Substantive Editing: “Lifelines”

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The Project

“Lifelines” is a non-fiction piece written by Alayna Fairman, which was selected as a feature article for the 32nd issue 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. 

In this case, I was a member of the Editorial Department and collaborated in the selection of articles. This particular piece had the right tone and voice, and it was a very compelling story. The only problem was that there were elements in the text not completely developed and left the reader wondering what had happened. This is why we decided to expand the story.

The Process

I worked with the author in adding the missing parts to the article, in the clarification of certain structures or inconsistencies, in the precision of words, and in adhering to the tone of the magazine. There were not big structural problems, because the author has a good grasp of a story’s progression. 

First substantive edits to the article.

There was a lot of negotiation, though, 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. 

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.

The Result

The piece was successfully published in the 32nd issue of PRM, both in its print and online versions.

Read the article here.

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