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Revision & Editing: Strategies for Making Copy Better

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This is a presentation I made outlining revision and editing strategies based on the 6 Traits and other approaches. The workshop was part of the National High School Journalism Conference on 10 November 2016 in Indianapolis. Co-presented with Steve Peha. For more writing tips, download the companion packet at http://bit.ly/TWFReviseEdit, or buy Be a Better Writer (co-written by Steve and me) at www.babw.me.

Published in: Education
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Revision & Editing: Strategies for Making Copy Better

  1. 1. 5&Big&Questions&&&Lots&of&Answers Revising'&'Editing cc:'Suncatcher'Craft'Eyes'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/72663629@N00 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  2. 2. Session'Overview • Slug:&Better&writing&with&better& revision& • Story:&We&all&want&to&be&better&writers& • News:&What&we&really&need&to&be&is& better&revisers& • So?:&5&questions&and&few&easyPtoPlearn& revisions&significantly&improve&your& writing
  3. 3. Look&at&it&again&and&make&it&better. Revision' cc:'Suncatcher'Craft'Eyes'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/72663629@N00 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  4. 4. We'Need'Revision • We&all&overPwrite& • Our&ideas&can&be&clearer&and&details& stronger& • We&can&tune&our&voice& • Our&logic&can&be&stronger&& • We&can&use&better&words,&fix&errors& • Too&often,&feedback&isn’t&actionable cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  5. 5. • To&revise&our&own&work&and&help& others&revise&theirs&& • To&provide&*actionable*&feedback& that&everyone&understands&and&uses&& • To&help&us&become&better&writers& and&editors. cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com We'Need'a'Process
  6. 6. The'5'Big'Questions 1. What&makes&this&writing&good?& 2. What&would&make&it&better?& 3. What’s&the&one&most&important& thing&the&writer&wants&the&reader&to& know?& 4. Why&did&the&writer&write&this?& 5. What&else&does&the&reader&need&to& know?&& cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  7. 7. The'5'Big'Questions • Ask&and&(try&to)&answer&these&about& your&own&writing,&and&when& reviewing&someone&else’s&& • Use&them&to&identify&how&to&spend& revision&energy& • Make&them&a&shared&part&of&your& newsroom&work&flow.&& cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  8. 8. The'5'Big'Questions The&answers&to&these&questions&—& those&actionable&revisions&—&fall&into& two&categories:& 1.&&Big&Revisions& 2.&&Small&Revisions cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  9. 9. Big'Revisions • Fix&conceptual&elements&that& have&a&huge&impact&on&your& content& • Must&be&done&first cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  10. 10. Big'Revisions • Voice:&Does&it&sound&appropriate&for&the& audience&and&topic?& • Main&Idea/Angle:&Can&you&easily&identify& the&angle&or&most&important&takePaway?& • Key&Details:&Is&there&sufficient&supporting& information&of&different&types? cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  11. 11. Big'Revisions • Lede&&&Nut&Graf:&Is&the&top&of&your&story& enticing,&engaging&and&relevant?& • Organization:&Are&the&ideas&in&the&right& order&to&lead&to&a&logical&conclusion?& • Ending:&Do&you&end&with&a&clear&sense&of& what's&important&and&why&to&care? cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  12. 12. How'to'Revise'Voice • Tightly&define&your&reader&and& a&few&characteristics&of&the& kind&of&person&they&trust.&& • Write&in&a&tone&that&reflects& characteristics cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  13. 13. Small'Revisions • Are&more&technical&changes&that& improve&readability,&style&and& engagement& • Should&be&made&after&big& revisions cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  14. 14. Small'Revisions • Concision&&&Clarity:&Is&the&writing&free&of& unnecessary&words&and&phrases?&Are&the& concepts&clear?& • Word&Choice:&Are&verbs&precise&and& words&appropriate&for&audience&&&topic?& • Sentence&Fluency:&Does&copy&flow&with& different&sentence&structures&&&lengths? cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  15. 15. Small'Revisions • Heds&&&Subs:&Do&you&have&enough&to& break&up&content,&assist&organization&and& support&skimming&and&scanning?&& • Word&Count:&Do&you&need&to&add&or&cut& to&reach&length&requirements?& • Formatting:&Does&the&format&make&the& content&easy&to&consume? cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  16. 16. How'to'Revise'Sentences • Delete&unnecessary&&& introductory&phrases& • Strike&qualifiers&&&superfluous& modifiers& • Combine&or&divide&sentences&to& vary&fluency,improve&clarity cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  17. 17. How'to'Revise'Verbs • Replace&weak&verbs&with&those& that&convey&action&*and*&how& it's&performed&to&increase& clarity&and&concision& • Example:&"dashed"&replaces& "walked&quickly" cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  18. 18. Fix&formatting&and&SPUG&errors. Edits cc:'Suncatcher'Craft'Eyes'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/72663629@N00 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  19. 19. Edits • Focus&expressly&on&mechanics& like&spelling,&punctuation,&usage& and&grammar&(SPUG)& • Only&done&after&revisions&are& complete cc:'gastongaiduk'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/105553134@N05 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  20. 20. The'Process 1. Draft&fast& 2. Make&Big&Revisions&on&your&own&work& 3. Check&them&off&with&your&editor& 4. Do&Small&Revisions&on&your&own&work& 5. Check&them&off&with&a&colleague&or&copy& editor& 6. Edit&your&own&work& 7. Hand&off&to&a&copy&editor cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  21. 21. Pressed'for'time? 1. Cut&15P20%&of&the&words&&& phrases.& 2. Read&aloud&to&find&typos&and& SPUG&errors& *This&has&more&impact&than&you&think.* cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  22. 22. cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 Questions?' Observations? © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  23. 23. PresentaCon&slides&available&at&& h3p://www.slideshare.net/Margot_Lester' InformaCon&on&the&strategies&available&at:& h3p://bit.ly/TWFReviseEdit
  24. 24. cc:'shaire'productions'F'https://www.flickr.com/photos/9822107@N08 Thank'you! © 2016 by Teaching That Makes Sense, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information contact Margot Lester at margot@thewordfactory.com
  25. 25. CONNECT WITH US 27 margot@thewordfactory.com stevepeha@gmail.com thewordfactory.com | ttms.org |babw.me @word_factory | @stevepeha /margotlester | /stevepeha

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