Along with the Undergraduate Writing manuscript, this was the other manuscript my team and I had to edit for my Fall 2017 editorial class. This was the second manuscript we had to edit, and it was given to us by a Boy Scout group who used the Treasure Mountain Scout Camp area for regular scout camps and hikes. Unfortunately, past use from the scouts resulted in littering, damage to the scout sites, and a sour impression for those who managed the Treasure Mountain Scout Camp area. Unless the clients submitted a plan proposing how they prevent these problems again in the future, their license to camp in the area would be redacted. The proposal was given to us to clean up and edit before the BSA submitted it to the Treasure Mountain Scout Camp officials.
Project Plan and Responsibilities
My team and I each reviewed and revised the manuscript before coming together as a group and combining our edits into one master copy. Another teammate kept the master copy of the document this time, which allowed me to participate more in discussing and deciding on which edits to make.
There were two sections we mainly focused on: content and formatting. We had to decide on a unanimous voice for four or five different authors of the proposal and make sure that all of the language, abbreviations, and technical wording were the same in each section. Some authors used different words for different sections, and not all abbreviations were defined or used the same way in the proposal. Some of the authors cited the sources of their information, but not all of it was correctly cited according to the Chicago Manual. Some didn’t cite the sources at all, and where we couldn’t find the source, we had to make a note to the authors to find the original information and format it correctly into the appendices.
Along with making content edits and combining different writing styles into one, we had to do a large amount of formatting in the document so that when it was printed, it looked good and was easier to read. Some sections had many pictures, but only some of them had descriptions, and some sections had no pictures at all. And some sections had headings and subheadings, while others only had headings or nothing at all. We made decisions as a group on which pictures we wanted to keep, which ones we added to give the proposal more unity, and how we wanted to describe the pictures underneath. We stayed with a more professional and formal description of the pictures, rather than adding a quote or creative description underneath. Some examples of our formatting style guide notes include:
- Captions: Always below image.
- Captions: Times New Roman, 10 pt.
- Text color: Black
Fonts and Sizes for:
- Title Headings: Garamond, 14 pt., bold
- Subheadings: Garamond, 14 pt., bold
- Body Paragraphs: Garamond, 12 pt.
- Captions: Times New Roman, 10 pt. Italics always.
- “Potential Improvements”: Garamond, 12 pt., bold
- Endnotes: Calibri, 10 pt.”
Once our edits were finished and we felt confident it could work for a professional proposal to the BSA Treasure Mountain Scout Camp officials, we submitted it to the client for review.
Along with combining many voices into one and preparing it for professional review and making sure technical content is consistent across the manuscript (and easily understandable to someone who may not be familiar with the content), this project taught me how formatting a document can be extremely important in helping it be readable for others. You can rewrite content to be understandable to most people, but if it’s formatted in a difficult way and not consistent, then it can ruin the experience for the reader. And a consistent and clean format can help the proposal appear more professional.