Writing & Editing

My extensive background in writing and editing ensures that even visual and interaction projects benefit from a well-rounded approach to communication. Moreover, the research habits developed during these writing projects have proven invaluable in doing the research required for usability testing and user-centered software design. I have interviewed literally hundreds of people, from computer users to farmers to professors to six former Secretaries of State.

John Boykin, Creative Director
info@wayfind.com
650-802-9998 or 650-906-5567
 

Writing samples
Medical/health booklets as author
Interactive media writing/editing
Video scripts, tutorials, Help, quick reference
Magazine articles as author: Science, medicine, technology
Magazine articles as author: Arts and humanities
Magazine articles as author: Social sciences
Magazine articles as author: Profiles
Magazine articles as editor
Books as author
Books as text editor
Radio commentary (NPR's "All Things Considered")
Interviewees
Teaching and speaking about editing and writing

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"Cursed Is the Peacemaker: The American Diplomat Versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982" by John Boykin, foreword by former Secretary of State George Shultz.

Award winning tale of how legendary American diplomat Philip Habib worked out a peaceful end to Ariel Sharon's 1982 siege of Beirut. Read sample chapter.

Medical/health booklets

[All published by Krames, 2004 or 2005. All have been translated into Spanish.]

“Understanding Heart Valve Surgery”

“Managing Heart Disease and Preventing Stroke”

“Elbow Owners Manual: Treating and Preventing Common Elbow Problems”

“Treatment Options for Damaged and Missing Teeth”

“Treating Erectile Dysfunction: Help for a Common Problem”

“Depression”

“Your Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy Journey”

“Stroke Recovery: A Caregiver’s Guide”

“Snoring and Sleep Apnea”

“What You Need to Know about Tuberculosis”

“What You Need to Know about Chlamydia”

“What You Need to Know about HIV/AIDS”

“Quit Smoking: This Time for Sure”

“Get Walking! For Better Health at Any Age”

Interactive Media Content Writing/Editing

Cogito Learning Media: "Electronic Companion to Intermediate Macroeconomics" (editor working with author Brad De Long on text; I wrote scripts for all animations and videos; information designer for all still and interactive illustrations)

Cogito Learning Media: "Electronic Companion to Biostatistics" (co-editor)

Valley View Inn: Web site (created entire site, including all copy writing)

Tricia's Place B&B: Web site (created entire site, including all copy writing)

Lumigenic: title on marine biology (wrote text, co-designed UI)

Now What Software: Small Blue Planet series, "The Real Picture World Atlas" interactive atlas,1996 ed.

Now What Software: Small Blue Planet series, "Earthscapes in Time" interactive atlas

Books That Work: Home Repair Encyclopedia 2.0

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Video scripts, tutorials, Help info, quick reference cards

Cogito Learning Media: "Electronic Companion to Intermediate Macroeconomics" (storyboarded and scripted all videos and animations). Read sample script about hyperinflation. Read sample script about expectations of inflation.

Mindscape: mPOWER multimedia presentation software (edited and updated User's Guide, created quick reference card)

Books That Work: Home Repair Encyclopedia 2.0 (wrote topic text, video scripts, Help, quick reference card)

Books That Work: 3D Landscape (created tutorial)

Books That Work: all 5 titles in Home & Garden series (created quick reference cards)

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Magazine articles as author: Science, medicine, technology

"The Heart Facts," Stanford Magazine (primer on cholesterol)

"Amazon: The River and the Rainforest," Stanford Magazine, (based on a trip there) Read excerpt

"On Call with Life Flight," Stanford Magazine (day in the life of Stanford Hospital's emergency helicopter service)

"Monterey Bay Aquarium," Stanford Magazine (how it was designed, built; includes rare interview with industrialist David Packard)

"Buying a Computer for the Real World," Stanford Magazine (what's important, what's not, setting priorities, criteria) -- reprinted in Journal of Property Management

"Surgery Without Scalpel--or Cure," Science 83 (story of a magician and physician who expose the fraud of psychic surgery)

"Enclave of the Castaways," Stanford Magazine (went to the Galapagos Islands off South America to write about their extraordinary animals) Read excerpt

"Liquid Life: The Water Beneath Us," Stanford Magazine, Spring 1982 (the geology, economics, management, politics, and pollution of groundwater) -- used by the national high school debate society in an anthology of articles about water, the 1982-83 debate topic

"Going for the Gaps," Stanford Magazine, Fall 1982 (interview with Nobel Prize-winning physicist Arthur Schawlow, co-inventor of the laser)

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Magazine articles as author: Arts and humanities

"The Editor as Photographer," Folio (three-part series on photo equipment, film and light, and taking the picture) Read article

"Building 'em Like They Used To," Stanford Magazine (how craftsmen hand-built and tuned Stanford's Renaissance organ)

"Without a Word," San Francisco Focus (review of performance by mime Marcel Marceau)

"Marcel Marceau Speaks," Dramatics Magazine (freewheeling conversation with the mime)

"Welcome Aboard the Sea Cloud," San Jose Mercury News (history and spirit of a remarkable tall ship)

"International Eisteddfod: The Welsh Song of Peace," World's Fair (first-person account of singing in this Welsh music festival)

"Be, Maybe Not Be, Which Decision Better?" Dramatics Magazine (profile of a man who signs theater--onstage, among the actors--for the deaf)

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Magazine articles as author: Social sciences

"Gorbachev: The Visit" Stanford Magazine (a skeptical account of Mikhail Gorbachev's photo op visit to Stanford)

"Abortion: Which Life? Whose Choice?" Stanford Magazine (a presentation of each side's case, with point-by-point replies from the other side)

"The Great Budget Balancing Act," Stanford Magazine (with Michael Boskin, chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers)

"Making Sense of South Africa," Stanford Magazine (origins and evolution of apartheid) -- to be reprinted in Writing Through the Humanities, a college anthology of writing models, to be published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1991

"Still Changing After All These Years," Stanford Magazine (U.S. Constitution, the unwritten constitution, comparisons with other constitutions, the notion of rights, judicial activism)

"Communism: Seeing Red," Stanford Magazine (what is really the enemy--an idea called communism or a nation called the Soviet Union?)

"With a Small Stick, Loudly," Stanford Magazine (Do economic sanctions work? If not, why are they our preferred weapon of foreign policy?) Read excerpt

"Making Sense of the Middle East," Stanford Magazine (ghostwritten, based on interviews. Part One on who the players are, Part Two on Arab-Israeli conflict) -- used by Knight-Ridder News Service to educate their reporters

"Why Do We Have a President?" Stanford Magazine (comparing the parliamentary and presidential systems of government)

"Philip Habib: Whatever it Takes," Stanford Magazine (rare on-record, substantive interview with the diplomat) -- reprinted in the New York Tribune

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Magazine articles as author: Profiles

"A Ride to Remember," The Stanford Magazine (profile of astronaut Sally Ride, based on exclusive interview)

"Creative Wars," Women's Sports (story of Dana Kramer-Rolls, one of the first female fighters in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which stages battles using medieval weapons and armor)

"Be, Maybe Not Be, Which Decision Better?" Dramatics (profile of a man who signs theater--onstage, among the actors--for the deaf) -- my photo reprinted in Theater: Preparation and Performance text book, Scott-Forsman, 1982

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Magazine articles as editor

There have been far too many to list here: an average of 2-3 per issue for 41 issues of Stanford Magazine for eleven years. Subjects were as diverse as business, history, law, psychology, art, economics, music, medicine, politics, philosophy, and particle physics.
My job was to come up with ideas for articles, do the preliminary research, hire and manage writers, obtain photos, edit and fact-check the text, plan page allocations for the whole magazine, proof the type, check layouts and art, and sometimes do press checks.
I was also project editor for the special 304-page centennial issue of Stanford Magazine, designing its theme, editorial structure, and management system and planning most of its hundreds of stories.
More recently I was a contributing editor to Stanford Lawyer Magazine, writing articles and editing long articles and speeches into concise excerpts for the "Forum" section.

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Books as author

"Cursed is the Peacemaker: The American Diplomat Versus the Israeli General, Beirut 1982," 2002 (the declassified tale of how legendary diplomat Philip Habib worked out a peaceful end to Ariel Sharon's 1982 siege of Beirut; based on thousands of pages of declassified documents and over 150 hours of interviews; American Academy of Diplomacy Book Award winner; a selection of the Diplomats and Diplomacy Book Series sponsored by two diplomacy organizations). Read excerpt.

"The Gospel of Coincidence," 1990, Zondervan subsidiary of HarperCollins (a way to help people make sense of their circumstances without resorting to superstition). Originally published in hardback under a different title in 1986. Has been translated into Chinese.

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Books as text editor

Communications Media in the Information Society, by Joseph Straubhaar & Robert LaRose, Wadsworth Publishing

Public Speaking: A Cultural Perspective, by Clella Jaffe, Wadsworth Publishing

Introduction to Psychology, Third Ed., by James Kalat, Brooks/Cole Publishing

Child Development: Risk and Opportunity, by Murray Krantz, Wadsworth Publishing

America! A Concise History, by W.J. Rorabaugh and Donald Critchlow, Wadsworth Publishing

Criminal Justice, by Geranno Vito and Ronald Holmes, Wadsworth Publishing

The Musical Experience, by Leonard Ratner, The Portable Stanford (was also production manager and recording producer)

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Some of the better-known people I have interviewed:

For "Cursed Is the Peacemaker"

  • Philip Habib, former special envoy to the Middle East
  • Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State
  • George Shultz, former Secretary of State
  • Cyrus Vance, former Secretary of State
  • Alexander Haig, former Secretary of State
  • Dean Rusk, former Secretary of State
  • Lawrence Eagleburger, former Secretary of State
  • Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense
  • William Colby, former Director of the CIA
  • Tony Lake, Pres. Clinton's National Security Adviser
  • Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica, 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner
  • Richard Holbrooke, negotiator of Dayton Peace Accords for Bosnia
  • Claiborne Pell, US senator
  • Richard Lugar, US senator

For other projects

  • Sandra Day O'Connor, US Supreme Court Justice
  • Bob Wright, president and CEO of NBC
  • Michael Boskin, chairman of Pres. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers
  • Arthur Schawlow, co-inventor of laser, Nobel Prize winner for physics
  • Marcel Marceau, mime

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Teaching and speaking about writing/editing

  • Case study in magazine editing and intro to interactive media, University of California-Berkeley Extension, Nov. 1994 (guest speaker)
  • Case study in magazine editing, University of California-Berkeley Extension, Nov. 1993 (guest speaker)
  • Science Writing for Magazines, University of California-Santa Cruz, Winter quarter 1991 (faculty for graduate program in science communications)
  • Case study in how an article is edited, University of California-Santa Cruz, January 1990 (guest speaker for graduate program in science communications)
  • Editorial Style in Magazines, Menlo College, Feb. 1989 (guest speaker)
  • Interviewing; What Happens on an Editor's Desk, San Jose writers conference, Oct. 1987
  • Articles: How to Structure, San Jose writers conference, Oct. 1985
  • Professionalism and Ethics, Sacramento writers conference, Aug. 1985
  • Professionalism and Ethics, San Jose writers conference, Oct. 1984
  • Clear writing, Stanford Publishing Course, July 1982
  • Tools of the editing trade, Stanford Publishing Course, July 1981

Teaching photography | Teaching interactive media

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