Author Topic: Editing someone else's document/Your writing stinks  (Read 4485 times)

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KrisLee

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Re: Editing someone else's document/Your writing stinks
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2012, 01:56:56 PM »
I'm also the person at my office who "gets" to proof read things. I've found that sometimes just using the word syntax - like Slartibartfast said - is enough to let people know that you know what you are doing?

BeagleMommy

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Re: Editing someone else's document/Your writing stinks
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2012, 11:35:05 AM »
I'm usually the one who is asked to proofread.  It was one of the first jobs I had with the government because I was highly skilled in grammar.  Often, my bosses just ask me to write letters myself.  They will give me the basic information and let me write whatever I think is appropriate.

I like Slartibartfast's approach.  It tells what you are capable of doing without sounding condescending.

Lexophile

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Re: Editing someone else's document/Your writing stinks
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2012, 06:28:44 PM »
I am a professional technical editor. I've been doing it for almost 16 years and I still need to be very careful about how I introduce my skills to a new client.

The best way I have found to do this is to ask for forgiveness, not permission. The next time they give you something to proof, bleed all over it. And yes, do it in track changes. Show them all the improvements you can make and then quietly tell them when you give it back, "These are only my suggestions. Please feel free to review what I've done and accept/reject at will. I hope you find this helpful."

I find more often than not that authors inexperienced with working with an editor have no ever-loving clue how much you can help. You approach it as a "look how much better this can be" not as a "look how much better I am at this than you."

Once they realize that you can take the odious task of writing completely off their plates, they will get excited for two reasons:

1) I've found that tech people usually loathe writing. If they don't have to worry about the writing part, they can focus on the part they like to do.

2) It's usually far more acceptable for a trusted employee to see glaring, embarrassing errors than it is for a potential client to see them. By helping them avoid the embarrassment, you are pulling double duty by adding value and avoiding professional blunders.

Good luck with this!
"Submission to what people call their 'lot' is simply ignoble. If your lot makes you cry and be wretched, get rid of it and take another." - Elizabeth von Arnim