Brush up on your editing terms

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Writer and editors have various terms and jargon that go with the profession. Here are just a few of the commonly used terms and their definitions.

Article tracking form: A form used to follow the progress of an article through the production process.

Big picture editing: Editing with attention to the overall structure.

Callout: A quote from the article printed in large type. It is usually placed on the second or subsequent spread of an article. Callouts serve as a design element and create reader curiosity about the article content.

Editorial plan: A detailed description of the magazine’s content, including what types of articles will appear and descriptions of regular columns and features.

First rights: The right to publish a work the first time, after which publishing rights return to the author.

Guidelines for writers: A written statement describing how to submit material and what kind of material is accepted.

Magazine profile: A description of the magazine’s purpose, intended readers, format, content, tone, and overall design.

Pass (as in first or second pass): Each incidence of reading through and making changes in an article.

Passive verb: A verb in which the subject is acted upon. For example: “The book was read by her.” In English, an active verb is a stronger construction. An example of an active construction would be: “She read the book.”

Query/query letter: A letter in which a writer proposes writing a specific article for a publisher.

Rights: The legal right to publish a certain work.

Seasonal material: Material that is linked to and published during or prior to a season—for example, Christmas or summer.

Sidebar: A small article related to the main article and presented alongside it, often in a box.

Simultaneous submission: A query or manuscript that is submitted to more than one publication at the same time.

Style sheet: A written description of a publication’s style on ambiguous matters such as capitalization, punctuation, use of numbers, and the like.

Target audience: The audience a magazine is intended to reach.

Transition: A verbal bridge connecting paragraphs or sections.

Purchase one of our manuals that cover writing, design, management, and editing. Each manual contains an extensive glossary of terms.

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