Owen Salter is the founder of Barnabas Editorial Services and Training, and a freelance editor and writer with over 35 years of experience. He has conducted editor and writer training for MAI since 2005 and is an MAI-Asia trustee.
Arthur Plotnik, a well-known American author and editor, once said to writers, “You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you, and we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.”
The three main kinds of editing: 1.Developmental editing: developing the manuscript. 2. Substantive editing: dealing with big picture issues, such as the organizational structure and relevancy of content. 3.Copy editing: checking the fine details of the copy, line by line.
Learn the five keys of successful copy editing: 1.Polish the text. Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes, sentence and paragraph structure. 2. Ensure consistency and accuracy. Apply the publisher’s house style- Scripture references, how to dates are written, etc. Make sure the internal details match, such as the chapter titles match the titles listed on the contents page. 3. Organize the presentation. Check headings, sub-headings, call-out boxes, captions, contents pages, and more. 4. Attend to technical matters. Style or format appropriately. Prepare a list of spelling and other style issues for a proofreader. 5. Handle administrative matters. Find ISBN numbers, deal with copyright issues, permissions and any questions. Communicate with a senior editor regarding any problems such as plagiarism or legal issues.
A copy editor is a servant to make sure the manuscript is the best it can possibly be.
“Joy, girl, people don’t take time to write letters anymore. Snail mail is no longer in fashion!” My friend Marsha was lamenting once again the loss of yet another tradition. Although she is many years younger than me, like me, she has a heart for writing and mourns the death of proper grammatical structures. Her words led me to refocus on the written word and how it impacts our lives.
I remembered the first love letter I had ever received. It read in part, “The race to my heart is over and among the few contestants, you are the winner.” It was a well-penned letter and my teenage heart had felt an extra thrill when I read that sentence. The young man who had written it was also a teenager. Neither of us were Christians and at the time I sincerely believed all that he had written. I smiled as I reminisced and wondered how much thought he had put into the writing process. Time proved that the vital element of truth was missing. The letter no longer exists and its writer was not the man who became my husband.
I thought of another well-penned sentence from one who also wrote of His love for me. His words were written centuries before my conception, but the truth in them remain irrefutable. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
These are well-written words I also believed, and my life was transformed because of my belief. In this “traditional” piece of writing, I find a template for my own writing. Questions I ask myself are: Am I representing truth in my writing? Will my words withstand the test of time? Will my readers be positively impacted by what I write? How well am I representing the One who truly loves me? I am always amazed and sometimes amused by the way God communicates with us. I will be fascinated forever by His love for me.
Lord, continue to guide me as I represent you, not only in my writing, but in all that I do in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Do you want to be instrumental in changing a generation? Consider writing for youth. Pastor Ronald Molmisa of the Philippines authored the bestselling Lovestruckseries by OMF Literature. His books about love, courtship and marriage influence teenagers and adolescents in particular.
Consider these three W’s to be effective in writing for a younger generation:
1.Wit. Fun is the universal language of teens. In everything, include funny or relateable concepts. We must speak their langauge.
2. Wisdom. We need to be consistent with our message, that of the Gospel. This generation wants something to help them cope with the challenges of the times, coming from the Bible.
3. Weight. We must have substance–facts, statistics and information so people understand that you’re not being subjective about an issue. Read a variety of opinions of researchers so you can establish your message.