Copy-Editing

Your writing needs something to take it to the next level and that something is a fresh pair of eyes.
Every writer needs an editor - even me! 
Why is that? It’s because we writers are too close to what we’ve written. We know what we meant to say and we find it hard to put ourselves in the shoes of our reader; this makes us poor judges of how a piece of writing we have penned (slaved over) comes across. Does it hit its mark? Does it even make sense?

Our wish for our writing is that we make fewer mistakes. Mistakes make us look bad and undermine our reputation.

Our wish for our reader is that they read our writing with ease; quickly, because we’re all busy, and with no trip hazards like spelling mistakes, missing words, clumsy constructions, nothing that forces them to back track, and certainly nothing that makes them give up. The kind of writing that is read with ease wears its super power lightly, but it takes time and attention, and, as I pointed out earlier, ideally another pair of eyes.
What is copy-editing?

Copy-editing involves checking a piece of writing for grammar, spelling, style and punctuation. It has this in common with proofreading, but copy-editing goes further. It is a more invasive review of a piece of writing than a proofread. The copy-editor may suggest revising certain passages to deal with ambiguity, overuse of jargon and other problems.Copy-editing can improve syntax, flow and tone of voice. It’s amazing how a few tweaks can totally change the character of a piece of writing – from cheeky to clever, from technical to something the lay person can understand, from distant to warm, from hostile to friendly.

Need a fresh pair of eyes? Talk to me about copy-editing your writing.

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What is style?

Style, in relation to proofreading and copy-editing, is the set of conventions that is being used by the writer or writers. Contrary to what you might think, much of what goes into making writing correct is governed by preference rather than hard-and-fast rules. 

The Irish Times may favour -ize -ization and so on, while the Irish Independent may go with -ise, -isation. Both are correct.

Eir may use numerals for all numbers in prose, while Vodafone may write the full word. Both are valid choices.

And to give you an apt example, I notice that Benjamin Dreyer, esteemed Copy Chief at Random House styles the words that describe his profession without hyphens: copyeditor and copyediting. I have chosen to hyphenate them. Another person might style them as two separate words. We both have our styles. Both are correct. What would be unacceptable would be to mix them in the same piece of writing. The very thought!

That is why publishing houses and - these days - companies and brands produce house style guides - so that everyone in the organisation is on the same page about things like this. Where a company or oganisation’s house style guide is properly used, you won’t see a word like ‘organise’ spelled with an ‘s’ in the annual report, but with a ‘z’ in a tweet.    

Need some consistency in your communications? Talk to me about developing a house style guide.

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They say...

"I am always amazed and enthralled at her ability to capture the essence of the ideas I want to convey in a way I did not think possible when I was writing the original draft."
Kevin Fahey, owner, Essence of Leadership
"The service was extremely professional, Eilish was able to work to our project deadline and within budget. "
Lisa Bothwell, co-owner, Bothwell and Vogel
Eilish's skill is not exclusive to writing. She is an attentive researcher; a deft stakeholder manager; and can interpret audience needs and develop an appropriate tone of voice for the written content."
Brian Hickey, Creative Design Studio Owner
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