July 2, 2013Line Editing
This is the fourth and final week of the 2013 Summer Briefwriting Institute.
Here are the sorts of things we fixed during the line editing:
- Delete jargon, like “comes now.”
- Delete useless dates, facts, and details.
- Remove unhelpful “hereinafters” when they not crucial.
- Don’t use a label like “plaintiff” for the name of your client.
- Remove or shorten block quotes when possible.
- Remove nasty talk about your opponent; judges don’t like it.
- Don’t use adjectives to comment on your own argument or that of your opponent.
- Fix spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
- Shorten, tighten.
And here are some things we did in the formatting phase:
- Make sure no headers are left at the end of the page without any accompanying text.
- Make your paragraph indent a half-inch or less.
- Replace underlining with italics for emphasis (bold is okay very occasionally).
- Use “smart quotes” so that your quotation marks and apostrophes are curly, not straight.
- Fix up the caption block with simple table formatting rather than constructing it from typewriter characters.