Comparing instructor editing styles

While each instructor strives to improve cherubs’ writing, their editing styles vary drastically. Some instructors emphasize line edits, while others focus on story organization.

Especially in the beginning of the program, papers were returned with more colorful pen ink than black and white text. Whether it was John Kupetz’s signature green scrawl or Mary Lou Song’s loopy purple, students learned to receive the feedback well.

“I was a little concerned [when I saw my paper], but then I started reading Mary Lou’s comments, and it made sense,” said Ryann Perlstein of Beverly Hills, California. “She cares a lot about if it’s a compelling story and if it flows, which I think is so helpful. She also really emphasizes being concise.”

“Green came from literary backgrounds,” Kupetz said. “It’s the color of hope from ‘The Great Gatsby’ and from ‘The Catcher in The Rye.’ I try to be thorough and always make sure the students keep their dignity. I hold them to professional standards, and I try to focus on how they can improve.”

“I decided to go with red because I really think it gets the point across,” instructor Carlin McCarthy said. “I don’t do a lot of line editing and grammar. I think that comes as you write more, so I do more general things — editorializing, does it make sense, are the organization and structure sound.”

“Sometimes I can’t read Joe’s handwriting, but he always sits down with me to help me decipher things,” said Kacee Haslett of Indianapolis. “He’s helped me work on staying clear and concise in my writing and also pushed me to get just one more interview because he knows I’m capable.”