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Editing II (Diversifying Editing Skills)

Course CodeBWR302
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Take your editing skills to the next level

Kick your editing skills up a notch with this intermediate level course. Work alongside our industry-experienced staff to expand your knowledge of text, publishing, and new forms of media. Building on the material offered in Editing i, this course will help you with the finer points of editing, including layout, headings, technical aspects, ethical questions, and more. 

Student Comment
"I commenced the Creative Writing Course with the ACS having had no prior experience in this field whatsoever.
Having always been in accounting or payroll jobs, I decided to give the course a go. The course demonstrated to me what I enjoyed writing about, the types of writing I was good at, and not so good at. It broadened my horizon to show me what was out there to write about. It gave me knowledge and confidence. I have continued to write, and in the future want to commence with the next course, but in the meantime, I have submitted various articles of mine to some magazines and have had nothing but positive feedback from all the editors and some of my work is to be published!! Which I personally feel is fantastic as I have only been doing this for a year or so. Thank you for opening up a whole new world of creativity to me which I can only enhance upon!!"  
- Jo


Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Editing
    • State of the Art
    • Scope and nature of the work
    • Traditional and modern editing
    • Editing terminology
    • Writing job specifications.
  2. Refining Text Exiting
    • Common traps
    • Proofing documents
    • How much editing is appropriate
    • Who does what
    • More terminology.
  3. Editing Headings in something
    • Headlines and Captions
    • Heading
    • Captions
    • Supporting material
    • Headings
    • Headlines
    • More terminology
  4. Proofing Graphics
    • Line drawings
    • Technical illustrations
    • Half tones
    • Maps
    • Charts
    • Tables
    • Diagrams
    • Electronic processing of graphic images
    • Bits and colour depth
    • Pixels and resolution
    • Colour and black and white
    • Image formats
    • Types of files
    • Processing graphics
    • Choosing and designing with photos
    • What does the editor need to do with graphics
    • Electronic publishing
    • Terminology.
  5. Editing and Design
    • Layout and design
    • Page Layout
    • Desktop publishing software
    • What is desktop publishing
    • Image manipulation.
  6. Matching Style and Context
    • Targeting the reader
    • Style
    • Terminology.
  7. Legal and Ethical Issues
    • Legal and ethical issues in publishing
    • Copyright
    • Copyright free materials
    • Copyright misconceptions
    • Defamation
    • Libel
    • Contract law
    • Right to privacy
    • Reporting restrictions
    • Law and the internet
    • CD/film and other electronic publishing
    • Terminology.
  8. Editing Project
    • A practical editing project to end the course and utilise your new skills.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • To review the current state of editing, determining its scope, nature and trends
  • To identify and edit text errors that commonly occur in a variety of publishing situations.
  • To write and edit a variety of different headings and captions.
  • To select, edit and mark up graphic illustrations.
  • To edit the layout or design of a publication.
  • To identify an appropriate style for the context of a publication, and edit the text to match the determined style.
  • To edit text in order to remove legal and/or ethical risks
  • Apply a broad range of skills to editing of a lengthy manuscript in a balanced way.


One of the commonest problems for editors is deciding how much, or how little, editing is required. Most editors have a natural tendency to over edit. By nature, editors are pedantic creatures and any mistake or any clumsy sentence, no matter how insignificant, is too painful to ignore. In an ideal world, we would edit every document to perfection; in reality, most documents only warrant fairly basic editing.

The bottom line is the budget. Editing should never send the project beyond its allocated budget – just like any other business, publishers set budgets to ensure the business remains viable.


Proofs can be checked in a variety of ways. However, a good plan is to read through the entire document twice before starting any work. This gives you an idea of what the document is about, and allows you to identify inconsistencies, omissions and passages that do not make sense.

When you begin editing or proofreading your document, be sure to pay special attention to the following:

  • Check the numbering of tables, figures, equations etc. is logical and consecutive.
  • Look for mistakes in the layout, such as missing or incorrectly placed items, inconsistent paragraph indents and margins, typographical errors.
  • Reference systems – the correct one should be used and checked.
  • Footnotes, appendices and so forth should be checked to ensure they meet the house style.
  • Word breaks – when a word is broken at the end of the line, it should be a logical break. It is best to avoid bad and misleading breaks such as reap-pear, rear-range, the-rapist.
  • Check routine details such as names, author’s name, dates etc.
  • Check for hyphenated words – make sure there is a hyphen there.
  • Check for misspellings. Spell checkers are fine, but they will only find misspelled words; they will not find inappropriately used words, for example, their instead of there, its instead of it’s.
  • Look for misplaced apostrophes. If you are unsure about many aspects of punctuation, check.
  • Check all text appears in the correct font.
  • Ensure any cross-references are correct.


An editor needs to ensure that the publication is relevant to the situation in which it is being published. In order to do this, the editor must understand who the audience or readership is (or at least is likely to be).

If children are likely to be seeing the publication, there may be censorship, not to mention ethical concerns, to be taken into account.

The educational background or language skills of the readership may also be an issue.

It is very important to take account of the audience the publication is intended for: 

  • The language must be appropriate – a modern slangy way of writing would probably not be appropriate for older people, whilst stiff traditional forms of writing would probably not be appropriate for teenagers. 
  • The language should not be offensive.
  • The language used must be age-appropriate. What a three-year-old understands is not going to be the same as a twelve-year-old.

When you edit a document you should consider the following:

  • What is the purpose of the work?
  • Who is likely to read it, and what is their likely level of understanding?
  • How will the work be used?
  • What is required?
  • When is the work required?
  • What decisions will be made based upon this work?
  • Does the reader need to have anything explained in order to understand the work (eg. Should a glossary or appendix be included?)


Style refers to the way in which words are used to convey images to the reader. Any document may be presented in a range of different styles. Consider a Shakespearean play being rewritten using modern language. This would be a change in style, but otherwise, the story could remain unchanged.

There are many different types of writing styles: formal, laid back, intense, old-fashioned, modern, youthful, descriptive, spare, instructional…to mention just a few.

Style often reflects aspects of the writer’s personality and character, and readers often identify with a particular writer’s style. If they like the style in one article or story, they will come to expect the same style in other article or stories by the same writer.

Most writers have a natural tendency to follow a particular style, and there is nothing wrong with maintaining a consistent style. Some writers will, however, develop an ability to vary their style according to the market they are writing for.

Some authors are concise and informative, but tend to be frugal in their use of adjectives. Such a style may be appropriate in a non-fiction book; or even fiction that demands conciseness (eg. a children’s story or a short story). Some writers tend to use simpler words. Others may choose to use more complex and challenging words, perhaps including words that not everyone would understand.

It is the editor’s role to ensure the writer’s style of writing is appropriate for the publication, and the style is consistent throughout the document. In most cases is not the editor’s role to change the style.




Meet some of our academics

John Mason John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.
Rachel SyersRachel has worked as a newspaper journalist for the past 15 years in a range of roles from sub-editor and social columnist to news reporter, covering rounds such as education, health, council, music, television, court, police, Aboriginal and Islander affairs, and agriculture. Her current role is Fashion Editor, features writer and features sub-editor with The Gold Coast Bulletin. She has co-authored a successful biography "Roma: From Prison to Paradise" about former prisoner-of-war turned yoga guru, Roma Blair, as well as freelanced as a writer, reviewer and researcher for Australian music and celebrity magazines such as WHO Weekly, Rave, Australasian Post and New Idea. Rachel has a B.Journalism.
Christine ToddUniversity lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social). An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.

Check out our eBooks

Creative WritingCreative writing is relevant for both fiction and non fiction, and in any place where you write, from business writing to technical reports and children's books. Writing that is creative will usually be more interesting, communicative and effective. Through this book you explore both how to be more creative, as well as how and where to use it.
English GrammarGrammar is a tool through which we can enhance communication through writing (as well as speech). Grammar provides a coherent structure for the expression of thoughts and ideas. By following grammatical rules we are able to compose logical sentences that make sense to the receiver. This ebook provides a comprehensive yet easy to follow guide. 79 pages
Photographic TechniquesExplore how to take better photos. This is a book packed full of practical tips, from the authors own experience, coupled with a solid introduction to well established and widely practiced photographic techniques. This is a well illustrated, excellent reference for students of photography; and an equally useful source of inspiration to the amateur photographer.
Project ManagementLearn to manage any type of project, in any industry. Six chapters cover the nature and scope of project management, risk and uncertainty, maintaining control, interpersonal relationships, the end game, and golden rules. This is a very concise text - easy to follow, with much of the information presented in bulleted lists. 72 pages