Week 4 Comprehensive editing

Readings

Rude Ch 14, Comprehensive edit

Content editing

What is substantive editing?

Editing assignment

You'll edit these using Word's track changes and email the copy. Include a letter of transmittal with each editing (you'll write 2 letters). You will need to make decisions about spelling, capitalization, and abbreviations as well as to edit for consistency, grammar, and punctuation. Use either the APA or MLA style manual and a dictionary as you make copyediting decisions

Open heart surgery. . Make a style sheet for the open heart surgery text indicating choices that involve editorial judgment and that might apply to related documents, even if the judgment is to leave the text as it stands. The style choices you make for this section would apply to a longer document containing that article.

Review letter. Assume you know the author of this performance review is very touchy about anyone changing his words. He doesn't mind comments or grammar corrections, but moving paragraphs or rewriting sentences will send him into a rage.

Password maintenance

Discussion questions

1.

Define your differences between "copyediting" and "comprehensive editing."

In just a sentence, what do you feel to be the principal difference between the two?

What is the major problem with editors conducting comprehensive editing

2.

Rude, in her chapter on organization, lists the following as the basic tenets of organization.

  1. Follow pre-established document structures.
  2. Anticipate reader questions and needs.
  3. Arrange information from general to specific and from familiar to new.
  4. Apply conventional patterns of organization.
  5. Group related material.
  6. Use parallel structure for parallel sections (chapters, paragraphs).

A problem with any general list of guidelines such as this is how to apply them.  I’m willing to bet you could take the worse piece of engineer or programmer written document and the author would say it conforms to these guidelines.  For that matter, taking number 2 or number 5, how would you as an editor (or writer) actually apply that guideline?  One way to address the problem  is to consider the lack of concreteness in the directive, rather than an overly general but true statement (What does 'group related material' mean in any specific context when multiple audiences are involved?). How would you handle editing a document that does follow the letter of the organizational guidelines but is essentially unreadable.

Comments

From TTU editing class by Dr. Fred Kemp

Visual Literacy

This chapter brings up yet another theoretical view of the role of technical editor and that of documents, ALL documents, in particular. We tend to think of serious communication as principally verbal, since McLuhan's and Ong's assumption has been that speaking is primary to writing (Derrida dissenting), and speaking is essentially verbal (although anyone who misunderstands sign language in a cowboy movie can find himself or herself staked out on an anthill). Whether the ancient cave paintings were aesthetic or a form of technical communication in that day and time, we can't be sure.

But more and more we are becoming conscious of "visual literacy" or the ability to "read" all elements of a document, not just its verbal elements. A dotted line can have vast implications (especially if you forgot to sign on it), and misplaced apostrophes and commas can distort or waylay meaning entirely.

But the matter is not limited to being a function of distorted or mishandled information; here, once again, I would like to suggest a theoretical extension of this very good chapter that Dr. Rude wrote.

Meaning is not simply represented by our constructing of these documents, but it is also made. The collusion of the writer and reader through the document (not just the text) can generate new meanings for both, especially if there is any process (face-to-face, printed, or digital) for subsequent interaction. The document says something in its words, how its words are laid out, its pictures, its proximity configurations, its white space, its table configurations, its data, and the overall way it blocks its presented meaning. That something does more than simply move meaning from one head to another: it characterizes the writer's meaning to be affected (even altered) by the reader's overall context.

The meaning that arises from both the writer and reader in the act of reading constructs something new.

The technical editor has to be aware that she or he is not simply cleaning up something, revealing the platonic truths and dispositions that lie beneath bad grammar and poorly placed visual elements, but is participating in a meaning-making act. Shifting a font size from eight point to twelve point in a table is itself knowledge construction, for the reader is now encountering a different document and managing it in his or her contexts in a different (maybe slightly, maybe significantly) way.

Dr. Rude tends to think in terms of accuracy, that technical editers are surgeons who cut out the tumors of bad spelling and mismanaged facts and restore the body (document) to an ideal state. But actually, technical editors are co-meaning-makers, understanding far better than the writers themselves NOT what the content is supposed to say but how the content will interact with the reader in something new.

Think of it this way. The failures that led to the Challenger disastor were well documented before and after the crash. There were plenty of people who reported the problems and a potential catastrophe surrounding the makeup of the O-rings in cold weather. But the information was not presented in a way that generated action. Meaning was not made that averted the tragedy, even though the information was clearly available and accepted by a number of key people.

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This chapter brings up yet another theoretical view of the role of technical editor and that of documents, ALL documents, in particular. We tend to think of serious communication as principally verbal, since McLuhan's and Ong's assumption has been that speaking is primary to writing (Derrida dissenting), and speaking is essentially verbal (although anyone who misunderstands sign language in a cowboy movie can find himself or herself staked out on an anthill). Whether the ancient cave paintings were aesthetic or a form of technical communication in that day and time, we can't be sure.

But more and more we are becoming conscious of "visual literacy" or the ability to "read" all elements of a document, not just its verbal elements. A dotted line can have vast implications (especially if you forgot to sign on it), and misplaced apostrophes and commas can distort or waylay meaning entirely.

But the matter is not limited to being a function of distorted or mishandled information; here, once again, I would like to suggest a theoretical extension of this very good chapter that Dr. Rude wrote.

Meaning is not simply represented by our constructing of these documents, but it is also made. The collusion of the writer and reader through the document (not just the text) can generate new meanings for both, especially if there is any process (face-to-face, printed, or digital) for subsequent interaction. The document says something in its words, how its words are laid out, its pictures, its proximity configurations, its white space, its table configurations, its data, and the overall way it blocks its presented meaning. That something does more than simply move meaning from one head to another: it characterizes the writer's meaning to be affected (even altered) by the reader's overall context.

The meaning that arises from both the writer and reader in the act of reading constructs something new.

The technical editor has to be aware that she or he is not simply cleaning up something, revealing the platonic truths and dispositions that lie beneath bad grammar and poorly placed visual elements, but is participating in a meaning-making act. Shifting a font size from eight point to twelve point in a table is itself knowledge construction, for the reader is now encountering a different document and managing it in his or her contexts in a different (maybe slightly, maybe significantly) way.

Dr. Rude tends to think in terms of accuracy, that technical editers are surgeons who cut out the tumors of bad spelling and mismanaged facts and restore the body (document) to an ideal state. But actually, technical editors are co-meaning-makers, understanding far better than the writers themselves NOT what the content is supposed to say but how the content will interact with the reader in something new.

Think of it this way. The failures that led to the Challenger disastor were well documented before and after the crash. There were plenty of people who reported the problems and a potential catastrophe surrounding the makeup of the O-rings in cold weather. But the information was not presented in a way that generated action. Meaning was not made that averted the tragedy, even though the information was clearly available and accepted by a number of key people.