Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Editing 101

What if you didn't take the time to edit?

Well, here’s a cautionary tale for you…

When super awesome astronaut and fellow Purdue alum Neil Armstrong died last year, NBC wanted to be the first to report the news. So, quick as lightning, they posted the following:

“Astronaut Neil Young, first man to walk on the moon, dies at 82.”

Seven minutes later, somebody at NBC noticed the error and took it down.
But seven minutes is a loooooooong time in web world. 
Remember that old game of “telephone” where one kid whispers a story to another, who in turn whispers it to another and so on?

Well, the game of “cyberphone” can be a lot like that — only it involves 6 billion kids, and half of them have ADD.
So within seven minutes of the NBC post, goodness knows how many folks were tweeting:

“Rocker Neil Young was so strung out in the 60’s; he thinks he walked on the moon.”

“Neil Young was strong-armed into joining the Moonies.”

“Neil Armstrong loses ‘First Man on the Moon’ credit due to his use of performance-enhancing drugs.”

“Lance, Louis, and Neil Armstrong were all arrested on Saturday for mooning Neil Young.”

So, here are some tips from Editing 101 —

Slow Down. Great writing is not a stir-fry, it is crock pot cuisine.
Also, read the stuff you have written…

out loud…

at least once.

And a little fact-checking never hurt anybody.
Just sayin’.

Happy heavenly travels, Neil.

And you really did ROCK —

even if your name was never Young.

PROMPT: I’m pretty sure that you've got lots of great material stashed away in a drawer somewhere. Spend some time giving it a little editorial polish today, and your future publishers are sure to be over the moon.

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