Editing and Reviewing

March 26, 2011

Even if seven editors and seven reviewers, marked it up for half a year, I doubt they’d be able to completely clean up the mess I post to this blog every day (and they’d be full of bitter tears). However, in case they were willing to try, I thought it would be useful to be clear about what I mean by editing and reviewing.

Editing is catching all the grammatical errors, loose spelling, punctuation and so on that the author is liable to miss. Usually it is because he or she is reading what they thought they wrote, not what they actually typed. It might also involve checking citations to make sure they are right. In this case, it does not involve extensive fact checking, though at a real newspaper it would. Partly that’s because facts can be so malleable, but mostly it’s because I believe that making sure the facts are right are the responsibility of the author.

Reviewing is a lot harder, largely because, since it primarily deals with style, it is extremely subjective. I will admit that an awful lot of people are likely to consider my writing boring and atrocious, but I will often disagree. Good review is a process of negotiation. The reviewer tells the author what they like, and why, and what they don’t like, and why. Then, instead of yelling, the author carefully considers the comments and adjusts their piece accordingly. The reviewer then looks it over again and gives the same type of feedback as before. Ultimately, what’s published remains the responsibility of the author; they make the final choice about which comments to accommodate and which to ignore, but good reviewers are invaluable if used well.

So, if you see a tag at the bottom of a post saying “Reviewed by So and So”, or “Edited by So and So”, or even, “Reviewed and edited by So and So”, please spare them a moment’s thought because they’re not an easy or trivial jobs. This is especially true for a blog where the author sets themself the task of posting something every day, and finds it hard to stop writing once they’ve started. Even when they know they should. Like now.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Editing and Reviewing, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Advice for aspiring writers

March 1, 2011

Oliver Miller responds (warning: harsh language) to advice given by writers in the Guardian on how to be a writer.

The key thing he mentions, to which all his other advice builds, is the need for good, constructive peer review.

So you need to surround yourself with fellow writers who are supportive but also honest. Some people will tell you that your writing is always good. These people are lying. And some people will tell you that your writing is always bad. These people are also lying. …But a few rare people will point out the stuff that they like, call you out on some of the dumb [stuff] that you’re writing, and gently but forcefully suggest ways to make your dumb [stuff] better [my italics]. Treasure these people. Learn to recognize them. These people are your only hope.

— Miller (2011): How to be a Writer

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2011. Advice for aspiring writers, Retrieved September 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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