Archive for the ‘Writing for the web’ Category

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Toast to my new client – Powder Peak Blogging.

I am so excited to welcome a new client – Powder Peak Blogging, LLC from Anchorage, Alaska –  a welcome addition to my blogging and social media service.

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I’ve been in a discussion on Linked-In about whether someone can be taught to have a fine eye for detail. My conclusion is, if you want to learn how to be a great writer and copyeditor, there are tips. The nuances of writing come from choosing correct words, many ordinary words are interchangeable, but have slightly different meanings

  • can
  • could
  • may
  • should

More to come …

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Someone started a discussion on LinkedIn about whether or not a person can be taught to have an eye for detail. I think the answer is no. You either have this talent or not. But someone with the eye for detail can be taught what to look for – I’ve been giving this subject a lot of thought.

A little about me: I got trained on the job in my 20s when I was a legal secretary. 100% accuracy was expected of us – and the first lawyer I worked for had to tell me a lot of the particulars (I was stunned to find out that punctuation was supposed to be inside quotation marks and that there was no “e” in judgment). The first style guide I ever used was The Blue Book of Style – before I ever heard of Chicago or any of the other style guides we use today.

In 2010, I was awarded the University of California, San Diego Certificate in Copyediting. I sailed through the program because I had learned almost everything they taught in 20 years of working for lawyers. By then, I was in the QA department of a web development company.  And it blew my mind that my ONLY job was copyediting. My boss sent me to school so I could wrap my mind around copyediting being a job in and of itself.

My list of what copyeditors do. First – spellcheck with grammer and style turned on. Then look for :

  • parallelism
  • transitions
  • unifying themes
  • incomplete thoughts
  • subject/verb agreement
  • subject/pronoun agreement
  • superfluous adjectives
  • redundancy
  • neutral gender
  • voice

Teach new copyeditors concepts about words – such as the absurdity of saying something is “very unique” – and if they have it in them, they will be thrilled. I quickly realized that almost every use of the word “very” detracted from the professionalism of our courseware. The one use I retained was to point out when something was “very redundant.” Of course, the joke was lost on those who didn’t have the eye.

Watch for the correct article before acronyms. Copyeditors need to know how acronyms are pronounced – watch for consistent formatting of headings. If one has a period, they all need to have them.

Check the style guide for the rules. Vague references to time, which can go unnoticed so easily, can become a problem and detract from the professionalism of an article. If the writer wrote “Last October,” the copyeditor may want to change that to October 2012. Remember, the article might be on the Internet for a long time. Keep it relevant.

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First of all, I have common sense and am a natural-born problem solver. Here is a sample of what others say about me:
A quick introduction to Joy—an extremely talented writer and amazingly focused proof reader. She will find the hidden errors in anything!

I am passionate about writing and words, especially providing clear, concise, optimized web content that is grammatically correct and easy to read. Consistency is my middle name – I pay very close attention to the finest details.

My experience comes from three separate careers.

For the past eight years, I was part of a team that developed e-learning courseware for the IRS, the U.S. Navy, University of California San Diego, and other clients. I have extensive experience with editing and wordsmithing:

  • e-learning
  • Print products (tutorials, proposals, marketing materials)
  • PowerPoint Presentations

At Heartbeat Family Partnership, I coordinated the Family Support Partner training program. My role included:

  • Developing a website, marketing materials, training materials, and handouts
  • Recruiting participants
  • Securing a facility/liaison
  • Strengthening the curriculum
  • Group supervision

As a legal secretary, I:

  • Interacted with people from all walks of life
  • Developed administrative and organizational skills including complex calendaring, planning events, organizing voluminous files, and advanced word processing
  • Learned about the law – personal injury, real estate, corporate, and bankruptcy
  • Learned about documentation and how to write
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