.”


4. Player and space

We’ve all heard this: “XYX Co. is a leading player in the biochemicals space.” This is industry-specific jargon that could be easily avoided when writing for investors. Depending on the context of your sentence, replace “player” with “company” or “competitor,” and replace “space” with “sector” or “industry.”


5. Performance outcomes

I admit to developing a bit of an eye twitch when I started seeing this phrase everywhere. “This fund/ stock/ industry offers strong performance outcomes…” It makes me twitchy because what we mean (and what we should write instead) is “strong returns.” Here, we’ve taken a simple and well understood concept and replaced it with something that will leave many investors scratching their heads.


There are many more phrases that leave investors confused, but this list covers some of my favourites. What phrases get your hackles up?


Danielle Arbuckle has been a financial writer and editor for 12 years. She has written about finance and investing for many Canadian consumer and trade magazines. As an editor, she has worked with bond rating agencies, regulators, mutual fund companies and investment banks.

[photo credit: www.SeniorLiving.Org Used with permission under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license]


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2013/04/writing-for-investors-avoid-these-five-phrases/

Oct 06

Editing Strategies: Checklists

Checklists help ensure all elements are in place.

Every now and then, someone asks me if there is a method to my editing. Do I go from “big picture” to “minutia,” for example.

No. It’s not usually that orderly. There is a lot of art to editing. Especially at the start of a project, I just read it, changing or making notes as I go.

However, when I’m well into a project, the editing needs become clearer – the problem spots more apparent – or the elements to check get longer, out comes my checklist.*

Copy editing and proofreading are a lot more amenable to systems than structural editing is.

Below is my checklist from proofing pages on a recent project. Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/10/editing-strategies-checklists/

Aug 12

How to Start a Style Sheet

A style sheet is a record of style choices made as the editor works on a document. They are usually specific to a project or client.

What the bare bones of a style sheet should note.

My template or boilerplate style sheet includes

  • dictionary preference and preference for first given spelling option,
  • style guide preference,
  • reading level,
  • British or US punctuation (for commas and quotes), and
  • number treatment.

This style sheet is jotted on the back of an envelope because the job was tiny, at the final stage, and non-repeating.

Now, my boilerplate reflects the typical subject of my work and often includes notes on the treatment of Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/08/how-to-start-a-style-sheet/

Jul 04

Create a Checklist of Your PDF Mark-up in 2 Clicks

In my previous post of this series, I showed you how to use the “text edits” tool to mark up changes in a PDF. Some production departments are afraid of this tool. (See the insightful and learned comments in the previous post.)

A colleague and I both freelance for the same publisher, but in different divisions. Each of us has double-checked with the production department(s) and been assured that we are not allowed to use the other’s method for marking up PDFs. This makes me sad, because my colleague speaks very highly of Acrobat’s text edit tools, and they look slick. I’d like to use them.

In a very old industry, implementing new tricks take patience.

Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/07/create-a-checklist-of-your-pdf-mark-up-in-2-clicks/

Jun 24

Edit Tools for Marking up PDFs in Acrobat

In the previous post of this series, I discussed drawing tools, changing properties, and using text boxes to mark up PDFs using Acrobat. Finally, let’s visit Acrobat’s built-in text edit tools.

screen capture of what Acrobat does when text is selected with the text edit tool, and then typed over

Sample of how the text edit tool marks up deletions and inserted text.

What the edit tools do

Basically, the text edit tools do electronic mark-up that mimics what line editors traditionally wrote in by hand. (Methods described in the last two posts.)

Click, drag, delete. Click, drag, type. And all of the changes are marked up for you. It’s so clean! Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/06/edit-tools-for-marking-up-pdfs-in-acrobat/

Jun 05

Key Mark-Up Techniques for Proofreading PDFs

Last post, I discussed using a stylus* or custom stamps to mark-up changes to PDF page proofs. In this post, I discuss two more key skills for copy editing and proofreading in Adobe Acrobat: changing the properties of objects and using text boxes.

OK, I’ll slip in a third skill: using the drawing tools such as rectangle, oval, polygon, and the pencil. In fact, let’s start there.


Drawing tools of the Comments & Markup toolbar in Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.

Drawing tools of Acrobat’s Comments & Markup toolbar.

Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/06/key-mark-up-techniques-for-proofreading-pdfs/

May 31

Basic PDF Mark-Up for Copy Editors and Proofreaders

[Update Jan 10, 2013: added demo video using Acrobat Reader XI — short URL: http://goo.gl/yaqzNtTweet this quote.

I never see paper anymore. Manuscripts are developed in Word, much to my chagrin. When the book goes to layout, I get page proofs in PDF form. The markup I do is in Adobe Acrobat (or Reader), which I love. I have a stylus, which I love. And my computer has a big-ass screen, search, and undo. Actual-size paper just cannot compete with that.


ITPM has beautiful layout and inspiring travel stories. You'll get lost in there. Best hide your air miles card whilst you read.

The next post shows how to mark up a PDF using stylus and stamps in Adobe Acrobat Pro9.


First, learn the traditional proofreader’s marksRead the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/05/basic-pdf-mark-up-for-copy-editors-and-proofreaders/