You’ve written the article (or essay or book or report) and the structural editor has performed their magic, so now it’s time for detailed and rigorous copyediting:

  • correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, inaccuracies, omissions, repetitions, ambiguities, and language level
  • checking your journal articles against relevant style guidelines (e.g. Chicago Manual of Style, American Psychological Association, publisher-supplied style guide, your style guide, or our culturally safe style guide)
  • preparing and maintaining a style sheet that lists your style preferences
  • checking for potential libel, obscenity, plagiarism or breach of copyright
  • preparing preliminary pages and editing endmatter
  • preparing the final version of the manuscript for the designer or typesetter
  • writing cover blurbs and marketing material
  • maintaining records for all stages of the editing process, and
  • cultural safety assessment

I have copyedited many academic manuscripts to a publishable standard, such as ‘Voice of the Clinician: the Case of an Australian Health System‘, ‘First Nations Peoples’ Participation in the Development of Population-Wide Food and Nutrition Policy in Australia: A Political Economy and Cultural Safety Analysis‘ and ‘Cultural Safety and Child Protection Responses in Hospitals: a Scoping Review‘.


The final quality control check of your publication before it’s set in print. Independent eyes reading through your document can find surprising nmistakes. The proofreader is essential to the quality of the publication: “The editor spends many hours preparing a manuscript for publication, but this careful work needs to be followed up during the production stages to ensure that the published book is free of errors, well laid out, and as complete and accurate as possible” (The Australian Editing Handbook, 3rd Edition, p. 223).

Structural Editing

You’ve worked hard on your novel, shredding the midnight hours as well as manuscript pages, and its submitted to the publisher. They love it! Here’s the advance denaro on the condition that a structural edit is needed. This process means detailed attention to every aspect of your document.

  • establishing the structure and sequence of your manuscript
  • ensures that it is clear and unambiguous, logically organised, and comprehensive
  • suggesting improvements in style, structure, factual content, and illustration
  • assists with the development of characters, plot, and setting in fiction works
  • assists with the structure of formal reports and academic journal articles (social science)
  • tailors the language to suite the target market or to reduce sexist, racist or other bias, and
  • cultural safety assessment.

As well as my academic journals, my technical reports show my structural editing expertise. See: ‘An Aboriginal Cultural Safety and Security Framework‘; the Voice of the Clinician Project‘; and ‘Australian Open Disclosure Governance: Closed to Cultural Voice‘.

Cultural Safety in Editing and Writing Workshop

The concept of cultural safety means to respect the cultural values of the author and to empower their cultural voice in their writing. This 3 hour workshop, at $40 per participant (minimum 8 and maximum of 12), focusses on:

  • Question: what can I do to edit and write so that cultural voices are safe expressed in Australian English literature?
  • Structure: introduction to cultural safety, examples of culturally unsafe systems, examination of your writing, developing culturally safe editing standards, and strategies to increase cultural safety in editing and writing
  • Style: informal conversational style based on openness and inclusiveness in developing a shared understanding about cultural safety
  • Goal: you will leave with confidence in your ability to enable cultural safety through your practice
  • Examples of culturally dangerous writing: Helen Dale/Demidenko and the 1993 Australian literary hoax where the author falsely claimed Ukrainian heritage. More examples of culturally dangerous writing can be see in the “Whispering Gums” blog about Australian literary hoaxes.
  • Workshops are only available face-to-face in Newcastle (NSW, Australia)

Cultural Sensitivity Reading: Aboriginal Australian/First Nations Australian

I am asked “How do I write about Aboriginal people?” A simple question with difficult answers. The history of writing about First Nations Australians has left a legacy of racism, disempowerment, subjugation, stereotypes, and false tropes. As a Ngiyaampaa man and academic, I have enormous experience in reading literature written about Aboriginal people, without Aboriginal people. My analysis of your work will consider:

  1. The colonial basis of the writing process – what is your personal experience of First Nations peoples?
  2. The cultural identity of your writing – what are the messages that you are sending into literary discourse about First Nations Australians?
  3. The power of your writing – when your work is cited and used as a reference, could it diminish First Nations Australians?
  4. The authenticity of your writing – what are the motives behind your writing (because of truth, justice, memoir, or profit)?

Send me your technical report, short story, book, journal article, or thesis and I will conduct a cultural sensitivity reading and provide a written report. This involves reading your work (a quick read based on key word searching, plus in-depth reading of selected sections, plus overall reading of the manuscript to get a sense of the political and cultural messages); an examination of academic databases relevant to your topic so that I find academic authors who publish on a similar topic and from which I can assess the cultural messages of your work; an examination of world wide literature sources to assess the power of your writing; and discussion with you about the authenticity of your motives (plus a search of your publication history).

As an example of my cultural sensitivity style, “Read and listen to the “strong statements from hurt hearts and sad voices” in this new book: The Intervention – An Anthology

A detailed description of the editing process is provided on the website of the Institute of Professional Editors Australia (IPEd) of which Mark is an Associate Member.

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