The value of good editing
A few weeks ago, a local organization posted a link to a new blog on their website about luxury offerings in Revelstoke. Even though I’m not the target market, I decided to give it a read. As I did, I encountered numerous mistakes, from inconsistent style to misspelled business names to poor grammar. I contacted the organization and offered to edit it. Here’s one sample paragraph:
Just across the ferry on Highway 23S, Great Northern Snowcats also offer either day cat skiing (offered through Revelstoke Mountain Resort) and multi-day trips at their lodge. The operation sits in the Bad Shot range of the Selkirk Mountains, famous for the amount of snow it accumulates- which is music to the ears of any skier of boarder.
And here’s my version, with the corrections in bold:
Just across the ferry, near the village of Trout Lake¹, Great Northern Snowcat Skiing² offers³ day cat skiing (through4 Revelstoke Mountain Resort) and multi-day trips out of5 their lodge. The operation sits in the Badshot6 Range of the Selkirk Mountains, famous for the amount of snow it accumulates – music7 to the ears of any skier or snowboarder.
The original paragraph isn’t terrible by any means, and many people would read it without blinking an eye. However, I noticed some immediate errors and a bit of awkwardness. Eager for a work, I contacted the head of the organization with an offer to edit their blogs. In it, I included a complete edit of the blog in question. I aspired to maintain the writing style of the author, while making a few changes.
Here they are:
- I changed ‘Highway 23S’ to ‘Trout Lake’ for two reasons. First, because ‘Highway 23S’ is both a vague and inaccurate location; Great Northern Snowcast Skiing is just off Highway 31. Second, because Trout Lake is a more evocative name. Rather than implying it’s just off the highway, it evokes somewhere more remote and exotic.
- ‘Great Northern Snowcats’ is actually called ‘Great Northern Snowcat Skiing.’
- The word ‘also’ is redundant. As well, Great Northern is singular, so ‘offer’ should be ‘offers.’
- I took out ‘offered’ in the brackets because it’s repetitive. Having the same word twice in a sentence is a no-no. Unless you’re writing ‘no-no.’
- ‘Out of’ instead of ‘at,’ because it’s a little clearer. I could have also used ‘from.’
- ‘Badshot’ is one word, not two.
- I switched the hyphen to a en-dash and removed ‘which is.’ Alternatively, the hyphen could be replaced by a comma.
These changes are minimal, but they clean up the language and fix mistakes, while maintaining the style of the author. The latter is important to me, because while I could re-write everything to my liking, I do believe in keeping the creator’s voice when editing. My main goal is to ensure your work is mistake free and reads well.
This is a fairly basic example, but it should give you an idea of how I can help if you ever want a professional set of eyes to look over your work. I’ll look at more substantial copy-editing in a future blog post.