Gayle’s response to the reblogged post, “To revise, or not to revise?”
As an editor, I (Gayle) find it almost impossible to pass up an opportunity to correct something I find is an error. If I find a grammatical error in a comment made to our blog, I do a quick edit before approving it. And I certainly DO correct any errors I find that I’ve made in past blogs.
One thing I find rather perplexing is in quoting local newspaper interviews that have been made about new books my husband and I have published. We are very grateful for the willingness of the newspaper writers to help publicize our books and the genuinely excellent write-ups they have done. However, invariably there have been one or more factual errors in each of the write-ups.
In my previous job as a magazine editor, I made a number of editorial changes to submitted articles but always ran them back through the writer or the person I had interviewed before publishing the piece. Usually the person was pleased with the changes or, if there was some factual information that was wrong, they would give me feedback and I would make the changes before publication.
That doesn’t seem to be the case with the newspaper articles I’ve had written about me or about a situation I am aware of. The biggest problem I find in the case of interviews, is the common practice of the writer making up direct quotations from a subject, when that person never said anything of the sort.
It is advantageous to reprint the newspaper article on our website blog or on Facebook.
However, when the article has some factual errors, I have used the tactic of copying the article and then posting it on our sites, citing the source but including the caveat that the reprint has been corrected by me for accuracy. I then make the correction by leaving an ellipsis where I have deleted an incorrect phrase or word and/or add the appropriate word or words enclosed within brackets.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You’re happily digging through your blog archives, only to stumble upon that one embarrassing post from six months ago. Your cursor hovers over the “Edit” button for a moment.
In hindsight, many of our posts might be mildly twinge-inducing, maybe even downright negligent, and some can really feel like they need revision. This happens to me a lot as a food blogger; I’ll never forgive myself for confusing the words “stock” and “broth” for several years (some readers won’t, either). So what’s a writer to do: dive in with a scalpel, or leave it be for posterity’s sake?
Personally, I’ve always gone back and revised my recipe posts; after all, I’m learning new things about cooking every day, and I want to make sure my readers are making the best possible version of the dish on my website. A happy eater is…
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