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The Editor's Companion

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The Editor's Companion

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The Editor's Companion
By Steve Dunham
Writer's Digest Books, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-5996-3902-4

Reviewed by Boris Segel - March 9, 2015

The Editor's Companion is a handy reference for anyone who needs to do a little editing. This is not a 'how-to edit' guide, rather than being about the craft it is more about the art of editing. It is about learning how to help writers better communicate with their readers. It is about deciding when breaking the 'rules' of grammar is the correct thing to do, and when it is wrong. It is about learning how to choose the right word for the intended audience, how to choose catchy headlines that are accurate and easy to understand, and so much more.

In this text you will not find a list of editing or proofreading marks. Nor is this a style book or editing textbook. The book's author, Steve Dunham, has worked for years as a professional editor in a variety of mediums, and he has taught editing classes. In this book, rather than rehashing general editing advice that can be found in countless books, he has distilled his years of experience into a handy, readable reference book that highlights the key skills needed by editors and which focuses on some of the more tricky areas of their craft that they need to take special care with.

The Editor's Companion is organized into eleven chapters covering a range of subjects from the Marks of Good Writing and Editing for Precise Language to Editorial Relationships and one aptly titled chapter, Ones That Got Away. This last chapter highlights real-life examples of mistakes that made it into print. These mistakes range from misleading headlines to ads featuring poorly chosen wording. These 'mistakes' are both edifying and often humourous. Throughout The Editor's Companion, Dunham has incorporated real-life examples to illustrate his points, and has included numerous quotes and excerpts that reinforce the information that he provides.

This book is geared toward both novice editors and those who have been working in the field for a while. Novice editors will find that this book answer many questions and it points out potential trouble spots that they need to keep an eye on. Nonetheless, they will still need to resort to a more traditional editing text from time to time, until they become more seasoned. However, this book will speed their apprenticeship from novice editor to master of the craft. In addition, Dunham has included a list of both print and online resources that will prove valuable to both novice and more advanced editors.

Although primarily geared to editors, this book will also benefit writers. Not only does it illustrates just how vital an editor is in a writer's life, but it also provides some sage advice that writers can incorporate into their own work. By doing so their prose will be stronger and more focused.

No matter what type of material you are editing, The Editor's Companion will help to increase both your technical and artistic editing skills. In addition it will help writers to improve the readability and cohesiveness of their own work. In short, The Editor's Companion is a practical and helpful resource for anyone interested in producing copy of the highest quality.

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