Efficient editing: Strategies and tactics

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for experienced copy-editors who already know how to edit, but would like to streamline their methods, save time and take firmer control of their work.

Course description

To edit efficiently you need strategies and tactics for using existing skills to maximum benefit. This workshop assumes competence and experience in copy-editing, and concentrates on planning and carrying out editorial tasks. Its focus is books, but the ideas are transferable to editing any and every kind of material.

The starting point of the course is the assumption that time and money are always limited.  Copy-editors are increasingly required to determine for themselves how to produce the best possible publication in the time available.

The course aims to help editors to:

  • reflect on their working methods and determine how to improve them
  • use their experience and expertise to take control of their work
  • prepare, plan and carry out their work to an appropriate standard
  • adapt their approach flexibly to the demands of each job
  • use Word to streamline their editing
  • systematize and improve their record-keeping

What you should know after the course

You should understand:

  • how to analyse and record the editorial work to be done on a script
  • how to plan the edit and tackle it methodically
  • how to prioritize the demands of a text and compromise with 'perfection'
  • how to use Word to improve the mechanics of your editing
  • how to keep work records that will support good editing and feed into future work

Availability, prices and upgrade points

  Workshop Online
Price (members)   n/a
Price (non-members)   n/a
SfEP upgrade points 3 n/a
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Other price discounts are available. See the fees page.

All workshops take place over 1 day.


Workshop syllabus

Length of course: 1 day SfEP upgrade points: 3

The precise syllabus and timings may vary slightly on the day.

Syllabus and approximate timings
9.30 Introduction to the course
10.00 Starting points
We reflect on our attitudes and approach to copy-editing, and highlight areas of concern.
10.30 Time, money and job satisfaction
A summary of the efficient approach to the realities of modern publishing pursues ideas from the opening discussion, and lays the ground for the practical work of the day.
10.45 Break
11.00 Analysis
There are two ways of tackling an edit: begin at the beginning and go on to the end; or analyse the script, plan the task and then work to the plan. This session offers a step-by-step method for diagnosing and prioritizing the editorial needs of text.
12.15 Work planning
Hofstadter's Law: 'It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law.' We look at estimating, time management and generic editing, and consider the importance of work records as a tool for planning.
1.00 Lunch
1.45 Work planning (continued)
2.15 Processing
Editing in Word offers quick ways of cleaning up the script and streamlines the display of edits and queries to the author. We share ideas about routines for maintaining and naming files, preparing the text, searching across files, using Track Changes and creating documentation.
3.00 Break
3.15 Editorial scenario
Scripts made up of contributions from many authors present peculiar difficulties. We apply the ideas introduced earlier in the workshop to a complex text and see how they can be adapted to different circumstances.
4.30 Round-up
The workshop ends with a review of the main learning points of the day and the opportunity to give feedback.

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Online course structure

This course is not available online.

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