The value of good editing

A few weeks ago, a local organization posted a link to a new blog on their website about luxury offerings in Revelstoke. Even though I’m not the target market, I decided to give it a read. As I did, I encountered numerous mistakes, from inconsistent style to misspelled business names to poor grammar. I contacted the organization and offered to edit it. Here’s one sample paragraph:

Just across the ferry on Highway 23S, Great Northern Snowcats also offer either day cat skiing (offered through Revelstoke Mountain Resort) and multi-day trips at their lodge. The operation sits in the Bad Shot range of the Selkirk Mountains, famous for the amount of snow it accumulates- which is music to the ears of any skier of boarder.

And here’s my version, with the corrections in bold:

Just across the ferry, near the village of Trout Lake¹Great Northern Snowcat Skiing² offers³ day cat skiing (through4 Revelstoke Mountain Resort) and multi-day trips out of5 their lodge. The operation sits in the Badshot6 Range of the Selkirk Mountains, famous for the amount of snow it accumulates – music7 to the ears of any skier or snowboarder.

The original paragraph isn’t terrible by any means, and many people would read it without blinking an eye. However, I noticed some immediate errors and a bit of awkwardness. Eager for a work, I contacted the head of the organization with an offer to edit their blogs. In it, I included a complete edit of the blog in question. I aspired to maintain the writing style of the author, while making a few changes.

Here they are:

  1. I changed ‘Highway 23S’ to ‘Trout Lake’ for two reasons. First, because ‘Highway 23S’ is both a vague and inaccurate location; Great Northern Snowcast Skiing is just off Highway 31. Second, because Trout Lake is a more evocative name. Rather than implying it’s just off the highway, it evokes somewhere more remote and exotic.
  2. ‘Great Northern Snowcats’ is actually called ‘Great Northern Snowcat Skiing.’
  3. The word ‘also’ is redundant. As well, Great Northern is singular, so ‘offer’ should be ‘offers.’
  4. I took out ‘offered’ in the brackets because it’s repetitive. Having the same word twice in a sentence is a no-no. Unless you’re writing ‘no-no.’
  5. ‘Out of’ instead of ‘at,’ because it’s a little clearer. I could have also used ‘from.’
  6. ‘Badshot’ is one word, not two.
  7. I switched the hyphen to a en-dash and removed ‘which is.’ Alternatively, the hyphen could be replaced by a comma.

These changes are minimal, but they clean up the language and fix mistakes, while maintaining the style of the author. The latter is important to me, because while I could re-write everything to my liking, I do believe in keeping the creator’s voice when editing. My main goal is to ensure your work is mistake free and reads well.

This is a fairly basic example, but it should give you an idea of how I can help if you ever want a professional set of eyes to look over your work. I’ll look at more substantial copy-editing in a future blog post.