Ripping Apart An Existing Article
Occasionally, I get a request from a client to take their existing articles and rewrite each one with a fresh “voice” or style. I usually look at these types of projects with a bit of suspicion, as I wonder if the articles are owned by the client or swiped from someone else. I only proceed if I am confident that the articles are, indeed, the intellectual property of the person possessing them. Once I get the articles in hand, I look over each one carefully to see what must be done to whip them into shape. I must tell you I have received some of the worst written rubbish from gleeful clients expecting me to improve upon their initial poor efforts. Let’s just say that I never tell my clients exactly what I think of their original work, but I am not shy about doing a hatchet job on an article either! I like red pens and I bring one out and start crossing out sentences, correcting grammar, adjusting paragraphs, and inserting my notes.
There are times when my “marks” seem to outnumber the words that were previously typed or written. If the client gives to me the project on diskette, I simply insert the diskette [after running a virus check, of course] and print out each article in Microsoft Word and go at it. If no diskette is supplied then I simply input the article with my changes included and take it from there. Normally, I must redo all or parts of an article two or three times before I get a good feel for it. Then and only then is it sent off to the customer for their review.
Quite frankly, it is easier for me to write an article from scratch then it is to take an existing article and rip it apart. Still, I savor the challenge and usually get a “job well done” in response as I transform an existing piece from an ugly duckling into a graceful swan.
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