I love this soft watercolor that reveals my thoughts on editing…

I hope you always have smooth sailing working with your editor.



I know that we are dreaded like the plague

And good writers all have been known to beg

For leniency, or “for just this once”

“Let me please have my participles in a bunch…”

It’s not rocket science or even a hunch

There really are tried and true rules

That adhere to the ‘Elements of Style’ clues

The bible, so to speak, on traditional editing

There is a right way and a wrong way for betting

On your words, finding your way

To take your thoughts and what you say

And put it in verse for another day

Or lovely prose with descriptive highlights

To tickle someone’s fancy and take them to new heights

In appreciating a well-edited dialogue

So your momentous scene isn’t bogged

Down, dribbling with boring facts

Or inconsequential IT hacks

Who’d rather be staring at patterns in binary

Who cares about your words? So secondary

To your science, technical, and professional views

If you can’t spill the beans on the most recent news

In your industry and do it justice

Your words are just tracks of scuffs

Showing you’ve been there

But you just didn’t care

About the right ways to present

Your latest new plot or business event

When you need to get the word out

By better means than just a shout

Editors can make it delectable–

Extract the extraneous, enhance the essential

Let your words speak for themselves

Letting your editor proofread and clarify

With accuracy and consistency

What you need to in-print upon the masses

For all time, literate passes

Through the online super highway

To express your desires, put out the fires

On the subject matter that you share with your peers

Releasing your fears, making the syntax clear

Yeah, an editor can do all that…

–© 2016 by Deborah A Bowman.

books and journals

Editing from yesteryear…

Editor Edit Thyself!

I regret and apologize for the error in wording in the first poem from my Silence series, entitled “Pain”. It has been revised. I know I practically preach on this subject, but it only verifies my strong feelings that one can never truly edit and proofread one’s own writing.

In Humility, Deborah A. Bowman

Perfection in Editing

How to Polish Your Writing to Get Noticed…Accuracy, Clarity, Consistency

Perfection in Editing

I was watching an old Clarke Gable and Doris Day movie (who would have paired up those two?) entitled “Teacher’s Pet.” Gable was the crusty self-made newspaper editor, who ruled with an iron fist; Doris Day, the teacher who believed journalism should be taught at the college level to include editing and content development. Well, we sure know who won that war. “Sorry, Clarke.”

Early in the movie when asked the basic rule of newspaper copy, Gable’s character says, “Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy.”

I remember that adage, even though this movie was before my time in newspaper writing/prep and document editing. But the basics of Who, What, When, Where, and sometimes How haven’t changed, nor are these  rules restricted to journalism.

Whatever you are writing–fiction, nonfiction, business, promotional, a poem, a song, a letter, or even a journal entry–still needs to follow a planned sequence with a stated theme, subject, or genre; accurate, researched material to explain or verify the theme; and a logical, supported conclusion. It doesn’t matter the length or purpose of the piece: a book, an article, an essay, a short story, a paragraph, even a sentence. It used to be for newspaper articles, at least for the Army, you verified your facts and sources three times. This, too, has been dissolved by researching online with sometimes no credit for the facts and certainly not three verifications.

So why do I use Accuracy, Clarity, and Consistency? I’ve always used these criteria.

1. Accuracy is  easy to understand as the first basic rule, but maybe not as easy to achieve. Proofreading and copy editing (grammar, spelling, punctuation, and typos) is an art and a science. The eye and the mind must be trained to notice discrepancies, or you’ll read right over the errors, the mind assuming it knows what logically should come next, especially if you wrote it or input the data (what we used to call “typing”).

2. Clarity is clearness of thought, appropriateness of format, and sequential, logical organization. In a nutshell, “Does your writing make sense to you? To your readers–your audience? Does it make sense to other people besides your targeted audience?” These questions may have very different answers, which could present some problems or restrict the size of your audience.

3. Consistency is keeping your facts straight; your characters and their names/physical traits/habits/way of speaking straight; your story/event/scene or supporting material the same when mentioned in different areas of your media, but it’s more than that. Does it ring true? Is your fiction based in reality? Could it be realized? Is your dialogue realistic? Is your choice of words consistent with the tone and voice of the writer? Do you prove your point and support your conclusion?

Just some ideas I was thinking about today that I wanted to share. I hope it brings you accuracy, clarity, and consistency in your future writing.

Thank you, Clarke Gable and Doris Day for reminding me how things used to be and how they really haven’t changed. Accuracy, Accuracy, Accuracy still gets your message across and lets your writing be noticed … in a good way.

Deborah A. Bowman