February Speakers Night – Beverly Ensom

The spoken word becomes a written report

Hansard is the written record of what is said in the House of Commons. Most people think it’s verbatim—and it is, except when it’s not.

Beverly Ensom is a member of the House of Commons team that gently edits Hansard and the similar record of parliamentary committees. She will describe the process of producing these records and the editing decisions that have to be made; and she’ll give some examples of wording that had to be handled with care (although “fuddle-duddle” was before her time).

Christ Church Cathedral, Lackey Room, 414 Queen St., 6:30 p.m.
Free for members, $10 for non-members

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!

A Good Bunch

Cheers to all who came out to the EAC-NCR’s Wine & Cheese!

EAC National Capital Region’s annual Wine & Cheese reception: Be sure to RSVP 

The Howells, long since recovered from their adventures on Gilligan’s Island, have been invited. And so are you.

Brush up on your wine and cheese trivia: Thurston knows his Chateaux, and Lovey knows her cheese!

Enjoy some word games, or just hang out with the Smart Set. Pearls and ascots optional.

Wednesday, November 19 at 7:30 pm

Capital Hill Hotel & Suites

88 Albert Street, Ottawa

Admission: $10 · RSVP ASAP

October Speaker Night – New Technologies: Automated Perfection

Don’t miss Elizabeth Macfie this Wednesday, October 15, at 7:30 pm!

Continuing on our new-technology theme, October’s speaker night will feature a new application that can help us be more efficient at traditional editing tasks.

Elizabeth Macfie will demonstrate PerfectIt, a new application that automates many of our most mundane consistency checks—it’s search and replace on steroids. Watch live as PerfectIt crunches through manuscripts, chewing up capitalization, spelling and punctuation inconsistencies in its path. Learn how software is doing more of our editorial heavy lifting, liberating us for higher-level work only humans can do—for now.


When: Wednesday, October 15, 7:30 pm
Where: Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert Street
Free for members, $10 for non-members

Speaker Night Recap: Magic Tricks and Reference Management

By Jean Rath

When I was in high school in the 70s, I collected references by jotting their details down on index cards. I then used the information to carefully write out my bibliographies according to my teachers’ instructions. This was tedious, but the bibliography instructions were clear. If I got it right, I got better marks. I never dreamed of a day when all of that could be magically done for me. At the September Speaker Night, Carolyn Brown showed us that magic.

Reference management software has been around for fifteen years or so. It’s a tool that allows researchers to collect, manage, and insert information into documents in the preferred style. My inner teenager was most impressed, considering those meticulously written bibliographies. With this software, a reference inserted into a text will automatically update the bibliography. Carolyn also demonstrated how, with one click, an entire bibliography could be restyled.The reaction of Speaker Night attendees was the same as if she’d pulled a rabbit out of her hat.

The shades of my handwritten index card lists were also rattling around my head as I watched Carolyn demonstrate the ease with which she could build up her database of citations. When she found a useful journal article, she sent the metadata to a folder in her software with one click. She cautioned that it was important to proofread the text, since there may be errors in the downloaded data.

Carolyn focused on two software products: EndNote and Mendeley. EndNote has become an industry leader; it’s compatible with MS Word and has its own ribbon. The reference library on the computer syncs with the version on the Web, and can be shared—although Carolyn cautioned that she finds the online interface a bit clunky. Many of the hundreds of reference styles in the industry are available on EndNote, allowing for “magical” automatic changes in style. By contrast, Mendeley is free. It uses different terms than EndNote, but the way it works is similar. It has one feature not found in EndNote: when a PDF is dragged and dropped into Mendeley, the software will read and record the metadata.

Word also has a reference management feature, but it is only capable of the basics. Carolyn doesn’t recommend it for anything bigger than a university essay. She further advised that when choosing reference management software, it’s important to know which reference style will be used, and which databases the information will be extracted from.

Reference management software may look like magic, but in fact it’s a usable tool for editors. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there, and Carolyn’s talk provided a comforting peek into the ways that writers and researchers can constrain all that data into something useful.

New Workshops Add to Old Favourites

The National Capital Region branch is proud to be introducing some dynamic new seminars this fall to add to its roster of old favourites. All seminars are designed for editors, but equally appeal to a variety of other communication specialists wishing to upgrade their skills. The NCR branch has built its reputation as a trusted source of quality training; its instructors are seasoned editors whose workshops engage participants through discussion and hands-on exercises and equip them with invaluable communication skills.

Writing and Editing for the Web is the first of the new seminars this fall. It has been developed by Moira White, whose many workshops have been an integral part of the NCR branch’s professional development program over the past several years.

Frances Peck, in demand for her seminars at EAC branches across Canada, is bringing her popular Grammar Boot Camp to Ottawa for the first time. We recommend that you register early if you don’t want to miss out on this extreme workout.

The last of our three new workshops this fall will be given by instructor Chris Lendrum. Some of you may remember Chris from one of our Speaker Nights last winter. We were so impressed that we decided to approach him about delivering a half-day seminar to share his knowledge on Writing Proposals.

The full lineup of fall seminars is listed below. Simply click on the link for a full description of those that interest you.

• Writing and Editing for the Web – September 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• Starting a Freelance Career – October 4 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
• Social Media 101 – October 4 (1–4 p.m.)
• Grammar Boot Camp – October 23 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• The Secrets of Syntax – October 24 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• Writing Proposals – November 6 (9 a.m.–12 p.m.)
• Practical Proofreading – November 18 (9 a.m.–4 p.m.)

What we learn from our mishaps: Tips from editors’ blunders

By Antonia McGuire

Most people would rather not repeat their most embarrassing editorial gaffes, especially in a room full of professionals. But as mortifying or daunting as it may be, sharing these experiences with each other offers an opportunity to learn and grow. Besides, no one’s perfect!

Our last speaker night featured local editors, writers and members themselves, who checked their egos at the door, and chimed in on a lively roundtable discussion. Over 15 brave souls kept the story-telling alive with tales of their biggest blunders and what they learned from them.

Here’s the digest version.

1. Sleep in your clothes. This one is pretty basic but there is something to be said for simply being prepared. Especially when you have a big meeting with clients the next day!

Editor’s tip: To avoid a rushing around frantically in morning, set aside your outfit the night before. Better yet, when travelling for work be sure to pack your work clothes, including undergarments and all those kinds of essentials. Lie them all out on your bed before stuffing everything into a carry-on piece… that way you won’t just have jogging pants to wear to a business meeting. Eeek.

2. Know your weaknesses and arrange your work around them.

Editors’s tip: If you know you have a tendency to be late, set your deadline a week ahead of schedule.

3. Confirm the goods were received. How many times have you submitted the end product to a client or editor on deadline, only to receive nada in return? No hint of, “yup everything is a-okay on this end.” So naturally, panic sets in when you realize your deadline has passed.

Editor’s tip: Ask client to reply, confirming the deliverable was received. Use read receipt feature in Outlook.

4. Proofread every round as if it’s a new draft – with fresh eyes if possible.

Editor’s tip: try reading each paragraph backwards, starting from the end to the beginning.

5. When networking or trying to make a connection, be respectful and professional. There is an acceptable yet strategic way to reach out to potential clients or new editors to pitch… but pointing out their mistakes in x publication, book, article, etc., is not recommended if you actually want to get work or get a call back. Remain courteous, professional and attentive to their needs at all times. Because a real know-it-all is a real turn off.

6. “Tolkien was not a misogynist.” Find out who you are speaking to before offering your opinion to others, especially before going on a rant in an elevator to the editor of that famous book series, for example.

7. Norwegians know their grammar, but write like Yoda. To make a long story short, check your ego at the door and don’t be afraid to use your reference books or dictionaries to look things up. Always fact-check and proofread your work (sort of obvious) but it’s amazing how many “tweaks” one can find after third and fourth reviews.

8. Commentary or feedback that doesn’t improve the text feels insulting. The 360 feedback loop we get from the editorial process is essential to producing the best quality work possible. And … avoiding career-crushing mistakes or factual errors. Professionally speaking, we all need to learn how to take feedback – the good with the bad. Novice writers especially tend to struggle with this. To survive and thrive in this business, you develop thicker skin and a sense of humour. For editors, reviewers and writers alike, there is a way to give constructive feedback. Ranting and raving is not one of them. If you’re being defensive and difficult to work with, chances are it will be your last chance with that publication.

9. Adjective pile-ups make for translation problems. When working with bilingual documents, it is common to discover the occasional awkward English sentence that is difficult to translate. Editing is an iterative process. Practice doing text concordances by comparing English to French. If your language skills aren’t up to snuff, ask a colleague to help you look it over.

10. Double negatives can stymie readers in both languages. Whether it’s due to poor grammar, false punctuation or simply that the writer failed to explain something clearly, double negatives only confuse the reader. Editors shine in this respect by adding clarity, consistency and polishing to pieces when necessary.

11. Know your terminology limits. Use this rhyme to remember: when in doubt, check it out. Some editors and writers who specialize in technical, medical or financial writing will have acquired this in-depth knowledge and terminology from their studies or years of experience in the field. However, most of us don’t, so acknowledge that limitation and compensate accordingly by using back-up resources, contractors or by reading up!

12. Google before you diss. Or, just don’t throw insults out into the public via your Twitter or Facebook account – ever. It’s a small industry once you’ve been in it for awhile. You never know who will be listening or watching.

13. Rigorous checking of dictionary is a must.

14. Extra-rigorous checking of dictionary. Did I mention that?

Okay, now it’s your turn! What did you learn from an editorial mistake? Did you find this post helpful?
Share your thoughts or suggest a blog topic.