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The 4 Cs of Editing Your Work

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By Barbara Gastel | June 7, 2009  | None

Greetings again from Texas, where the crape myrtle trees are blooming this time of year. Crape myrtles grow well in the area where I live. I enjoy seeing their clouds of pink, red, white, or purple flowers.

Meanwhile, summer school is under way. This summer, I’m giving small groups of  students 2 courses: one in science editing and one in teaching science journalism. I hope the students find these courses useful.

In the science editing course, topics last week included the 4 Cs of editing. These 4 Cs are items that editors of manuscripts check and try to improve. Here they are, presented as questions:

  • clarity: Would everything in the manuscript be clear to the intended readers? If not, what changes would make the material clearer?
  • correctness: Do all the facts in the manuscript seem correct? Are the grammar, spelling, punctuation, and word usage correct?
  • conciseness: Are things said concisely (briefly)? (Writing concisely saves readers time, and it saves space.)
  • consistency: Is the content consistent from one part of the writing to another? (Or, for example, do the numbers in the Abstract differ from those in the Results section?) Are the style and format of the writing the same throughout?

If an editor or AuthorAID mentor reviews some of your writing, some of the suggestions probably will regard the 4 Cs. And when you revise your own work, I recommend checking the 4 Cs yourself.

Wishing you a good week—

Barbara

 

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