Powerful words are music to Cynthia Smith’s ears

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Cynthia Smith has yet to meet a keyboard she can’t master. Though her initial plan was to become a concert pianist, these days she’s a writer, creating compositions on an entirely different kind of keyboard for Dragonfly and her own freelance clients. The Cincinnati-based wordsmith started with Dragonfly two years ago after an acquaintance introduced her to President Samantha Enslen …

Field Guide to Concise Language

In the quest for clear writing, clunky phrases are like a field of poppies—slowing your readers down and putting them to sleep. Some of these phrases are redundant, some are jargony, and some are needlessly formal. To streamline your writing and enhance readability, prune these phrases ruthlessly. You can download the PDF file here. 12:00 noon noon 6-month period 6 …

Lead Editor Checklist

When we’re editing big documents with small deadlines, we often use a team of editors to divide and conquer the many pages that need to be reviewed. To keep those editors working in sync, we assign a lead editor. He or she is responsible for overseeing the team and ensuring that a quality product is delivered to our customer on …

Editing Myth: over vs. more than

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  I always get a good response to the Myths of Editing posts. This week, I’m hitting another myth: insisting on a distinction between over and more than.   The myth Over should never be used to denote a greater numerical value. Instead, you should use more than. Sample sentence: We’ve been in business over 10 years. Knee-jerk editorial fix: We’ve been in business more than 10 years. The reality Over and more than can …

Dragonfly Guide to Style Guides

Next to a dictionary, an editor’s top resource is a style guide. Style guides dictate how editors should handle hyphenation, capitalization, and number style. They describe how to format elements like bulleted lists and reference lists. They even proscribe certain elements of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. But which style guide should be used for which type of material? This handy …

Samantha Enslen’s crooked path straight to success

Sam Enslen

It might have taken Dragonfly President Samantha Enslen a bit of time to find editing, but it was worth the wait. As a girl growing up just outside of Dayton, Ohio, Samantha had none of the doctor/firefighter/princess/veterinarian aspirations of her peers. Things weren’t much clearer when she headed off to The College of Wooster in northern Ohio, where she graduated …

The Enneagram for Editors

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Enneagram model of personality typing. Represented by a geometric shape with nine points, the Enneagram describes nine basic personality types, including their key motivations, fears, and tendencies. The Enneagram is coming more into the mainstream lately, with books, blogs, podcasts, and Twitter accounts exploring its ideas. Consequently, there are many online tests to help you …

2019 editorial conferences

2019 is shaping up to be a great year for editorial conferences.  Here are just a few. Are you planning on attending any of these? We’ll be at the ACES conference in Providence, Rhode Island, and at the IABC Conference in Toronto! Date Place Name March 28-30 Providence ACES Conference 2019 May 8-10 Melbourne, Australia Institute of Professional Editors June …

Periodic table of copyediting

The ultimate guide to all things copyediting: from style guides, usage guides, and editorial associations to podcasts and fact-checking resources. You can download the PDF file here.    You can also get it as a poster here.    This post is part of a series featuring Dragonfly field guides, tips, and tricks. You can download the PDF file here.  You can also …

Lessons learned and friendships formed: One Dragonfly’s professional journey

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James Fraleigh is a copyeditor’s copyeditor. After a day of working on documents as a contractor, he’s happy to spend time reading books about editing, talking to other editors about the nuances and best practices of the job, and actively participating in online and real-world editorial meet-ups. And you thought you were dedicated to your career. The owner of a …