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)
Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.