Saturday, July 17, 2021By:
This week was pretty busy. Draft due early in the week, research due by the end, and preparation for the September magazine gave me lots to do.
My first task for the week was to finish the story I’ve been working on. My draft was basically complete on Friday, but I wanted the weekend to refresh my eyes before sending it in. It was a good thing I did because there was a lot that I changed. I had about 80 words to delete to get it back under the word limit, so my first edit was finding those. But after deleting all the extra words and sentences, I realized there was more I wanted to say. The only problem was I couldn’t figure out where. I tried lots of different places but none of them seemed right. Even in my final draft it didn’t feel right. And the editors agreed. They said it felt out of place, so I’m going to need to add more context to keep it. That is, if I need to keep it. I worked on addressing the edits on Friday, but it was difficult. Hopefully I can have that done by early next week.
Another interesting thing in the edits was Physics Today’s policy on quotes. Since we often check with those quoted before publishing, it's okay to change the quotes—but only a little. If you cut out the middle of a quote, you’re supposed to replace it with an ellipsis. But Physics Today doesn’t do that. At one of my previous jobs, we had a similar policy. There, we even let sources change their quotes!
In addition, we don’t have to cite everything they said. For example, at The Pitt News (University of Pittsburgh’s student newspaper), you couldn’t just say “the water was cold.” You had to write “the water was cold, they said.” But at Physics Today, you don’t need the “they said.” I found that to be surprising. Every publication is a little bit different, so you just have to know who you’re writing for.
We finished the week with our meetings for the September issue. Editors chose which stories would go into the magazine. I think I will be getting more work next week because I will be writing more book and media reviews. But I like busy—keeps things exciting.
Madison Brewer (she/her)