Editing guidE

Thank you for participating in the interview editing process. Your assistance with the editorial work allows us to be quicker and more efficient in sharing interviews with our network of collaborating university and national literary magazines. This also opens up more time for us to expand the scope of exhibitions to include more interviews with a university’s faculty and alumni, as well as extend our educational initiatives. 

The process is simple and comprises the following 3 steps.

1/ Dropbox: Finding the files
We will share with you a folder via Dropbox, which includes the recording and transcription of the interview. The folder will be named after the writer whose interview you will be editing. In it, you will find the recording in a .mp3 format and the transcription in a Word file. You can share this folder with others who will help with editing the interview. 

2/ ExpressScribe: Listening and editing
We recommend using ExpressScribe to listen to the recording while editing the transcription. It allows you to listen to the recording at the speed you wish and you can create shortcuts to play, stop/pause, step back and forward five seconds to facilitate the editing process (please see section on ExpressScribe Help).

Copy and paste the section you want to edit from the Word document onto ExpressScribe if it is easier for you to make edits, but don’t forget to make changes to the Word document as well i.e. the document you will eventually submit.

3/ Dropbox/Email: Submission
When your publication has completed the edits, please upload the edited version of the transcription in a Word document and rename the file with the word “EDITED” in bold in front of the original title. Remember to include the names of the individuals who have helped with the editing in this document so that we may acknowledge their contributions and credit them in the exhibition. Do remember to drop us an email to let us know when the complete edited file is ready!



How long is the recording of each interview? How long does the editing process take?
One full interview generally lasts around an hour. The work could, however, be divided among a number of people. The interview could be, for instance, divided by time into 10 to 15-minute blocks or by pages on the Word document. 

The transcriptions to be edited are already fairly accurate. Our official partner is Verb8tm (the company who creates transcriptions for NPR). However, we find parts of the text may need a little polishing before publication. Some similar-sounding words such as “their” and “they’re” also tend to be transcribed wrongly. That's why we are most grateful for a little assistance. 

Are there any guidelines for editing? 
Excessive editing is not required as we aim for an expansive conversational style which captures the spirit of the exchange. Think of a cross between The Paris Review's in-depth interviews and NPR's Fresh Air.

We trust editors to use their own judgment, eliminating most instances of filler words or expressions of hesitation (um, er, you know, etc.) so as long as the interview retains a natural conversational tone.

Sometimes an interviewee will repeat an expression for emphasis. Unless it is an obvious redundancy, we generally retain repetitions because we wish to give of glimpse of the writer’s thinking process and speaking style.

Neil Gaiman: When I was a kid, that was how I assumed the way the world worked. When I was a kid, that was the way that I saw. (Here, we prefer to retain Gaiman's repetition and natural rhythm and remain faithful to the words he used.)

Excessive edit: When I was a kid, that was how I assumed the way the world worked. That was what I saw. 

In most cases, we prefer to retain the writer's actual words and not put words in their mouth. However, there are times when an interviewee hesitates, revises, or changes their mind mid-sentence. In those cases, we trust you to use your judgment and eliminate unnecessary or unclear words. You could also choose to use an em dash (see to indicate a break in the chain of thought of the writer when the person rephrases what he or she is saying, if you think that it is interesting for the writer’s words to be kept as opposed to deleted.)

If we really can’t make out what the interviewee is saying and would like confirmation from The Creative Process, what do we do?
If any word(s) is/are inaudible or difficult to hear, please just mark [...] on the transcription document and place an approximate time stamp next to it e.g. [3:02 ...]. You could also include your suggestion for what the writer is saying instead of using an ellipsis e.g. [3:02 Your suggested transcription here?].

We don’t use Dropbox. Is there another way you could share the files with us?
We can share them with you via WeTransfer, but as the size of each recording is around 45MB, it would be a lot faster via Dropbox! If you’re not using Dropbox, please submit the final edited file via email to: In the subject line of your email, please include: Name of Interviewee + Name of Your Publication e.g. Hilary Mantel, Berkeley Fiction Review.

We use Pages instead of Word. Is it okay to use Pages?
Yes, we use Pages too! Let us know if this is the case and we will change the Word file into Pages in the Dropbox folder. 

Can we work off the given transcription document in the Dropbox folder and save the changes on that file instead of saving the edited interview as a separate file?
Yes, this is possible, but if you decide to share the work among many people, it might get complicated with many people working on the same file at a time. To avoid the potential problem of changes of being saved, it would be safer to work off separate files and compile the changes into one complete edited document. 

What happens after the interview is edited?
As soon as we receive the edited interview from you, we will review it and share excerpts across our network of participating university and national literary magazines. Your university publication can look forward to more interview excerpts for publication. Everyone who participates in the editing process will be credited online and in the traveling exhibitions. They will also receive a small commemorative artwork for their participation in this process.

What is the turnaround time for editing this interview?
2-4 weeks would be great. If you think it might take longer, please let us know.

Will you send us updates of available interviews?
Yes, we send participating magazines updates of interviews which have been edited and are ready to publish.

ExpressScribe Help

We recommend using the freeware Express Scribe. You can find a free download for Mac at this link:,0301-3276-24726.html.

To create them, follow this trajectory: Preferences > Hot-Keys
Check the box “Enable system-wide hot-keys” 

Useful/recommended shortcuts for Mac (Commands may vary for PC.)
Command+Shift+T            Create Time Stamp
Command+J                    Jump to Time

Alt/Option + B                 Step back 5s
Alt/Option + F                 Step forward 5s
Alt/Option + P            Play
Alt/Option + S            Stop

Tip: Do not use shortcuts already in use by your system i.e. if Command+C is your system’s shortcut for copying text, choose separate keys for your ExpressScribe shortcut or you will no longer be able to use Command+C to copy text.