“Rosemary really cared about my goals, and her editorial guidance brought out my best work.”
Tod Stewart is a Toronto-based wine, spirits, food, travel, and lifestyle writer with over 35 years of industry experience. He contributes to newspapers, periodicals, and trade magazines. He is also a consultant to the hospitality industry.
At A Glance
Tod Stewart was tasked with writing a high-quality article about his trip to Italy that would be entered into an international competition. But, time was short, and Tod needed help streamlining his experiences into an engaging and winning story.
The key to success was implementing a tight editorial process that involved a regular meeting schedule, interviews, structural editing, and proofreading.
“I’m not sure I would’ve been able to make the deadline without Rosemary’s professional eye for detail.”
Although Tod is an accomplished writer, editing one’s own writing is challenging at the best of times. Add in deadline constraints coupled with strict contest criteria and a long list of amazing experiences throughout his travels in Italy, and suddenly, crafting the best possible travel article seemed almost impossible. Producing a great account of his travels under such constraints required a careful approach.
Tod wanted to do justice to all the beautiful cities he visited, the wonderful people he met, the spectacular hotels that hosted his stay, and the delicious food and wine he sampled. Because this trip was sponsored, Tod needed to be mindful that all relevant details were included in the article. At the same time, the article could not sound like an advertisement. It needed to be a cohesive, entertaining, and informative piece.
Together, Tod and I devised a revision schedule that would keep him on track to completing the article by the deadline. I began by asking Tod a series of pointed questions that were designed to help him define the intent of the article and refine how he might showcase his most relevant experiences in Italy.
Together, we assessed the value of each one of those experiences. We also determined whether he had collected sufficient information about each city and venue he had visited. Given that this trip was sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission and co-hosted by CIA-Agricoltori Italiani, we needed to ensure that those who worked with the agency to host Tod were properly acknowledged as well. Throughout this entire idea development stage, I helped Tod choose which of his trip experiences were the most colourful and best conveyed the story he wanted to tell.
Once the best and most important highlights of his trip had been chosen, I launched into a structural analysis of the piece. This part of the editorial cycle ensured that the article had a natural flow from beginning to end, and from one experience to the next.
Throughout the revision process, we kept a check on whether Tod’s ideas were clearly explained. We also identified unanswered questions and filled in any missing information. Wrestling the word count down to the maximum allowable is always a demanding task. The challenge is to keep the flow of the article without introducing gaps. I worked with Tod to identify redundancies and tighten the way he wrote about his travel experiences. By the end of that revision process, the article met the required word count and overall readability improved.
The final proofreading stage caught spelling gaffes, tense shifts, and other problems that would impede readability. I also fact-checked Tod’s information by verifying the accuracy of the names, titles, dates, locations, and quotes.
“Rosemary not only pointed out errors, she also made me think about why I made the choices I made.”
Tod’s completed article matched all the contest criteria and was submitted to the publisher by the deadline. He received positive feedback from the restaurants, wineries, hotels, and tourist associations he had visited. Tod also received accolades from the Italian Trade Commission and CIA-Agricoltori Italiani . Tod’s published article went on to win the Green Flag Agri-Press International Award for outstanding travel writing.