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From the Writer’s Desk: A before-and-after side-by-side look at how a story is made

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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In the series, “From The Writer’s Desk,” I’ll describe what I do for a living as a writer and ideas I have for advancing my craft.

The stories you read often seem the sole work of the writer named in the byline. In reality, stories often go through many incarnations as part of a collaboration between the writer of a story and the editors who represent what their readers want and need.

Here I share with you the first and published versions of “Herding Schrodinger’s Cats,” my first story for NOVA’s physics blog “The Nature of Reality,” as well as my comments on revisions. Hopefully you’ll find them interesting.

I would recommend first reading my first version, then the published version, and then compare them side-by-side with my comments. “The Nature of Reality” is very conversational in tone, so you will get to see how my voice as a writer gets revised to also fit the voice of the blog. Also, since this is my first piece for “The Nature of Reality,” you will get to see how a story from a writer new to a publication can get revised to fit the storytelling needs of that publication.

Much thanks to PBS for allowing me the opportunity to do this!

Charles Q. Choi About the Author: Charles Q. Choi is a frequent contributor to Scientific American. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Science, Nature, Wired, and LiveScience, among others. In his spare time, he has traveled to all seven continents. Follow on Twitter @cqchoi.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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