At the end of July 2017, I received a manuscript from Pup Corner, a client at Impact Catalyst. They own a dog care website and created content about caring for pets that would be published as a short book for their customers. However, the content needed some revision and editing before it could be published. A lot of the content was extremely wordy and didn’t flow together very well, and several important ideas were missing that a customer would need to know. The plan was for me to revise the content as much as possible before giving it back to my employer to look over, edit and return to the client for their approval.
Project Plan and Responsibilities
I approached this in a similar way that I had for the Treasure Mountain Scout Camp and Undergraduate Writing manuscript. I started with one quick read-through to see what the content was about and what mistakes I noticed right away. After I finished, I went through my first thorough revision to rewrite the content. The main focus was trying to keep the same idea the client originally wrote, but say it in a quicker, more direct way. For example, the original manuscript said, “However, one should not be under the impression it is the parasite alone that causes such scooting in the case of dogs. There are many occasions in which the dog may have the scooting without any parasite based ethological agent.” In my first revision, I changed it to, “If your dog begins to scoot around, check under their tail to see if there are any signs of irritation or injury. Scooting can be caused by internal parasites such as tapeworms.” I changed the focus from “one should” to “you” so that the reader could feel like they were addressed personally. if I came across sections where information was missing or wasn’t explained, I would look it up and add it in. This could be especially helpful for a new reader with minimal or no knowledge of dogs. And if there was content I didn’t understand or couldn’t find information for, I would make a note for the author and explain my confusion.
After the first revision, I went through and did a second revision where I focused on changing the flow of ideas to make more sense. The original flow of ideas jumped from one idea to another without anything to connect them. So I rearranged the sections in a way that flowed together better and separated the manuscript into three separate sections so that readers could find what they needed easily by looking at what section they needed. I also fixed the spacing and titles of the sections and fixed words that were incorrect. I also spell-checked some words that were or weren’t hyphenated to see what Merriam said about their spelling, and noted those changes in the style guide I included with the manuscript. Once I made those changes, I did another quick read-through to see what other mistakes I had missed from my first edits.
Before I finished, I did the third revision to compare my edits to the original manuscript to make sure I had kept the same ideas that were originally there. If any of the information was redundant in the same section, I removed it as well. Once all the final edits were made, I updated the Table of Contents to match the pages and the new content order. I added an introduction and conclusion and created a title page to fit the book formatting for the manuscript.
I handed the manuscript over to my employer at the beginning of August. After reviewing my edits, they would make additional changes and speak more to the client about what they wanted to do. As the final revisions are made by my employer and the client, I will update the project results.
After a long time without extensive editing practice (almost a full year), it was a good challenge to stretch my editing abilities and test my patience to thoroughly revise a 23-page three or four times over. There were several times I had to stop, take a break, and then return to the manuscript and make better judgments about what to rewrite and how to fix the content. Sometimes when I would review my old edits, I would change them or get rid of them because they weren’t as effective as I thought. And while the client may make changes to my edits or reject some of them, I feel I was able to edit it into something more readable and relatable for dog owners, both experienced and new.