For You: A Sample Text to Edit

The text you see below is one of my own. A short prose. I had posted this impulsive note on one of my social media accounts. It is copied/pasted here for your practice with hands-on editing. With the term “editing”, I am referring to copy editing (AKA surface editing) as well as content editing (AKA substantial editing and developmental editing). While the latter editing method is self-explanatory, the first-mentioned approach may leave some uncertainty in our minds. In sum, that type of editing focuses on the improvement of surface specifics; i.e. spelling, punctuation and grammar. The overarching concept for this process is to aim at achieving accuracy and consistency. Enjoy!

I was just about to open the curtain of the window next to my patio, my sanctuary, when I saw one bird on the closest bird feeder. I stopped to eavesdrop . . . that beautiful being was eagerly shuffling the seeds without eating any. I have been curious about these little Avians’ behavior before . . . this one was (purposefully to me), making the seeds fall to the ground. And there was another bird in the grass, waiting to be fed. How beautiful is this sight, I emoted, and took my time to proceed with my morning routine of enjoying the Sun and the always rejuvenating crisp morning air . . .

The third eye . . .


Photo Credit: Murder Must Advertise Freelance Editors

Being a freelance editor, I visit relevant sites. Not often enough, perhaps but, for the time being, the frequency I can afford will have to do. The image I use here today has caught my attention because of the modifications made on a manuscript with red-color ink. Oh my, did I immediately remember my first (ten or so) years in my academic career during which period I was such a big fan of red. Red in my outside clothing (not much has changed since in this area), red lipstick (I still favor the color on my lips), red table cloths and red home decor items (once again, not much has changed since) and red correction ink or pencils. Back then, I had not been working as a freelance editor.

So to say . . . my poor students – especially, in my composition courses – would claim otherwise. For I had, in fact, been editing their original work. Not providing corrective feedback, mind you but passionately and diligently editing their written pieces! Now, much has changed since those overly ambitious years of mine in the academia. I am still a college professor and am teaching composition courses – at intermediate as well as advanced writing levels. In fact, I have been an active member of the academia over forty years altogether. About ten years were gone with me painstakingly trying to teach my corresponding classes through a monolithic view of a writer’s life. Getting lost in the process of correcting how and what had to be composed within which framework . . .

The longer years after, taught me many eye-opening lessons. And, I was not even a published writer in that period of time (my first bout of courage ran over me in 2013, when my debut book of poetry was offered to the public eye). Relevance? After my creative writing materialized openly, I began to attain a considerably higher sensitivity for and keener insight into the work of others. Those of my by now totally relieved students of composition courses included . . . All my red pencils and pens were long gone already. Given away. Donated. Thrown into the trash. Some sneaky ones managed to escape (for a short-lived doomed-to-fail self-reign-era) my wholeheartedly adapted mantra: Off with their heads!” One wonderful day, however, an eye- and spirit-friendly bouquet of greens, pinks, light blues and dark yellows forever replaced the harsh, loud-mouth, intrusive and offensive shades of red. In ink, that is.

To this day, I no longer look at any red writing utensil (though I keep one or two to keep myself in line . . . to use them for my “Note to Self” jottings . . . so that I will not be tempted to open those old Pandora boxes ever again). Are my students happier for it? I certainly hope so but moreover I know so. Their comfort level is way too obvious for me to ignore. How about my editing clients? That question is for you to ask one or more of them, is it not? You are welcome to do so. If or when you do, please come back for another visit to let me know what you have heard. Have I told you how much I love improving myself in every aspect of my being, but in both of my professions, in particular? Those commitments are here to stay for a lifetime with me, in me. As a writer, I would feel unsettled if a manuscript of mine were to travel back to me marked in all red. Why, then, should I ever assume that such doing would be acceptable in any regard to those together with whom I, by invitation only but still, am set out to streamline writings they alone have created in the first place?

I wish you all a mutually respectful and beneficial editing exchanges, including those self-aware editorial interactions you intend to conduct when your own writings are concerned.



Let us picture a scene from our daily lives:

You have invited guests for dinner, for which you have been preparing a menu of delight. If you are a planner like I am, everything is set at least two days prior to your date as far as the necessary groceries -including meal-accompanying drinks, fruit (or dessert) and coffee (or tea) to be enjoyed with the servings of fruit or dessert. The appetizer, the soup and the entree together with its side-dish are cooked, waiting for their starting call on the burners of your stove, inside the oven, or anywhere you find to keep them warm enough to be palatable. You look at all your prepared dishes, and feel proud: Each detail is intact and looks good in their best possible outfits. Your guests can now arrive. And they do. One at a time, or every invitee all at once.

Pleasantries are exchanged, maybe cocktails are consumed, music is played, etc. Then comes the time to sit down to eat. You now realize that you have not spent much thought or time in planning a seating strategy nor how to serve the various dishes. Guests are left to just stand there. Around the dining table. Waiting for your directions. You have none. Nor do you have space on the table to strategically position those diligently beautified servers. Having given up on any potential organization chart at this point, you ask your guests to help themselves with a seat. Any seat. Anywhere. After all, the food you had prepared cannot and should not go to waste, right? Your guests, polite enough, have done the semi-impossible. Everyone is seated somehow. But, . . . wait . . . where to place those appetite-whetting dishes now? Those adorned serving trays? Let alone to serve anything from them. There is barely room on the table for elbows!

Do you see what I am seeing in this imagined picture? I am sure that you do. Hence, the importance of self-editing . . . of seeing in its actuality what we have written down for a readership, regardless of the number of the readers. One fact remains: They are our endeared guests. For, we have invited them.

To present details of our writing as we have painstakingly put it together, but moreover, to enable our presentation  fluidity – a no-detour-flaw (read conciseness) that is visually (read grammar, spelling, punctuation), mentally and emotionally appealing (read cohesive) as well as desirable to the palate (read clarity) constitute that which we owe to ourselves first.

Inviting guests over for a dinner gathering when only the planned dishes are complete will take us only so far . . .

An Overdue Apology

With this post, I would like to extend an apology to the readers and readers-to-be; for, I have been away from this platform for a long while. It is one thing when a website owner possesses the essential makings of a passionate intent to post regularly any relevant writings. It is an entirely different process when that good intent is distracted gravely by the demands of life; such as in my case: A full-time work schedule, one that encompasses a highway of some sorts where the multiple lanes of the rapidly moving traffic presents detours, never leading to a rest-stop along the way. In a nutshell, this image is most accurately depicted when my life is concerned.

I have not given up on my original intent to write for this site -regardless of who is reading it or from it, nor will I give up my intentions to do so while staying true to my inborn passions for devotion, dedication and determination.

Allow me now to proceed with a simple practice in the field of editing; namely, the approach to an author’s reaction (or response) to the suggested adjustments of his/her book draft when grammatical structures are concerned. An often difficult exchange -though not as trying as doing away with suggestions for modifications in content!

Instead of pushing my own strategy on you, I would like to open the floor to your ideas: How, whenever applicable, do you prefer to get near to an author’s “mine-field” of communication as far as his/her sensitivity toward receiving any hints at easily justifiable suggestions for the improvement of the original draft of his/her writing?

One thing to avoid under any circumstances is/would be . . . (what, in your confidently presented but most certainly substantiated insight?)

Until next time!


An Important “Goodread”

If, by any chance, you happen to believe that it is not good practice for a book editor to refer to another fate-mate’s blog, please be prepared to see one example right now, right here.

I, as is apparent, think otherwise. After all, I have created this web site not to list or detail my own work but rather with the intent to help you, the writer, deepen your insight into your capabilities to read your written draft critically, analytically, and harshly.

In his blog, David Kudler makes mention of a masterpiece of modern times a large number of us know well -if not all world-countries, which have their basic media means intact: J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Kudler states the following on the said much-celebrated writing: “Pretty good book, and it’s sold millions of copies, absolutely — but it’s at least a hundred pages longer than it needs to be.”

It is no intention of mine to elaborate on Kudler’s claim (with which, for the record, I am in full agreement). I will, instead, offer you a glimpse of my own experience with a recent book editing process: The author’s writing is “[p]retty good” -to echo Kudler’s two words (though the one that has been on my desk for a while could not have sold any copies because its publication is pending). What I am trying to make succinctly clear here is simple, and I will be brief: The book manuscript under my jurisdiction was considerably stretched beyond the point of doing the author any justice. Had that esteemed individual proceeded with his/her enthusiasm to have it published as written, the book’s readership would have never been gifted with the gem of its content. (I promised I would be brief.)

Out of respect for “my” anonymous author (as well as for the many others who have for long entrusted their work with my editing skills and diligence), I will retire behind the vital principle of my professional stance at this point: Avoiding the slightest elaboration on any identifiable details of the writing of focus. I will not, however, shy away from inviting you to the provided link below with eagerness. Please do see for yourselves how unsuspecting we all are in actuality -or can be when lending a critical eye to our book drafts are concerned.

I look forward to your visit next week.

With my best wishes in all your reading, writing and self-editing endeavors,

Link of Reference:
7 Deadly Myths and 3 Inspired Truths About Book Editing

Streamlining a Basic Biography: The Last Text

The text you see below is the conclusion of this particular editing practice. There will be another example next week. Hoping that you will stay tuned, best wishes are on their way to you for your writing and self-editing endeavors.

A member of the Academy of American Poets, yılmaz’s poems appeared in excess of fifty international anthologies. Her short prose (including feature articles, professional prefaces, introductions, forewords and epilogues) has been published in poetry collections of national and international makeup. Two of hülya’s poems were distinguished on April 15, 2017 through inclusion in a poetry exhibition that is the second in the U.S. –TelePoem Booth, a permanent public art installation in State College, PA.

*hülya says, she finds it vital for everyone to understand a deeper sense of self and that she writes creatively to attain and nourish a more comprehensive understanding and development of our humanity.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
*Not a capitalization error. I have been spelling both my names in all lower-case for several years now.

Streamlining a Basic Biography, Continued

This week, we will be proceeding with the same biographical text from last time. Consider this time also the paragraphing choice, if you have not done so on/for the last section. Stay tuned for next week, should you choose to visit this site again.

Best wishes for your writing and self-editing endeavors.

Describing herself as an interrupted poet and writer since her middle school years, the author started her formal writing career in the U.S. after joining the Nittany Valley Writers Network in Centre County, PA. Her poetry made its first public appearance in the OLLI Magazine, Pastiche. Following that short-lived period of semi-anonymity, yılmaz became one of the winners of the Inner Child Press 2013 Essay and Poetry Contest. As a result, her debut non-academic book with her own translations, Trance, a collection of poems in English, German and Turkish came into being. hülya then went on to co-author An Aegean Breeze of Peace, a collection of poems in English with Demetrius Trifiatis, Professor of Philosophy.

In 2015, hülya joined the editors of Inner Child Press, Ltd. after which she has completed a large number of editing work of book-length manuscripts, predominantly developmental editing. When in May of 2017 Inner Child Press, Ltd. has redesigned its Board of Directors, the author has been appointed to the position of Director of Editing Services.



Why Not Start with a Basic Biography?

Material: The text below is my own. I am posting here only a section of it.
Purpose: Decluttering to achieve the same content through streamlining excessive words.
Focal Point: To edit it as your instinct tells you – of course, within a reasonable limit; after considering what must stay, what can go without a sacrifice of the author’s intended message.

Best wishes for your writing and self-editing endeavors.

hülya n. yılmaz was born and raised in Turkey, where she received her K-20 education. While an undergraduate at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, she worked as a simultaneous translator of German to Turkish in the graduate seminar of a German professor of Philosophy. yılmaz completed her M.A. in German Philology at the same university where she earned her B.A. before coming to the United States in pursuit of her doctoral degree. While working on her dissertation, hülya successfully applied to Barbour Scholarship of 100 years of tradition. Against the long-established guidelines of one candidate-one year support only, she was granted this prestigious stipend for two consequent years. After earning her Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures at The University of Michigan, yılmaz started her teaching career –first, at her Alma Mater and presently, at The Pennsylvania State University. Before the onset of her extensive teaching career, however, she authored Das Ghasel des islamischen Orients in der deutschen Dichtung, a research book in German on the influence of the poetic art of the Muslim East on 19th and 20th century German literature through her back then-groundbreaking cross-cultural study of ghazal poetry.