Write It Right

Write It RightHow many times have you written an email only to find an error as soon as you hit Send? When writing an email to a friend or family, most of us rarely do a second read to check our work because we take a relaxed approach with such emails. An article to a magazine, a book chapter, or a short story, however, requires formal editing.
“But isn’t that the editor’s job?”
The authors say, “Yes and no.” They explain the editor’s purpose is to polish the work and not rewrite your work. The writer looks good in the editor’s eyes when turning in an “almost finished product.” Not only do you make the editor’s work easier when rechecking your product, but also it earns you a better reputation.
Writers aren’t the only ones who benefit from Write It Right. The College Board’s National Commission on Writing conducted a study that concluded a third of employees in America’s blue-chip companies wrote poorly and businesses were spending up to $3.1 billion per year on remedial training (2004). Newspapers like the New York Times published the statistics from the report to show the gravity of the situation in the U.S.
The five chapters in the book make up the five steps for self-editing. Each chapter ends with “Questions for Self-Reflection” to help readers determine what areas need working on, so they focus on those while self-editing. The first chapter ends with a grammar quiz, which is the book’s paradox. It has two errors. One question misses a word that appears in the answer and another has a typo.
While following the five step process feels lengthy, the authors include advice on what to do when in a hurry. Writers can judge how much to review their work and adjust the process as needed.
The basic advice consists mostly of common sense, the things we learned in school or through experience. However, the book shows how to find your weak areas and work with them. The authors do an impressive job covering all the bases in this small book by tackling the editing process, giving a handful of grammar tips, and providing checklists. It takes less than an hour to read straight through without completing the suggested activities.
This little guide has a good chance of coming in handy rather than sitting on a bookshelf never to see the light of day. The easy-to-scan format, checklist templates, short list of rules, and examples increase the probability of the reader using it.
The National Commission on Writing (2004) Writing: A Ticket to Work… Or a Ticket Out [Internet] New York, College Board. Available from: <http://www.writingcommission.org/prod_downloads/writingcom/writing-ticket-to-work.pdf> Accessed 14 June 2005
Title: Write It Right
Author: Dawn Josephson and Laura Hidden
Publisher: Cameo Publications
ISBN: 0974496626
Date: September 2005
Format: Paperback
Pages: 144
Cover Price: USD: $17.95 Amazon: $12.21

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