We (editors) have all been there. The first draft of the article you assigned comes in off-target. It’s time for that critical tool of feedback, the rewrite letter—or, more likely, the rewrite e-mail—which outlines the revisions you want the writer to make.
Here’s a model rewrite letter (in the form of a PDF document) that we developed as the third ingredient in our recommended recipe for eliciting high-quality articles from freelance contributors. It’s based on the same basic themes that shape our model assignment letter and our other suggestions for getting the best from freelancers. In a nutshell: Be clear, be specific, and show that you value the writer’s knowledge and skills.
Follow this model and you’ll get a second draft that’s much closer to the bull’s-eye. Then you can edit and polish it into final shape.