Word Tinker

Word Tinker: Words, Culture, History and Christianity (with a slightly Aussie slant) blog.

Watching a video of the nightly Jewish ritual of Hanukkah (known as Chanukah)—a systematic lighting of candles, one for each of the eight nights— reminded me of the rituals needed as a writer. As a person who loves spontaneity the rituals of editing were the hardest thing I had to learn when I started editing. When we’re self-editing we should also use a methodical ritual.


Editing your manuscript… 

Before an editor begins a style sheet is created for headings (heading hierarchy etc.), spellings permitted (whether US or British, etc.), any shortened forms and specialist terms.

Structural editing should be checked first. If anything is to be plucked out of the manuscript there is no point correcting grammar. Next, grammar and punctuation should be checked, contents and the index, if used, consistency of chapter headings, illustrations—including title or figure numbers, caption and page numbers or location— tables and any other numbering systems should be checked, the foreword, preface, acknowledgements and finally footnotes and bibliography should be proofed for accuracy and currency of hyperlinks.

These elements should be proof read in these groupings, rather than randomly throughout the book. When done systematically, nothing is left to chance.

The Chicago Manual of Style is the ultimate editing authority.


The Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers  by John Wiley & Sons ( latest edition available) is the Australian standard of reference used for stylistic issues particularly related to government publications. Now you have the tools…

but who can really edit their own work?


  • We need a minimum of six weeks of detachment before we return with an editing eye. Otherwise we are as good as a crime investigator at a crime we committed!
  • Never edit solely online. The computer deceives the eye.
  • Always read the work aloud.

I did promise more links to writing communities around the world, but I’ve run out of space…so next time…  



December 16, 2008 Posted by | Editing; United Nations Days | | Comments Off on