Substantive Editing: “A Cultural Home”

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The Project

“A Cultural Home” is a non-fiction piece written by Kirin Gosselin, which was selected as an article for the online version of PRM (formerly Pacific Rim Magazine). This magazine is produced from scratch both in its print and digital versions by the Digital and Print Publishing students at Langara College during the second and third semesters, as part of the training. 

As a member of the Editorial Department, I collaborated in the selection of articles. In this particular case, we decided to reduce the piece from 1500 words to 600, and develop only one aspect of the original story.

The Process

I worked with the author in reducing the article, deleting the parts that belonged to a secondary story, rearranging the resulting structure, and at first adding other related content that was later discarded. We clarified phrases and inconsistencies, looked for more precise words, and polished the style to adhere to the tone of the magazine.

First substantive edits to the article
First substantive edits to the article.

There was some negotiation and back and forth with the writer, since I try to make an author do the rewriting. I suggested the changes and explained my reasons for each of them. 

Later on, the piece underwent a thorough copy editing process, of which I was also part.

We had a tight deadline: only 48 hours to complete the substantive editing stage. At the beginning, we did the edits on paper and then switched to track changes in Word.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 constraints, the magazine had to be dramatically reduced, so we decided not to include this article in the print version.

The Result

The piece was successfully published in the online version of PRM.

Read the article here.

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