First Editors’ Circle


slash and burn

The first meeting of Write to the Point’s Editors’ Circle took place this week. Our ‘homework’ was to edit the introduction of (what I call) a ‘slash and burn’ paper. Guidelines included not to worry about the author’s voice and not to be shy about rewriting/cutting. For me, the most interesting aspect that arose from the discussion was how different our editing methods are.

Some print out and read through the document before getting the red pen out, while others work only onscreen. Others jump right in there and start ‘cutting and slashing’ from the start.

Yet, whatever our style, we had all identified the same key point(s) of each paragraph in the sample document – which was very reassuring for all concerned!

There was a lot of talk about the challenge of striking a balance between the author’s voice and the reader’s understanding, and we all agreed that the content and readership will determine to a certain extent how much of the author’s voice is retained. Without a doubt, we will return to this debate in future meetings.


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