Meet the Instructor: Eight-Step Editing by Moira White


Moira White


Moira White entered the work world as a social worker and later moved into social policy. In both professions, she found that her organizational skills, attention to detail, and love of words were pointing her in a new direction—the world of editing. Currently a freelance editor, writer, and trainer with both public and private sector clients, she has decades of experience editing print and electronic publications. Moira is a director of professional standards for, and a past president of, Editors Canada.

Eight-Step Editing is one of the most practical workshops in our canon. It takes the skills that are second nature to many professional editors and breaks them into a sequence of tasks that will improve the readability of the final product. If you’re an editor, whatever your experience level, this seminar will help you develop a systematic approach to editing and identify functions you may have been performing only intuitively. If you’re a writer, the Eight-Step process will give you techniques for improving your manuscript before it goes to an editor. This full-day seminar is offered on Thursday, April 14, 2016 and registration closes one week prior to the event.  To register, go to

Go ahead—ask what your branch can do for you by Tom Vradenburg, Editors Ottawa–Gatineau Past Chair

We’ve made a few changes this year as a result of town hall discussions: an earlier start time, a different venue. It’s time again to check in with our editing community to see how we can help one another.

We’d like to hear your suggestions on what you would like to see from Ottawa–Gatineau speaker nights or seminars, or if you would like entirely new kind of programming. Aside from an (optional) glass of wine, you’ll get bonus marks if you are willing to volunteer some time for it.

Our upcoming speaker night on March 16 is about you speaking and us listening. If it will help the free flow of ideas, there will be wine and cheese. Come and talk to us!

Last year’s meeting yielded some useful changes that we’ve implemented: a different meeting venue, an earlier start time to our meetings, some opportunities to socialize.

Wednesday, March 16, 6:30 p.m.

Good Companions Seniors Centre, 670 Albert Street (at Empress)

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue

Free for EAC members, $10 for non-members

Editor Wanted: What writers seek in an Editor by Ayan Ibrahim

Becoming an editor isn’t as easy a task as one may think. What’s even harder is venturing through the world of editors to find one that suit your needs. It may not necessarily be because you cannot find a qualified editor. Rather, because of the vast number of skill sets and styles that each editor is in possession of, leading you to search for one that is best suited for the task at hand. There is, however, a basic standard of qualifications that an editor must meet. If one is found to be lacking in this area, there is no doubt, that one’s services to those who seek an editor will be futile.

It’s important to have expectations when seeking an editor. However, you may now be wondering what realistic expectation should you have when attempting your endeavor. This is the exact question that this article is meant to answer. As you may have already noticed, attempting to address each and every desired and undesired qualification of an editor extends beyond the aim of this piece. For this reason, I seek to highlight the two most important qualifications I believe, as a publisher and writer, that one should look for in an editor.

It is obvious that an editor should in some capacity be versed in the many skill sets of editing: proofreading, editing grammatical mistakes, checking spelling errors, fact verification, the ability to reorganize thoughts and ideas in a comprehensible manner, as well as aiding in revisions. Undoubtedly, the list goes on. However, although competency in these areas are a given, not all editors have the same technique when editing. I find the diversity, in the way in which each editor utilizes their skill set, refreshing. The differences in skill techniques allows for publications, which may have similar content, to be worked from alternate angles. These angles then provide readers with alternate perspectives which work to enhance their understanding of the subject matter.

Due in part to the large emphasis on editors to have a solid skill set in the art of editing, there is an element that falls short of being recognized for its importance, although it is crucial. That is, an editor and author should be in sync. What I mean by “in sync” is the ability for an editor to seamlessly blend their editing skills into an author’s work in a way that does not take away from the authenticity of the author’s work. Working with other writers as an editor and publisher, I have come to learn about the sacredness of an author’s work. Alterations are necessary. But only to the point where it does not completely change the meaning of what is being said by the writer. You also begin to learn that there is a fine line between pleasing your authors and doing your job as an editor. This does not happen overnight of course, but this is where practice and open communication becomes imperative. Where there is a lack of communication, there opens up the possibility for expectations to be lost in translation, resulting in miscommunication between the two parties and subsequently a failed publication.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a step-by-step playbook guide which I could give you to help you perfect your editing rapport with each and every writer you meet. As with everything in life, it is always through trial and error. I know, as I can speak from first hand experience. You just need to learn to accept all the experience that comes your way. Work through it, and create passionately.

Ayan Ibrahim is a 23 year old Somali-Canadian who is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Qurtuba Publishing House. She is a writer, aspiring photographer, and polyglot. Professionally, she is a practicing registered nurse. Her writings focus mainly on cultural, social, political, and health-related issues. She and her sisters Ilhan and Hodan were guest speakers at our Speakers Night in September 2015.