Dragonfly’s Copyediting Checklist

Copyediting can be daunting. Not only do you need to check spelling and grammar, you need to ensure consistency, fix acronyms, improve readability … even make sure that URLs work! A checklist can help. Here’s the checklist we developed at Dragonfly. It’s helped us increase the quality and consistency of our editing. We hope it helps you, as well. You can …

Dragonfly’s Kim Yowler is a technical writer with class

Kim Yowler is fearless when it comes to writing assignments. Where most would find the exacting requirements of a government proposal overwhelming, she’s the queen of compliance. And while the thought of a classroom full of new writers would send many running for the hills, she’s the superintendent of skill-building. The south central Ohio native began her career with a …

Best soundtracks for writing and editing, courtesy of the Dragonfly crew

Working from home may be music to one’s ears, but Dragonflies know that what’s playing in the background can be crucial to productivity. An informal survey of our staff revealed that we use a variety of sound strategies—from total quiet to eclectic music, baseball games, and podcasts—to maintain focus. Here’s what keeps the Dragonflies humming.     THE SOUNDS OF …

Polishing a Print Publication: Four Lessons Learned the Hard Way

For editors like me—who usually work in Microsoft Word—jumping into the management of a designed publication can be a shock. That’s what happened to me when I took over Tracking Changes, the journal of ACES: The Society for Editing. I knew all the must-dos for print publishing theoretically, but it had been a long time since I had put them into practice. …

Getting proposals right: horizontal vs. vertical editing

I talked with David Bol from Shipley Associates a few years ago about proposal editing. For a proposal guy, he had a lot of insights on editing. That should come as no surprise; after all, he’s a senior VP at Shipley and has managed the content on hundreds of bids. One of the distinctions David made was between what he …

Best Microsoft Word Shortcuts for Writers and Editors on a Mac

If you’ve ever used CMD + S to save a file or CMD + B to boldface something, you already know how to use Microsoft Word shortcuts. These keystroke combos save you time—and save your wrist from having to mouse up to the ribbon and make multiple clicks. Here’s a list of our favorite shortcuts, including lesser-known ones that can …

Giving Melissa Brown Levine the third degree

Sometimes Melissa Brown Levine has to use every one of her four degrees to get through an editing job. There’s her master’s in professional writing to smooth out the rough edges, a master’s in library science if there’s some research involved, and a bachelor’s in psychology in the event she has to figure out what in the world the writer …

“I am a shit” vs. “I am the shit”: Why indefinite articles matter.

I am a shit. I am the shit. Indefinite articles matter. As editors, we know that what we say and how we say it makes all the difference in how our words are understood. We are aware that a small thing can be a big game-changer. A pair of tiny commas can mean the difference between a panda having a …

Dragonflies and Catapults: A tale of two agencies

When companies come to Dragonfly, we help them deal with a variety of issues ranging from in-depth copyediting to quality content creation. But there are times when those companies end up needing something Dragonfly isn’t equipped to provide. Things like digital design, brand cultivation, or nurturing of their web presence. That’s when we turn to an organization that has been …

7 Steps to Editing for Readability

Whether you’re writing web copy, white papers, or proposals, readability is important. Why? Because today’s readers are distracted and impatient. They want to find the answers they need as quickly as possible. As an editor, you can help readers by creating clear copy that’s easily scanned and understood. Here’s how. You can download the PDF version here.   STEP 1: …