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Ahead of our magazine production Andrew felt it was important to look at sub-editing one another’s work found (stretched) this out to 10 points, because as he pointed out ‘there’s ten points to everything good’.

1 – Don’t start at the beginning

When you write a feature introduction you want to write something that has lots of impact, that pulls them in to the story. It is not impossible to do that when starting at the start of the story, but you usually find a better idea to start the story with once you’ve written it. Once you’ve revealed the anecdote, they want to know more and will give you time to read through the rest of your story. Get them excited then start the start of the story.

There are a few tried and tested ways at starting a feature; Reveal an anecdote, state an unusual fact or say something shocking.

This applies to someone else’s article when you’re proofing. Subbing is not just checking for apostrophes, you have to read like a reader. If you need to re-write the intro you re-write the intro, if you want to re-write the whole thing do it.

2 – Don’t accept the first draft

It is a common failure of all writers to write something and its cast in stone. You have to approach everything you write as a draft, you have to write something then come back to it and re-read it, don’t accept the first version you wrote as the best version.

Instead of you doing it and getting credit for it, you end up getting a reputation of people thinking they have to re-write everything you hand in.

3 – Know as much as you can about your reader

There should be a difference in how you write depending on who you are writing for. If you’re writing for an enthusiastic car magazine, you’ll write differently than if it were meant to be for a teenage girl.

It can work to your advantage because you can talk to them in a more personal way. If your reader doesn’t know jargon you have to avoid it. Is your reader someone who is up with the news? The only way to weigh these things up is figuring out who your reader is. NRS, readership surveys, magazine polls.

4 – Have a conversation with a single reader

If you read features and stories they have a conversation with you, it makes you as a reader feel as if you know what’s going on and as if you’re part of the story.

5 – Keep it simple

It’s a great temptation to make things more complicated to use fancy words and write in a professional way, which very often gets interpreted as writing in a complicated way. Write about complicated issues, but write them in a simple way. There’s always a temptation to write and overdo it, sometimes people try to hard because fancy is better but less fancy is better because it allows the story to come through.

6 – Only connect

The reader only knows what you tell them, if you don’t make connections between one fact and another fact then they’ll get lost. Your reader doesn’t know the story you do, you have to guide them.

7 – Don’t rely on crutch phrases.

Things like ‘however’ ‘at this moment in time’ ‘now’ ‘really’ phrases that you use but have no use. The same point could be made should you not use them.

8 – Don’t leave participles dangling

The participle always refers to the object which immediately follows:

‘Having died’                        they                         buried him

Participle                        Object

‘Being lame’                         he                        did not ride the horse

Participle                        Object

You’ve got to pick up the ability to read the sentence you’ve just written.

9 – Keep subordinate clauses under control.

The sentence, which was full of subordinate clauses, was difficult to understand.

10 – Read and analyse good writing

Go away find yourself a feature that you think is good and see if they are subject to any of this.

Editor—-Contributor—-Sub-editor—-Designer

Plan—-Creates—-Copy-taste—-Layout

Comissions—-     —–(might go back —-(goes back to

                                  To contributor)            sub-editor)

Ultimately it will all go back to the editor for a proof check and they will pass the proof to press.

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