Major Assignment 2


This assignment was meant so the students could examine writing without our field/career choice. We were told to give an analysis of workplace writing, examine a piece of professional writing, then we could choose one of two things. The first choice was to give an example of workplace writing and analyze. The second choice was to give a professional article summary and critique.

Completed Assignment

To:                   Professor [redacted]

From:               Ari Lentini

Date:               October 18, 2019

Subject:           Project #2

My intended career field is copyediting, which is why I decided to make that the main focus of this project. I am currently taking a copyediting course that required me to purchase The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn and Marilyn Schwartz, so I will be analyzing a section of this book for the assignment. I have also done research on copyeditors to see what is required of them in the workplace and what they typically will be writing.

Analysis of Workplace Writing

If I pursue copyediting, I realize that I won’t be doing as much writing as other fields. The main job of a copyeditor is to fix mistakes in a written work, not to actually write the work. It will involve a lot of reading, rereading, and corrections typically on screen rather than on a hard copy of a written document. When copyeditors are required to write, it is typically writing to the author about queries or in the form of memos.[i]

Throughout my research of copyediting, I realized that creating memos to the author servers a few functions. One function that memos server for copyeditors is that they are a form of checking in on the author and keeping them up to date on what’s going on. The memo may mention that the copyeditor has to reread or update on the amount of corrections made and what those corrections were. I also noticed that most copyeditors in their memos included a bit of optimism to break up the requests for revisions.

Memos in copyrighting also seem to function as a way to keep track for the copyeditor themselves. For example, memos have dates that the copyeditor can look back on to see when they completed reading through something, when the author was notified about what was going on, and so forth. There is also a different type of writing that some copyeditors may do which is called a memo report, which is a memo that is longer than ten pages. One such website I read discussed the creation of a design memo during their first editing pass[ii].

Writing as a copyeditor will really only ever have one audience, which is the author themselves. None of the copyeditors actual written words will ever be published alongside the author because it is the author who wrote the work and not the copyeditor. The copyeditor will only ever write queries and protentional fact checks to the author so that they can make the corrections to the work. Copyeditors are not allowed to rewrite sentences that “sound funny” or anything of that nature so the writing is pretty limited.

With that said, the most important genre for copyediting would be memos. There will be so many written to the author of a work that it’s important to have an understanding of what a memo is, how to format it and what a memo should accomplish. While having a basic understanding of writing emails and progress reports would also be beneficial, the main genre that should be focused on is memo creation because of how common it is. Being able to accurately create a memo will also help the author to have an understanding of what to fix in a written piece of work.

Example of Workplace Writing

The example of workplace writing that I focused on was The Copyeditor’s Handbook, which I already owned due to my professional editing course that I am taking this semester. Considering that this textbook is over 450 pages long, I focused mainly on chapter two because it gives a good overview to copyediting. I found that the main purpose of this chapter, let alone the entire book itself, was to educate those interested in copyediting. The textbook gives a fairly in-depth overview to the world of copyediting and the basics of what any good copyeditor should have an understanding of.

The function of this chapter was mainly to inform and to educate. The chapter was also persuasive, especially in the skill set section. These weren’t necessarily skills that you were required to have but the authors gave a good point as to why you should have those skills. Persuasion was used by telling fact about how technology was taking over pretty much everything and that having technology skills for copyediting would be useful due to that fact.

This chapter had a lot of organization to it. For example, the suggested skills were the first thing in the chapter because they were the most important things to learn about. The middle of the chapter consists of an entire section about on-screen editing because it correlates to the skills suggested for copyediting. The end discussed manuscript cleanup, which was the least important section of the chapter because, once you had the technology skills to effectively use word, you would have already known how to do a manuscript cleanup.

The tone for the chapter is very formal. There are no instances of sarcasm or pop culture humor found within the chapter whatsoever. There are a few instances of jargon but is cleared up through the use of footnotes and parenthesis. It is formal, technical, and precisely to the point of the chapter in all senses. It is fairly fast paced and easily understood.

This chapter tells me quite a bit about my desired field in terms of writing. It contains a few useful charts when it comes to hand-marked copyediting as well as examples for on-screen copyediting. The chapter gives me some helpful suggestions in regards to skills and when to query something within a manuscript as well. While part one of this project focused more on what I would be required to write if I become a copyeditor, this chapter focuses on how to actually copyedit which is equally useful.

To conclude my memo, copyeditors have quite a lot required of them. They are the main reason why a manuscript is published and how authors can make their work the best it can possibly be. Focusing on creating memos will be very beneficial to me as I start to apply for a copyediting position. Completing this project has also given me a lot of insight as to what I should keep in mind as I move forward in college, in my major, and hopefully my desired career path.



Grade on assignment: 90%

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