I choose not to provide samples of work done for private clientsoutside a few examples that I am using with permissionso most of the samples I share below reflect work done for public agencies. These are, nonetheless, a fairly broad reflection of my styles and methodsand capabilities.
Since I feel most of my talents and strengths lie in helping others to improve their writings, I seldom take the opportunity to write from scratch. Occasionally, however, I do get and take the chance. Below are some samples of materials I have authored . . .
An article for middle-schoolers
As editor of Tar Heel Junior Historiana magazine produced by the North Carolina Museum of History for, primarily, the state’s fourth-grade geography students, eighth-grade history students, and eleventh-grade government studentsfor several years in the 1990s, I typically wrote supplemental and filler text, definitions, timeline entries, credit lines, and acknowledgments for each issue. This low-res scan features an entire article I wrote to fill a gap in an issue on agriculture. The scan also includes an illustrated piece with text written to fit a storyboard developed in collaboration with a contract illustrator.
An entire book!
In 2007 I was contracted to outline, research, and write text for Orlando, Then and Now, one in a series of pictorial histories of cities in the western hemisphere. The hardback coffee-table book eventually contained scores of vintage “then” images and “now” photographs of the same building or block or area. Each spread consisted of the two images and a lengthy caption noting the location’s historical significance. I proudly present my introduction to the book as a sample of my writing.
A musical exhibit
“Turn the Radio On”: Carolina Bluegrass was the first of three exhibitions mounted at the North Carolina Museum of History to draw visitors from International Bluegrass Music Association annual conference sessions that were being held nearby in downtown Raleigh. In addition to editing this first installation, my initial role was to fact-check and expand on text originated by the exhibit curator. This document, then, can be used as more of a writing sample than an example of my editorial skills.
Additional writing samples:
- Jim Crow Days, part of a chapter in the African Americans in North Carolina Educator Notebook (mentioned, below, in the section on Educational Resources);
- draft text for the North Carolina timeline component of First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare (mentioned, below, in the section on Miscellaneous Projects); and
- the text throughout this website, all conceived, arranged, written, and revised over the years by me!
SUBSTANTIVE REVIEWS & COPY EDITS
As you scroll through these samples, note three trademarks of my reviews:
- in the running text, I place red-lined changes I’m proposing (note that, besides grammatical corrections, my changes are never mandated—like your old schoolteachers’ marks were—but are suggested changes or merely indications that some of the wording might not be saying quite what you intended it to say in the best way possible);
- in brackets within the running text, I place notes and reminders;
- in the comments sidebar, I place queries (some addressed to specific individuals, by name, and some addressed more generally and designated with three question marks), additional notes, possible options for rewording or rephrasing, and ideas for improving organization, logic, and intended meaningas well as compliments and praise!
While serving on exhibition teams over the past few years at the North Carolina Museum of History, I have reviewed and edited label text for dozens of in-house and traveling exhibits. Below are a selection of progressive substantive reviews and copy edits from an exhibit that was a hybrid of the two. Scent of the Pine, You Know How I Feel: North Carolina Art from the Jonathan P. Alcott Collection was a traveling exhibit that came to the Museum of History with label copy we found to be inconsistent, wordy, and sometimes incorrect. As editor for the exhibit, I worked with the museum curator to help improve the traveling exhibit’s packaged text by fact-checking and adjusting grammar and by reorganizing text to make the presentation more uniform and logical.
- Out of respect for the collector and the curator of the packaged portion of the exhibit, my initial substantive review of the text had a very light touch.
- Two additional document files arrived, or were created in-house, to complete the exhibit’s raw text. These reviews were initially handled separately, then merged into the main document.
- Substantive review: text for the collector’s biography and two section labels
- Substantive review: the museum curator’s introduction
- This file of final text has been edited (by myself and the museum’s editor-in-chief) and approved (by all originators and reviewers) and is ready for the next phase of work by a graphic designer.
As an editor at the North Carolina Museum of History, I was occasionally asked to provide reviews of grant applications. These two files illustrate substantive reviews of parts of two separate applications.
From Farm to Factory: Agriculture and Industry in North Carolina is one of a series of notebooks and kits created by the North Carolina Museum of History that is distributed on-demand to classrooms across the state. Notebooks contain lists of resources and lesson plans; kits contain reproduction objects, sample images, and period maps that provide a hands-on learning experience for students. Most of the lesson plans in From Farm to Factory were created as part of an earlier grant by educators at the museum. Lesson 8, “The Great Depression,” was added later. My role with Lesson 8 was to serve as substantive reviewer (reflected in the file named, in part, “ver1,hilited”) and copy editor (reflected in the progressive files named, in part, “ver2” and “ver3”).
- Substantive review: FromFarm2Factory- Lesson 8 The Great Depression – ver1,hilited
- Copy edit: FromFarm2Factory- Lesson 8 The Great Depression – ver2
- Copy edit: FromFarm2Factory- Lesson 8 The Great Depression – ver3
For additional information on the museum’s notebooks and kits, visit ncmuseumofhistory.org/learning/educators/history-in-a-box (note that I am not an editor for the website ncmuseumofhistory.org).
African Americans in North Carolina is the first in a new Educator Notebook series at the North Carolina Museum of History. The two files listed below provide a substantive review (A note about teaching enslavement – ver1,hilited) of some introductory text to the volume and a collaborative writing sample (Jim Crow Days – AANC 6-Intro) that introduces the Jim Crow concept to teachers. My role for the writing sample was to research background information and write the text, which was then reviewed and revised with team input.
- Substantive review: A note about teaching enslavement – ver1,hilited
- Writing sample: Jim Crow Days – AANC 6-Intro
For more information on the notebook series, visit ncmuseumofhistory.org/learning/educators/educator-notebooks (note that I am not an editor for the website ncmuseumofhistory.org).
Some projects I work on are so self-contained, from start to finish, that they make use of several talents, from working with teams or individuals to brainstorm topics and angles and outline goals and objectives, to writing, to performing self-reviews or collaborating with review teams to ensure substance and logic, to copy editing for errors in grammar and nuance, to packaging files for further production. The two projects below exemplify some of those types of projects.
Supplementary exhibit elements
The files listed below illustrate most of the steps involved in creating a timeline of events that were taking place in North Carolina during playwright William Shakespeare’s time. The timeline was used to make a North Carolina connection to Shakespeare as part of the traveling exhibit First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare, which stopped at the North Carolina Museum of History for a month in 2016. I submitted the concept, researched and wrote draft text, and worked with the exhibit team and a graphic designer to finalize text and space edit copy. The graphic designer’s final product is included at the bottom of this list.
- thoughts on Shakespeare-NC timeline
- Shakespeare-NCtimeline – ver1
- Shakespeare-NCtimeline – ver2
- Shakespeare-NCtimeline – ver3,hilitedCUTS
- Shakespeare-NCtimeline – ver4, for review
- Shakespeare-NCtimeline – ver5a, inclRVWRcmnts
- Shakespeare-NCtimeline – ver6-1stSpaceEdit,redlined
Personal histories involve working side by side with a person and his or her memories, helping to place those memories into historical context, and presenting them in a style that reflects the person. From the several personal histories I’ve been a part of, I have permission to share sections of two:
- a memoir of a World War II veteran who wanted his grandchildren to know where their family had come from; and
- a sort of fashion history/textbook that allowed a retiring teacher to continue sharing her research and insights.
Find additional information and links
online at www.linkedin.com/in/anEditor.
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