Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Atlantic's Rules for Making a Good Publication

There are some basics to editing and creating a good magazine that are timeless, and still apply even as magazines are expanding beyond paper. Posted on TheAtlantic.com is a copy of 12 Timeless Rules that have been pinned up in the Atlantic's office for a long time. (Go to the link if the image above is too small.)

Included in the list is a pointer that I think all editors should follow: "Don't over-edit." This is particularly a habit of newer editors, I find, as well as ones who wish they were writers. I over-edited when I first started, in part because I felt as if I had to do something to a manuscript to prove I was doing my job. And sometimes when you struggle with a passage, it helps to erase all your editing marks and start over – you may just be overcomplicating things.

I'm curious to know how many magazines out there have their own version of rules that its editors should follow. Do you have a list pinned up by your desk, or perhaps a mission statement? Do you look at it often, revisit it when you need help making a decision about a story? Let me know in the comments, even perhaps share some of your more favourite rules.

Hat tip to Kevin Spurgaitis (Twitter feed)

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