The Ins and Outs of Medical Editorial Style

As a copyeditor of medical content, my sun rises and sets on the style guide the bible, the rule book, the toolset that I use to hone unruly prose.

That’s why, as a project manager, my most difficult task is maintaining a style guide. Determining what goes in, what stays out, and what detail will be useful without making the tools unwieldy can be challenging, especially for editors of medical content who don’t necessarily have clinical experience.

The style guide is what enables publication of clear, consistent, professional content over time. And each person who uses a style guide has particular preferences and ways of using that toolset. The crafting of a toolset that will be useful over time is an art in itself.

This piece from the New Yorker demonstrates the challenges in crafting a guide for wordsmiths, even for the editors of a great dictionary. As in fashion, a faux pas seems just a step away!


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