Sloppy Seconds

How’s that for a powerful headline? Got your attention, right?

But I’m talking about the editorial second pass. As a writer, you may not be aware of this; if you’ve done any type of editing at all, you better know what I’m talking about.

The second pass is an editor’s saving grace; this is where you, we, catch everything, and I mean everything that we missed during the first pass.

During the first pass, editors are hyper-focused on scrubbing copy to improve readability, correct misspelled words, hunt down grammar problems, find pesky punctuation errors, and oh, fix that little thing called voice, tone, and style. So, yeah, they have a lot on their plates. Thinking about the copy and seeing it the way the reader should isn’t really at the top of their list.

Enter the second pass, or as I like to call it, the saving grace. This is the second take, where editors can actually read the copy like a reader would at a reader’s pace instead of at an editor’s pace. This is where editors look for typos, clumsy copy, awkward passages, and any other snafus that were missed in the first pass.

The second pass is not to be taken lightly; editors who skip the saving grace are either 1) above reproach, perfect beyond compare, 2) have minions who do their seconds for them, or 3) think themselves too good to have to do a second pass and end up with copy riddled with errors.

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