January Speakers Night – Author Denise Chong

Ottawa-Gatineau Editors Speakers Night is very excited to begin the new year with a presentation by the author Denise Chong.

Denise lives in Ottawa and has written four books of literary non-fiction; the bestselling The Concubines Children (now a Penguin Classic), The Girl in the Picture: The Kim Phuc Story (Viking Press), Egg on Mao: The Story of an Ordinary Man Who Defaced an Icon and Unmasked a Dictatorship (Random House), and Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate and Circumstance (Random House).

She has become “renowned as a writer and commentator on Canadian history and on the family,” (The Canadian Encyclopedia) because of her in-depth research and focus on the multiculturalism of Canadian identity. In 2013 she was awarded the Order of Canada for her “books that help to raise our social consciousness.” (Order of Canada)

Denise will be speaking about the process of interviewing people and gathering personal information when writing memoirs, and the author’s relationship with an editor when working together on the often tragic, personal and intimate stories of people’s lives.

Ottawa-Gatineau Editors Speakers Nights are open to everyone. Admission for non-members of Editors Canada is $10.

When: Wednesday 18 January 2017 6.30 – 8.00pm

Where: Lackey Room, Christ Church Cathedral, 414 Sparks St, Ottawa, ON K1R 0B3. Free onsite parking.

 

Winter 2017 Seminar Season by Elaine Vininsky

We are in the second half of the seminar season and first up this winter is Stylistic Editing on Monday, January 23, 2017. It is interesting to note that Editors Canada will be having a Stylistic Editing certification exam in the fall of 2017. Accordingly, Instructor Carolyn Brown will provide those who want to do the exam with a rundown of the Professional Editorial Standards to orient them. She emphasizes that her course will also be useful for those who do stylistic editing as part of their day-to-day work, whether or not they wish to try the exam.

Graham Young gets to celebrate Valentine’s Day when he teaches Plain Language. “The most powerful language is also the simplest, he says.  “When each word has a clear meaning and purpose, readers can move easily through a text and focus on its message. Unfortunately, much writing today is needlessly bureaucratic and difficult to read…This seminar will help you overcome these pitfalls and create documents that say what they mean—efficiently.”

Moira White and Beth Macfie will team teach Copy Editing II on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. They have subtitled this seminar Judgement Calls and Added Value, and they aim to help registrants gain the expertise and experience necessary to make more complicated decisions about and contribute more value to each project.

We have a new instructor this year for Electronic Editing, offered on Friday, March 24.       Cecile Dubois has six years of experience as a software trainer and has worked as a corporate trainer and manager. “She is a creative professional with an outgoing, passionate and natural ability for management/motivating/instructing different personalities and building relationships”. You’ll hear more about her in a future Capital Letters blog.

We’ll be enjoying the third week of spring when Laurel Hyatt steps up to teach Editing Government Reports on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Her seminar will aim to demystify the process of breaking into this large market—from the legislative requirements that start the ball rolling, to the sign-off before publication.

Speaking of signing-off, Eight-Step Editing will close the seminar season on Tuesday,         April 25, 2017. I often refer to this seminar as the “workhorse” of all the courses in our inventory because of its inherent practicality. When I first took the course, I well remember Jim Taylor, who originated the seminar saying that if you were severely pressed for time, using the eight simple steps to go over a document would clean it up nicely. Since then, Moira White has taken over the course and updated the material.

You can register for any of these full-day seminars at the following website: http://www.editors.ca/branches/ottawa-gatineau/seminars

Look Who Is Talking! Meet the instructor for our Substantive Editing seminar

jlatham-2016-1Jennifer Latham started her editing business in 1998. The same year she volunteered as the Public Relations Chair for the NCR Branch. She led volunteers in organizing an EAC conference in Ottawa and later went on to be the Chair of the NCR Branch and the National President of EAC.

“I was very fortunate to have been mentored by senior editors, who taught me the ins and outs of the editing business. From the very beginning, I was constantly asking questions about editing standards, how to estimate jobs, and other practicalities of the work,” says Jennifer.

For the past 11 years, Jennifer has managed editing and production services at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. For her upcoming seminar, Jennifer will present in her area of expertise —substantive editing. She looks forward to sharing tips and strategies for dealing with the inherent dangers of substantive editing, such as asserting your editorial authority and knowing when to suggest improvements for the author to make and when to rewrite yourself.

Don’t miss this great seminar on October 14! Register at http://www.editors.ca/branches/ottawa-gatineau/seminars

Seminar Overview for Fall 2016 by Elaine Vininsky

The goal for the 2016-2017 seminar season is to look at all the levels of the editing process, from the big picture down to the proof stage: Substantive Editing, Stylistic Editing, Copy Editing and Proofreading. Substantive editing, (also referred to as Structural Editing), involves big-picture changes such as cutting chapters or sections, adding in chunks of new material, moving things around and perhaps inserting facts of cross-reference.  The stylistic editor makes the tone of the document appropriate to the audience and applies syntax for maximum effect. Copy editing is concerned with spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, house style and facts. The proofreader checks the designer’s work, to make sure that the manuscript content appears correctly in the final version, and also aims to catch all the errors that slipped through the previous stages of editing.

This fall, Frances Peck is again leaving her home in British Columbia and teaching Grammar Boot Camp and Punctuation and Mechanics on September 28 and 29, respectively. Grammar Boot Camp focuses on high-level grammar errors, the ones that make it past editors and proofreaders and into print.  Frances always invites participants to bring along any difficult examples they’ve encountered in their work.

Jennifer Latham returns after a two-year-break to teach Substantive Editing on October 14, 2016. Ten days later on October 24, Moira White will offer Copy Editing I. Elizabeth Macfie, whose notes described the above-mentioned levels of the editing process, will offer Practical Proofreading on November 9, 2016. To conclude the fall session, Moira White will return on November 24 to teach Writing and Editing for the Web.

Also note that the Editors Canada Structural Editing and Proofreading certification exams are taking place in Ottawa on November 19, 2016. Although the Structural Editing and Proofreading seminars are not directly related to the more challenging exams, they could serve as a review or perhaps an introduction to those looking at future certification exams.

You can register for any of these full-day seminars at the following website: http://www.editors.ca/branches/ottawa-gatineau/seminars

Now, get to it!

September Speaker Night – Speed Networking by Peter Perryman

Wednesday September 21 sees the new season of Ottawa-Gatineau Editors Canada monthly meetings after the summer hiatus. These are your opportunities to socialize, network, hear from invited speakers, and contribute to your local association.

For our first meeting we are holding a speed networking event. These are commonly-used formats for people to meet each other in a friendly group environment that allows everyone to contribute and benefit from each other’s experience.

Elizabeth Macfie, who hosted a very popular speed-networking event at last year’s conference, will introduce the session and explain the format. In short summary, participants meet one-on-one at a table and spend just a few minutes introducing themselves and highlighting aspects of their professional lives, before moving on at the sound of a given signal to meet someone else.

It may be helpful to think in advance what information you would like to share in the two or three minutes you have with those you meet. For example,

  • Your name;
  • How long a member of Editors Canada and the local branch;
  • Any past, present or future roles within the association;
  • Any previous career or job experience;
  • Do you work in-house, freelance, or some other related career;
  • Do you have a preferred genre (fiction, scientific, legal, etc);
  • What’s the biggest challenge for you in editing (or aspect of your job);
  • What’s the favourite part of editing (or aspect of your job);
  • What would you like to get out of the branch meetings;
  • What questions you want to ask of your colleague;
  • Share an interest outside of your professional life;

These are only suggestions of course, but if you have business cards don’t forget to bring them, or other contact details you want to share.

The evening begins at 6.30 with coffee and cookies, and the speed networking begins at 6.45 for approximately 1 hour.

When: Wednesday, September 21, 6:30 p.m.

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

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.

Hope to see you there!

Volunteers Wanted! by Suzanne Purkis

As our members know, Ottawa-Gatineau Branch of Editors Canada is hosting the 2017 conference. Plans for the conference are being drawn up right now, and it promises to be an exciting event. Such a large-scale affair depends heavily on the efforts of dedicated volunteers for its success, and we are looking for help. Specific positions and their responsibilities are given below:

All volunteers will participate in weekly teleconferences with conference committee and national office staff; meetings take about an hour.

 Volunteer Coordinator

  • Recruit and coordinate conference volunteers, including on-site volunteers at the conference (e.g., to set-up/tear-down registration area, staff registration desk, run errands, etc.).
  • Compile contact lists of volunteers; we need this info for thanking and recognizing them, such as the annual report, website (with links to their websites and/or ODE listings), list on program, etc.
  • Prepare schedules for on-site volunteers and coordinate their requirements.
  • Ongoing communication with volunteers via email and phone.
  • On-site training or instruction for volunteers at the conference.

 Speaker Coordinator

  • Research and compile contact information for potential speakers for discussion and selection.
  • Coordinate outside speakers.
    • Approach selected speakers as directed by conference co-chairs.
    • When speakers accept, follow up with standard info request (e.g., bio, photo, technical requirements, handouts, presenter agreement); if speakers decline, thank them.
  • Coordinate Editors Canada member speakers.
    • Prepare call for conference proposals (modified from previous conferences).
    • Organize and compile proposals into spreadsheet to facilitate evaluating, selecting and tracking speakers (conference committee and advisory committee selects speakers).
    • Inform speakers if they’ve been selected or not selected.
  • Handle all communication with speakers: changes to session, follow up for missing elements, requirements for materials or equipment.
  • Edit session information provided by speakers as needed: summaries, titles and bios; this information will be used on website, printed program, promotion, etc.
  • Assign sessions to rooms in time for final program design.

 Social Media Coordinator

  • Initiate and coordinate conference communication and promotion on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr (on Editors Canada’s account), Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, podcasts, YouTube, etc.

We will also be looking to fill the following positions: Billeting Coordinator, Conference Buddies Coordinator, Local Experience Coordinator, Program Coordinator, Session Host Coordinator, Speed Mentoring Coordinator, Speed Networking Coordinator, and Vendor Fair Coordinator.

If you are interested, please let us know at conference2017_chair@editors.ca. We hope to hear from you soon!

May Speaker Night – Jodi Di Menna on Big Picture Editing

Our Speaker Night in May will have Jodi Di Menna presenting on Big Picture Editing: Content planning with a purpose, from the editor-in-chief’s perspective.

Whether it’s to serve a readership, drive traffic, support a strategic message or simply to impart important information, there’s always a big-picture objective behind the written content we edit. From content planning for a website or hardcopy launch or re-launch, through to lineup selection, right down to story structure and word choice, the thought processes that precede the final stages of editing are as crucial to hitting the mark as getting the language just right. This session will draw on the speaker’s experience as founding editor and editor-in-chief of small magazines, as well as her role as senior editor for an organization whose key audience is the chief decision makers on Parliament Hill, to provide examples of how the big picture filters down to the subtleties of how we write and edit the content that supports it. It will also incorporate the viewpoints of several editors-in-chief and communications executives to provide a broad perspective of how editors and content producers can work together to achieve a goal, from concept to completion.

Jodi Di Menna spent ten years working for magazines, and led the launch of one small magazine, the re-inventing of another, and the re-launch of a couple of corporate websites. She is now Senior Writer/Editor for the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

When: Wednesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m.

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

Free for members, $10 for non-members

Parking: Just behind the building, off Empress Avenue.

Meet the Instructor: Fact Checking by Laura Byrne Paquet

 

laura byrne-paquet

Laura Byrne Paquet has an extensive portfolio. She edits both fiction and non-fiction and has written for more than 80 magazines and newspapers in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, including National Geographic Traveler, Islands, enRoute, Chatelaine and The Ottawa Citizen. She recently co-authored an article on rural life for the spring 2016 issue of Ottawa Magazine. Laura has written or co-authored 12 books and novellas, including Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel (Goose Lane Editions). She is past president of the Travel Media Association of Canada.

“Finding out what makes people, places and processes tick is my specialty,” says Laura, “whether that involves delving into the history of Avon ladies, writing about Canada’s largest coffee pot or flinging myself off a B.C. mountaintop (the latter because a friend dared me to try paragliding”). Visit Laura’s website at http://www.laurabyrnepaquet.com for more information on her professional activities and personal interests.

Fact Checking, or checking the accuracy of names, dates, dollar figures, and other facts, is a half-day seminar offered on Friday, April 29, 2016. Laura will help participants develop this important editing skill that prevents mistakes, avoids loss of money and lawsuits, and establishes client/author credibility. She will share her wealth of knowledge and equip participants with the skills to perform the job effectively. Registration for this morning workshop will close one week before the seminar. Click here to register: https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352

 

 

Report on March 16 Speaker Night by Bhavana Gopinath

Our branch’s listening event on March 16 turned out to be an interesting evening, with a spirited exchange of ideas between our members. In his address, Tom Vradenburg stated that for a volunteer-run organization such as Editors Canada, it is important that we all find ways to help in a way that benefits both the organization and the volunteering member.  As he put it, volunteering with your local branch is not just about padding up your resume, but also about “building relationships, one taskforce at a time”.  As an example: if a member has an idea for a program, the Branch will support and organize help to aid the member run with the idea to bring it to fruition. The Branch is able to provide more focused programming for its members, and the member hones their organizational skills and get to share in-depth ideas with the speaker. This becomes a win-win situation for both parties.

Our members provided several inputs, particularly in the area of mentoring:

Mentoring programs were always welcome; the recent “Speed mentoring” event was quite successful. Some of our members pointed out that while Mentoring (with a capital M) might not always be possible due to time constraints, they would be open to offering speed mentoring for newer members, or a more informal mentoring, a kind of “buddy system”.

Mentoring is also a great way of retaining and even bringing back people who may have left the organization. It would be great to hear their perspectives, not just from an editing point of view, but in a more comprehensive manner.  These “elders” have vast editing and life experience that others could learn from.

In a similar vein, it would also be great to have talks by experts in related areas of our lives, and not confine ourselves to the discipline of editing. Some suggested topics were: managing a freelance business, financial planning, mental health, ageing, and what employers look for in editor while hiring.

Mentoring could also be two-way, given that many of our new members seem to be younger. Perhaps there is an opportunity here for more experienced editors to learn more about issues that engage newer editors.

While formal mentoring plans are being discussed at the National level of Editors Canada, there are things that can be done at our branch level. Perhaps when new members join us, their welcome email could ask if they needed a mentor, and the branch might be able to do some match-making.

If you missed our meeting, and would like to share your thoughts on volunteering and mentoring, please let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.

 

 

How editing contributes to a stronger democracy by Gael Spivak

You may think that being an editor for the federal government is boring. So staid: all those rules, all those bureaucrats.

It’s actually a lot of fun. The topics are interesting and I get to help a lot of people.

What kind of topics?

I’ve worked as a writer, editor, coordinator and communications advisor, in three government departments.

Topics I’ve worked in include food safety, food labelling, organic food, animal health, plant health, biotechnology, ethics and government, road salts, and flu. Lots of flu: seasonal flu, pandemic flu, avian flu and swine flu.

All that government-speak

Bureaucratic language is a problem in government. It’s not that it is technical or scientific language. It’s the government style and tone.

People pick this up when they first start working in government. Because they are smart and adaptable, they quickly start writing to match what they see around them.

But this kind of writing is unclear. The sentences have too many thoughts and the verbs are usually way at the end of the sentences.

The writing is also dense. Because many of the writers are policy people who’ve been examining issues for many years, they are experts. So they want to give a solid background when they write, not realizing that it’s too much information for a non-expert.

How does editing help?

As an editor, I build a bridge between the experts and their audience (often the public). I help the experts write more clear text, so that Canadians can understand what to do to be safe, to comply with legislation and to keep dangerous pests out of the country.

I also help people participate in their government, by making legislation, policies and decisions more understandable. Editing helps build a stronger democracy.

 

Gael Spivak works in communications for the federal government. She specializes in plain language writing and editing. Her Editors Canada work includes

  • membership chair for Editors Ottawa–Gatineau
  • co-chair of conference 2012
  • co-chair of conference 2015 (Editing Goes Global)
  • director of volunteer relations
  • director of training development
  • vice-president