You need to ask questions to your writer. In one instance I was unaware of what he meant in one of his sentences. I needed to clarify so that I could edit it correctly. Without clarifying I could have rewritten the sentence to mean something completely different than the writer originally intended. Without a firm grasp of what the author is trying to convey you cannot correctly help them to edit.
“Remember, the four most important words in editing: It’s not Your Story.” This is a very important statement. This came into play when editing this paper. It basically comes down to the fact that when you edit, unless you are in a professional setting, you cannot force a writer to change anything. It is still their story and they have the final say if they take your edits into consideration and use them, or not. I know that my brother used a majority of my suggestions; however, some he did not and that is fine. It is his paper and his decision.
To help a writer edit a story you must remember at least these four rules: be specific, ask questions, give constructive feedback, bend the rules and remember who wrote the story. These rules help to teach you to work with writers. They truly help with dealing with the ego of another person in the writing and editing process.
I found this gem on my Facebook feed this week. I would rewrite this as:
Toilet only for those who are:
Disabled, elderly, pregnant or children.
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