For this assignment my husband had me edit a paper he wrote for one of his classes. The paper was a case study analyzing his strengths and weaknesses as a video game developer (he's working on his Master's Degree in Video Game production at the U). I have spent a good deal of the last 4 years editing his papers, so I feel like I know what questions to ask, and what changes to anticipate.
Some of the things that I do when I edit is to focus on grammar and punctuation, and note any glaring problems that I notice on my first read. I realize that this is very backwards from the way most people edit, but it allows me to get the easy things out of the way, then I can go back and really get into the meat of the text and focus on consistency and clarity.
One suggestion from the reading that I did try and focus on this time was asking questions rather than making statements. Usually I will comment with, “this doesn’t make sense.” This time I made a point of asking things like, “are these jargon words going to be clear to your reader?” My husband tends to use a lot of industry jargon like “white box” and “kits” in reference to a prototype and art packages respectively. I wasn’t sure if his professor would know what he meant, since the course isn’t exactly a game development course. Turns out, the professor has worked in the video game industry and knows all the “code,” so-to-speak, so he clarified that with me and we moved on with the paper. It helped that he was on the other side of the room rather than states away, though.
I like to draw on my past experiences as an editor as I move forward editing, too. I used to work with the Air National Guard as a journalist, and was told on a number of occasions that I was one of the best editors in the office. I’m not sure why that was the case, I stuck to what I knew and understood, but I also tried to work with my colleagues to find a better solution when I came across a sentence or paragraph that I wasn’t particularly fond of, which happened more often than not.
I don’t feel that I have a lot of diverse editing experience, which I hope to eventually get in the future. My experience is limited to academic and journalistic writing, and I hope that on day I will be able to broaden that experience into fiction because it seems like more of a challenge that I am ready to explore.