Editing

Editing services

Copyediting and line editing

In my experience, almost all copyediting involves simultaneous line editing. With the few exceptions that I outline at the end of this section, line editing plus copyediting is probably what you want from a “copyeditor.”

Line editing, or stylistic editing, focuses on content and considers things like

  • paragraph structure (e.g., increasing readability and flow)
  • sentence structure (e.g., eliminating passive voice or convoluted structure)
  • word usage (e.g., connotative issues, repetition)
  • redundant and contradictory statements
  • stylistic choices (e.g., audience considerations, identifying clichés)

Copyediting focuses on mechanics and considers things like

  • style consistency
  • grammar and spelling
  • punctuation choice and placement
  • citation formatting
  • some fact checking

Standalone copyediting is a good option if another editor has already reviewed your text or you need your text (and citations) to conform to a specific style before submission. This includes a journal's in-house style sheet or a university's chosen style guide, such as Chicago, MLA, and Harvard.


Proofreading

Proofreading is the process of correcting any errors on the proof—that is, the publication laid out to go to the printers, often created using InDesign or another design program. In this era of the computer, many proofs come by PDF and are marked up and edited electronically (although hardcopy is also always an option). Ideally, as little change as possible happens to the text itself at this point.

Proofreading involves checking and correcting

  • margins and line spacing
  • hyphenation across line breaks
  • page numbering
  • cross-references (e.g., footnotes and tables of content)
  • font sizes and weights
  • image captions
  • any final style or spelling errors

Style, spelling(s), and subject matter

My go-to style guide is The Chicago Manual of Style, and I switch regularly between Canadian, British, and American English. (Since Canadian English—stuck halfway between British English and American English—is my home and native tongue, that's what you’ll find in these pages.)

In addition to art writing, I have edited essays in subjects ranging from English, sociology, and law to geology, radiology, and nursing, as well as experimental and fiction manuscripts.

As luck would have it, the principles of writing aren’t subject dependent—although writing style and voice certainly can be. The only thing I might need from you if you are, say, a physics major, is a list of discipline-specific terms, along with an idea of the desired tone.


Second-language writers and translations

The publications, conferences, and exhibitions of the contemporary art world bring together artists, critics, and academics who are from a variety of countries and who speak a variety of languages. And universities, of course, host students from all over the world. This means a lot of writing in English publications or at English-speaking universities either is by second-language writers or undergoes translation.

Much of my work involves editing writing by second-language speakers and writers, and I believe it’s important to avoid eliminating any traces of non-native English; rather, my goal is to ensure correctness, readability, and comprehensibility while firmly retaining the writer’s voice.

For translations or writing by second-language English speakers, this means correcting things like grammar errors (such as dropped articles or overly complicated sentence structure) while retaining unique characteristics (such as more formal language or idiosyncratic turns of phrase).