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Your guide to editing for MyFrenchLife™

We’re very committed to ensuring that working with us is a rewarding and enriching experience for you. We want to help you become the best editor you can be.

All great partnerships begin by getting to know one another better… So first, we’d like to introduce you to the ins and outs of MyFrenchLife™!

Audience & content

Before you begin editing for our magazine, it’s important to understand our audience. Click here to read more about who our audience is, and what kind of content they enjoy.

Our editing checklist will also provide some helpful questions to ask yourself while editing, to ascertain whether it’s appropriate for our audience.

What happens before the article reaches you?

Editors have a very important job: we trust you to uphold the quality and integrity of the magazine, and also be a friendly helper for our writers! Like you, they’re learning the ins and outs of MyFrenchLife™. So, we think it would be useful for you to understand each other better.

Here’s how we work with the writing team!

  • We work closely with writers to plan articles well in advance:
    • Writers have a specific submission date, or dates.
    • Each writer nominates a specific area for which they will contribute content.
    • We then create a content calendar together, to plan out what they’ll be writing about, and when.

Overview: How does the editing process work?

Now let’s walk through the editing process step-by-step.

Subediting

  • A writer submits their article via email.
  • We put this into our content management tool, Trello.
  • We then sub-edit the article in a Word Document, using Track Changes.
  • Once the article is sub-edited, we send it back to the author with any feedback. In some cases, we may ask the writer to re-write all or part of the article.

Formatting

  • Once the content is finalised, the article is put into WordPress and ‘formatted’. This means inserting images, ticking a few boxes, and generally making the article look fabulous.
  • If the sub-editor completes this stage, then the Coordinating Editor, or another senior editor will look over the article and ensure that it fits with our house style, and editorial line.

Editing

  • Once the Coordinating Editor or another senior editor has reviewed the article, it is marked as ‘Edited’ and saved as ‘Pending Review’.

How do we allocate work?

An in-house team member allocates articles via Slack and Trello. This might be just a sub-edit or format. When you become an editor, you will also be expected to take certain articles through the process from sub-edited to edited.

  • You will be expected to complete a copy edit, and a structural edit (if required), and return the article with feedback, in the form of dot points in a Word Document, or in Slack.
  • This is to be completed in two days, unless we let you know otherwise.
  • A reminder: you could be sent up to six edits for each day you agree to work. (We always agree on this before you start as an editor)

Looking closer: what is involved with editing an article?

1. Editing with a light hand

Firstly, it’s important to edit with a light hand. We’re a community of many unique voices, so when editing, be sure you retain the author’s voice. This being said, the article also needs to be as fluid and engaging as possible.

We edit for errors, flow, and inconsistencies. So, if a word makes sense, and doesn’t significantly affect the flow of the article, don’t change it.

2. That being said, edit for structure and quality too.

While we like to retain the unique voices of writers, we also want to make their writing the best it can be. So, we edit for consistency, flow and phrasing, to make the article read as well as it can. It’s possible to edit intensively without altering the author’s voice: work with words they’ve given you.

Think of editing as building on what the author has already done, rather than pulling it apart. They have given you the building blocks; you might just have the rearrange them a bit.

3. Before you begin

Before you start editing an article, make sure you remind yourself of who will be reading this article. It’s so important that our readers love and engage with every article we publish!

Print out our editing checklist and style guide: have these beside you as you edit. We recommend ticking off each item on the list as you go, so nothing is missed.

3. Read through once

Read through the article once without changing anything. Get a feel for the author’s voice and style, and the topic they’re addressing.

Then, consider the article overall, and follow the questions on our editing checklist. Remember to look at the big picture before delving into the detail.

4. Copy editing

Next, move onto the finer detail, and complete a copy edit. Look for:

  • Spelling & grammar mistakes.
  • Flow & readability, including awkward phrasing, word repetition etc.
  • Adherence to our style guide (use of italics, single quotation marks etc).

5. Last, but not least…

Upload the article as a Word Document to the corresponding Trello card, and please list any feedback points you have for the author in a separate Word Document, or a comment on the card.

We’ll quickly review your feedback, and the article. We might give you some feedback if we have any.

We’ll then pass the article onto the author. As soon as we hear back, we might then ask you to put the article into WordPress, and format it. Or, once you’re a super editor, you’ll go straight onto the next stage of the process.

We’re here for you!

Everyone needs a little advice now and then – even we forget whether it’s that, or which, or who or whom…

So please don’t hesitate to email us with any questions while you’re editing.

The best way to let us know what you’re concerned about is…

  1. Try your best to edit the article completely.
  2. Send it back to us on Trello or Slack, or if the issue is more substantial, email might be appropriate. List your questions or comments clearly so we understand your concerns.
  3. If you’re unsure about something, make a few recommendations about how we could work around any problems. Don’t forget you’re an editor with us for a reason: we love hearing your opinion and know you have the expertise to find a solution!

Last but not least, we’re always here to answer your questions, provide support, or just have a chat! Get in touch at info@myfrenchlife.org.







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