Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Is Editing Your Superpower?

 

Do you like working with words? Do you often find typos and mistakes in the things you read?

 

Do you have a knack for making sentences sound better and helping words flow from paragraph to paragraph? Maybe you’re the go-to person that coworkers or friends ask to review what they’ve written.

 

If any of this sounds like you, then editing may just be your thing.

 

What Does Being an Editor Mean?

In basic terms, an editor is someone who reviews a piece of writing and makes it better by fixing mistakes and making sure it covers what author Amy Einsohn (The Copyeditor’s Handbook) calls the “4 Cs” – clarity, coherence, consistency, and correctness.

 

As they are reading, editors will want to ask themselves:

·      Is the writing clear (clarity)?

·      Is it logical and easy to follow (coherence)?

·      Is it consistent, for example, in the use of terms, verb tense, etc. (consistency)?

·      Is the information accurate (correctness)?

 

What Skills do Editors Need?

A good editor will have these skills:

·      A good vocabulary

·      An eye for detail

·      Grammar and punctuation sense

·      Ability to read a variety of materials written in different styles

·      Love of reading

 

While editors are reading for grammar and punctuation mistakes, they are also looking at other details like readability, sentence structure, and word flow. They look at the nitty-gritty details as well as the whole picture. That being said, there are different types of editing.

 

Let’s explore the types of editing to see which one piques your interest or lends itself to your strengths. You may even find more than one type appeals to you.

 

Types of Editing

Here is a brief summary of the different types of editing.

 

1.    Developmental/structural editing. Developmental editing looks at the big picture, like a novel or short story’s plot, theme, and characters. A developmental editor examines the whole project and its structure and may rearrange sections, identify confusing content, and add features like headings and bulleted lists. They assess the tone and voice and make sure the work meets brand/style guide requirements, if there are any.

2.    Line/stylistic editing. Line editing is done line by line, paragraph by paragraph. It looks at word choice, sentence structure, verb tense, and scene and image descriptions like in books. This type of editing also ensures the words and prose flow and the tone and style are consistent. Line editing can be done in conjunction with developmental editing.

 

3.    Copyediting/mechanical editing. Copyediting or mechanical editing looks closely for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and word usage mistakes. Copy editors also do fact-checking and follow style guides. These types of editors are called mechanical editors because they aren’t concerned with the content of the story as much as the correctness or “mechanics” of the language.

 

4.    Proofreading. Proofreading is the last step in the editing process before going to print (aka hitting the publish button or going live). Proofreaders look for the same issues as a copy editor, and many perform their editing on a printed, hard copy (especially for books). Proofreaders also look at formatting details like typesetting, line breaks, etc. Hence, this is the reason for working on a printed copy.

 

Getting Started

If any of these editing styles appeal to you and you feel editing is something you’d like to do, check out some of the professional organizations like The Society for Editing (ACES), Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA), and the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors   NAIWE.

 

Let your social network know you’re offering editing services – both by word of mouth and by creating social media posts. And to start practicing your skills, offer to help a friend by editing their resume or a coworker by reviewing their annual report.

 

Also, look into freelance sites like Fiverr where you can set up a profile with your editing services and start building your business.

 

Whichever type of editing calls to you, know that your talents are needed. Now, go out and put your superpowers to work!

 

 

Resources

Einsohn, Amy (2011). The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, with Exercises and Answer Keys. Berkeley, California: University of California.

Proofed.com -- Knowledge Hub  

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Writing and AI Detectors


 

 

Artificial Intelligence, AI, is all around us and is being used for some incredible things. Many of these things are new and exciting. Some even make our lives easier.

 

For writers, there are a plethora of AI writing tools (aka content generators) that do all sorts of things—create outlines, brainstorm ideas, summarize a topic, or fix grammar mistakes. These programs can also help you with your writing style. Need your prose to sound more conversational, formal, or witty? There’s an AI program for that.

 

As more and more AI writing tools are created, so are programs detecting their use. So, if you’re a student using AI to write your papers or essays for you, be aware that teachers and schools can use AI detectors to find out. The same goes for anyone writing scholarly research papers, blogs, professional articles, or other materials—publishers and employers may use AI detectors, too.

 

So, what do AI detectors look for? These detectors are looking to see if a machine or a human has done the writing. They look for specific characteristics in the text. Is the text predictable and a bit generic? Are the sentences of similar length and the structure more conventional? It could be AI. Or are they dynamic with a richer vocabulary and less predictable sentence structure? Perhaps they have some typos and missing punctuation. Probably human.

 

Two terms related to detecting AI versus human content are the “burstiness” and “perplexity” of text. According to an article in scribbr.com, burstiness is “a measure of variation in sentence structure and length.” Low burstiness means the content is most likely AI-generated. Scribbr.com describes perplexity as “a measure of how unpredictable text is.” Like burstiness, the lower the perplexity, the more likely the material is AI-generated.

 

There are dozens of AI detectors on the market. Some, like copyleaks.com and gptzero.me, have you copy and paste your text into a box on their website and they will instantly “detect” the source it’s from. Is it ChatGPT? ChatGPT 4? Bard? Human? Human + AI? They can tell. Others like Winston AI and crossplag.com require you to sign up and create an account before you can try their detection tool.

 

Concerns have been raised about the accuracy of AI detectors. Some detectors are better than others. According to theblogsmith.com, one of the reasons the accuracy of these detectors varies is because each AI tool is (1) trained on different content datasets, and (2) AI detectors are “based in large part on probabilities.” While no detectors are 100% accurate and each has limitations, as AI content generators get more sophisticated, detectors will as well.

 

If you choose to use AI-generated content, remember to:

 

1.     Use it wisely—use it in conjunction with your writing, like a writing assistant, to generate ideas or outlines, but not to write your work for you.

2.     Double-check the information it generates for accuracy and if it makes sense.

3.     Cite the AI tool you used as one of your sources. Any AI material you include needs to be acknowledged. You can’t claim it as your original work if you didn’t write it yourself.

 

As someone with a lifelong passion for writing, I have conflicting feelings about AI and its impact on what is being written and published. Who will monitor the AI-generated content to ensure it’s being used correctly and that the information it generates is accurate and true?

 

Have you used any of the AI-generating tools? Which ones? Have you—or anyone you know—used an AI detector for their work? Let us know.

 

Resources

·      14 Best AI Plagiarism Checkers to Detect ChatGPT-Generated Content

·      10 Best AI Detection Tools for Teachers & Professors

·      10 AI Content Detection Tools You Should Know About

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Let’s Get Write on It

 

As writers, we choose to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard for all sorts of reasons. We write because we feel compelled to share our story or weave a new one or just to express ourselves. Or we need to write that report for school or work.

 

Let’s explore more reasons why—and what—we write.

 

Why do we write?

People write for all sorts of reasons—to express themselves, to be creative, to share an experience, to get published, or to reflect. These are just a few of the many reasons. Some people write for professional reasons and some just for themselves.

 

Writing can be a way to sort our thoughts or write down our frustrations. Or perhaps we’re finally ready to write that story we’ve been carrying around in our head.

 

What do we write?

There are all sorts of things to write—from journaling and poetry to novels and short stories—to sharing a life experience. There are academic papers that include research and technical manuals outlining instructions. Some of us write songs, podcast scripts, blogs, and even letters.

 

What are some benefits of writing?

Writing can have all sorts of benefits. It’s good for your mental health. It generates creativity, improves concentration, widens your vocabulary, and reduces stress. These are just some of the benefits—I’m sure many of us could add to this list.

 

How do I get started writing?

If you’re thinking about writing—just start. No need to wait for the perfect moment. It’s about getting your thoughts, notes, and ideas written down. There’s no right or wrong way to start. The key is to just begin. Writers all have to start somewhere.

 

If you’re writing for your job or school, you most likely will have a style and guidelines to follow. But if it’s for yourself, anything goes. You decide your format and your style.

 

Now that you’re ready to write, it’s time to decide on your medium. Is it a pen and paper like a journal or notebook? Or is it on your laptop using Microsoft Word or OneNote or Google Docs? Maybe it’s your iPad or tablet.

 

Next, find a comfortable writing spot and start jotting down your words and ideas. If you get stumped, that’s ok. Don’t let that stop you. Plus, if you get stuck, there are plenty of books and online resources to help you.

 

Finally, make writing a habit if you can or at the very least take advantage of a free moment or two to jot things down.

 

What types of writing tools are out there?

There are plenty of tools—from grammar checkers to writing guides to AI writing software. There are books and blogs and podcasts with all sorts of helpful information.

 

Is this the year you’re going to embark on your writing journey? Now’s the time to get right (pun intended) on it and get started!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Tips for Using Grammarly and Other AI Editing Tools Effectively

 

If you need some extra help with editing your writing project, consider using one of the many online AI editing tools that are now available. For help with grammar, typos, word usage, plagiarism, sentence structure, and more, these tools can help you polish your writing. Grammarly, ProWritingAid, QuillBot, WhiteSmoke, Readable, WordTune, Ginger, Sapling, and PaperRater—just to name a few—each offers assistance in their own unique ways. In this podcast episode, Kate talks about using an AI editing tool like Grammarly to help with your writing. Have you used any of these tools? Do you have a favorite one? Let us know in our discussion area.

 

Listen to Podcast

 

Editing with Kate! Episode 28 Transcripts

Resources

 

AI Editing Tools

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Exploring the Role of ChatGPT in Teaching, Learning, and Publishing

 

Join us for a free webinar on the role of ChatGPT in teaching, learning, and publishing. For more information and how to register for the webinar go to https://scoc-consulting.com/free-webinar-on-chatgpt.



Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Using AI Writing and Editing Tools

 

The use and influence of AI—Artificial Intelligence—is all around us. It’s in our GPS, our music streaming, our online shopping, our apps, our texts (thank you, autocorrect), and so on. It’s used by banks, the military, in education, by retailers, healthcare, the list goes on and on. With the influence of AI in our everyday lives, it’s not surprising that it also might influence many of our livelihoods—and probably has already for many of us. On this episode of Editing with Kate, Kate describes her experience with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google’s Bard, Grammarly, and Wordtune. Do you think these technologies are going to change the lives of students, writers, and editors? Let us know in this space.

Grammarly is planning to release a tool called GrammarlyGo. You may want to check it out!

 

Listen to Podcast


 

-------------------------

TRANSCRIPTS

As you can see, the answers I received were well written and neatly organized. And they saved a lot of time. The results came in seconds. It actually was fun to see the results come through.

 

OpenAI’s ChatGPT First Response

What are the pros and cons for using AI to write and edit blogs?

Pros:

  1. Efficiency: Using AI to write and edit blogs can save a significant amount of time and effort. The AI can quickly generate and revise content, which would have taken a human writer much longer.
  2. Consistency: AI can produce consistent content in terms of tone, style, and formatting. This can help maintain brand identity and voice across multiple blog posts.
  3. Speed: AI can generate content much faster than human writers, which can be beneficial in situations where speed is a priority, such as breaking news or trending topics.
  4. Accuracy: AI can be programmed to follow specific guidelines and rules, ensuring that the content is accurate, factually correct, and free from errors.

Cons:

  1. Lack of creativity: AI writing may lack the creativity and originality of human writing. AI-generated content may be formulaic and lack the nuance and complexity of human language.
  2. Limited scope: AI may have difficulty understanding and writing about topics that are abstract, complex, or nuanced. This can limit the range of topics that AI can cover in blogs.
  3. Limited context: AI may have difficulty understanding the broader context of a topic or understanding the tone and style of a particular publication or audience.
  4. Cost: The cost of developing and maintaining an AI system for writing and editing blogs can be high, especially for small businesses or individuals.

 

ChatGPT’s Regenerated Response

There are several pros and cons to using AI to write and edit blogs. Here are some of the most significant:

Pros:

  1. Time-saving: AI can quickly generate content, which can save a lot of time for writers and editors.
  2. Consistency: AI can maintain consistency in tone, language, and formatting, making the content more professional and coherent.
  3. Scalability: AI can generate content in large quantities, making it easier to produce a high volume of blog posts or articles.
  4. Customization: AI can generate content based on specific parameters, such as target audience, topic, and style.

Cons:

  1. Lack of creativity: AI lacks the creativity and originality that humans possess. As a result, the content generated by AI can be dull and uninteresting.
  2. Limited understanding: AI can struggle to understand context, nuance, and tone, which can result in inappropriate language and messaging.
  3. Inaccuracies: AI can produce inaccurate information, which can be harmful to readers.
  4. Cost: AI technology can be expensive to implement, and the cost of using it may outweigh the benefits.

Overall, while AI can be a useful tool in generating content, it should be used in conjunction with human expertise and oversight to ensure the accuracy, relevance, and quality of the content.

 

Bard’s Response, which was much the same as ChatGPT’s

What are the pros and cons of using AI to write blogs?

Here are some of the pros and cons of using AI to write blogs:

Pros:

  • AI can help you write blogs faster and more efficiently.
  • AI can help you write blogs that are more engaging and interesting to read.
  • AI can help you write blogs that are more SEO-friendly.
  • AI can help you write blogs that are more tailored to your target audience.

Cons:

  • AI-generated content may not be as high quality as human-generated content.
  • AI-generated content may not be as original as human-generated content.
  • AI-generated content may not be as creative as human-generated content.
  • AI-generated content may not be as well-researched as human-generated content.

 

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use AI to write blogs is up to you. If you are looking for a way to save time and produce high-quality content, then AI may be a good option for you. However, if you are looking for content that is truly unique and original, then you may want to consider hiring a human writer.

 

Here are some additional things to consider when using AI to write blogs:

  • Make sure that you are using a reputable AI writing tool. There are many AI writing tools available, but not all of them are created equal. Do some research to find a tool that has a good reputation and that produces high-quality content.
  • Be clear about your goals for your blog. What do you want to achieve with your blog? Are you trying to inform, entertain, or persuade your readers? Once you know your goals, you can choose an AI writing tool that is best suited for those goals.
  • Be prepared to edit and proofread the content that AI generates. AI writing tools can be very helpful, but they are not perfect. You will still need to edit and proofread the content to make sure that it is free of errors and that it meets your standards.
  • Be aware of the potential for plagiarism. AI writing tools can sometimes generate content that is plagiarized from other sources. Be sure to check the content that AI generates for plagiarism before you publish it.

 

Overall, AI can be a valuable tool for bloggers, but it is important to use it wisely. By following the tips above, you can use AI to write high-quality content that will help you achieve your blogging goals.

 

 


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Case Studies in a Nutshell

 


Case studies are used in all sorts of fields to take a problem or issue, look for a solution, and present solutions. Case studies can be help provide solutions to a problem. Different fields use them differently. Businesses might use them to showcase how they solved a problem for one customer and can do it for you too. Clinical case studies can apply to helping with a medical problem. On this episode of Editing with Kate, we talk about case studies and their advantages and disadvantages. 

Have you worked on a case study? We’d be interested in any insights you have on them. Share them in our discussion area.

 

Listen to Podcast

 

 

References

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Eight Common APA Mistakes

 

By Kate Devlin

If you are writing a paper that needs to follow APA style guidelines, read on to see how to avoid some of the most common mistakes writers make.

What are some of the most common issues writers run into with APA style?

As most writers following APA style have probably already realized, there are many dos and don’ts when it comes to APA style. While there are many rules to follow, you may find that the more you work with them, the more familiar they become. You might even become an expert!

You are not alone if you struggle a bit with following APA style. There are great resources to guide you like the American Psychological Association’s website (apastyle.apa.org).

Here are some of the most common mistakes to watch out for:

  1. Pay attention to verb tense. Use past tense for the literature review, the methodology section (if it’s already happened), and the results section.
  2. Use what is called the Oxford comma (also known as the serial comma) for a series of items. This means that if you have a series of items, you put a comma after each item and before the “and.” For example, I like apples [comma], pears [comma], and grapes.
  3. Only use one space after a period, not two. (This is good practice for whatever you write since two spaces after a period has not been in practice for a while now.)
  4. For quotations, be sure to lead into your quote with a sentence or two introducing it, such as why it’s important and how it relates to what you are writing about. Don’t just leave the quote hanging with no explanation.
  5. Be sure to use transitions between paragraphs and sections. They help guide the reader through your paper. Transitions are words like “first,” “second,” “next,” or “finally.”
  6. Be sure you are using the correct formatting for your in-text citations and your reference list. The APA website has many examples to help you. Also, be sure that any references cited in your text match the ones listed on your reference pages.
  7. Check your formatting—from the title page to the last appendix section, APA has rules for it all—margins, fonts, alignment, indentation, tables and figures, citations, etc. But don’t worry, while APA has many requirements, they also have plenty of examples to follow—another instance where the APA website will help you tremendously.
  8. Be sure that the purpose statement that you use throughout your paper is consistent. You don’t want to send mixed messages to your reader.

 

While there seem to be a lot of rules to remember when it comes to APA style, there are also lots of online tips and examples to help you.

Resources

Is Editing Your Superpower?

  Do you like working with words? Do you often find typos and mistakes in the things you read?   Do you have a knack ...