Copy can absolutely be over-edited. Clients will not be pleased with the results if their content comes back and is completely changed in tone, or cut down well beyond what they wanted. (Trust me on this.)
A middle ground exists in editing any particular project, as it does in life situations. Part of my function as an editor is determining and remaining within the parameters of a job, while still completing a comprehensive edit.
Forming these parameters requires a clear and frank discussion with the client from the outset, in which I will ask the following questions:
- What are the project goals?
- What is the tone (i.e. conversational, corporate, somewhere in between)?
- Does the client want a basic, intermediate, or line edit? (This often requires a more detailed explanation of the editing levels.)
- Should the copy be tightened, or cut to a certain word count?
- Is the client open to a conversation about a more extensive edit if, after reviewing the draft, I feel that would be beneficial to meet their project goals?
Sometimes I’ll find that the content requires, say, a developmental or other type of edit. In this case I will refer the customer out to a fellow editor or an industry site like the Editorial Freelancers Association on which to post their job. This saves time and money for both of us.
When the gig moves forward, I am in a good position to know what, how, and how much to edit. And if changes to the scope of editing do occur, the open communication will help with ongoing conversations. Either way, the work proceeds more smoothly – even with the inevitable hiccups – within the established editing and proofreading boundaries.
Adjusting to a New Middle Ground in Life
Twenty months have passed since the pandemic lockdown began. Several weeks ago I received the COVID booster / third shot. That coincided with progressing to a “new normal,” as they say. Running errands to stores as needed. Seeing an indoor performance – the first since 2019 (the fall high school music concert; my son plays flute in freshman band).
My middle ground? Continuing to wearing a mask (or two) everywhere inside.
Still, it does indeed feel like moving on in a true, substantive way. So …
An Editor’s Shelter-in-Place Diary Comes to an End
And reach out if you require editing, proofreading, or copy evaluation for your business content project!