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:

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:

Now, get to it!

Practical Proofreading Seminar


“Loved the day. Glad I came.”

“Very knowledgeable, great presentation style.”

“Good series of seminars by Editors Association. Please keep them coming.”

“Great handout/booklet.”

These were just some participants’ reactions after attending the Practical Proofreading seminar on January 19. Instructor Elizabeth Macfie has 18 years’ experience as a proofreader, freelance editor, and indexing for a range of clients including government departments, university presses, research organizations and authors.

At the seminar, she guided participants through the basics of proofreading and through a series of exercises, shared her methods and shortcuts to proofread better. Participants worked on a variety of proofreading exercises and study material, and received a certificate at the end of the day.

Editors Canada supports professional development through seminars; to learn more about upcoming seminars, go to

Fall 2015 Seminars by Elaine Vininsky, Seminar Chair

Things are busy as the National Capital Region Branch is offering six seminars this fall. First up at bat is writer and Certified Professional Editor Frances Peck with two courses. Secrets of Syntax will help you become more adept at manipulating word order—or syntax—to improve prose. Grammar Boot Camp focuses on high-level grammar errors— the ones that make it past editors and proofreaders and into print.  Frances is always up for a challenge, and invites participants to bring along any difficult examples they’ve encountered in their work. These courses are offered back-to-back on Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1.

Creating a House Style is next, on Friday, October 23. Elizabeth Macfie is an EAC-certified copy editor, stylistic editor and proofreader. Though dictionaries and style manuals provide answers and rules, there is often more than one way to write. Accordingly, every organization should have a house style, as it offers consistency and saves editing time.

Plain Language: Building Results will help you create documents that say what they mean—efficiently. Instructor Graham Young is an independent writer, trainer, and communications  consultant with more than 30 years’ experience in helping business and government clients communicate at work. He’ll be giving this seminar on Thursday, October 29.

We’ve listened to those who’ve been requesting more business-oriented courses, and have engaged Adrienne Montgomerie to teach Marketing for Freelance Editors. Adrienne is a certified copy editor and an educational editor with more than 180 titles and 18 years of experience. She’ll suggest ideas of how to market to your clients, whether they are publishers, businesses, or authors. This half-day seminar is offered on Tuesday, November 10.

Carolyn Brown offers Editing Scientific Papers and Reports on Wednesday, November 25. Carolyn is a Certified Professional Editor and accredited Editor in the Life Sciences, and is a scientific and medical publishing consultant for two of Canada’s two largest scientific publishers. In this seminar, editors will learn how to help researchers communicate clearly and effectively to their peers and the greater community.

All seminars will be held at Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, 88 Albert St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5E9.

Click here to register for any of these exciting fall seminars.

Meet the Instructors – Copy Editing II


Elizabeth Macfie and Moira White team up to share their combined copy editing expertise on taking your skills to the next level at Copy Editing II.

Elizabeth has been a freelance proofreader and editor since 1997. After working as a coordinator of provincial park visitor services and then as a manager of adult education, she has chosen a career clarifying written communication. Her clients include federal government departments and agencies, book publishers, research organizations, and a university publications service. Elizabeth is an EAC-certified proofreader, copy editor and stylistic editor, a past chair of the Editors’ Association of Canada’s National Capital Region branch, and past president of the Indexing Society of Canada.

Moira 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, the Editors’ Association of Canada.

When: March 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration closes March 5.


Elizabeth Macfie

Elizabeth Macfie has 18 years’ experience as a freelance editor, proofreader, and indexer for government departments, university presses, research organizations, and authors. She is an EAC-certified copy editor, stylistic editor and proofreader, and she is a past chair of EAC’s National Capital Region branch. Elizabeth presents popular seminars and conference talks on editing, proofreading, and business networking.

In her upcoming workshop, Editing for Non-Editors: Find and Fix the Most Common Errors in Documents, you’ll learn to

  • organize your work according to the four levels of editing
  • target a text to its audience (content, tone, and length)
  • find and fix the most common errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, spelling, and layout
  • find answers and back up your decisions using reference sources and dictionaries
  • apply plain-language principles, and check language level using online tools
  • shorten texts
  • work efficiently using an editorial process, version control, style sheets, and checklists
  • use consistency-checking software and Word’s editorial tools
  • focus on all aspects of a product while proofreading

You’ll get hands-on practice with electronic files and hard copy, have an opportunity to ask decision-making and process questions, and find out where to learn more.  Bring questions and situations from your workplace to discuss with your trainer—and the other participants. You’ll leave with a detailed handbook on the workshop content.

When: February 18, 2015

Where: Capital Hill Hotel, 88 Albert St., Ottawa

Upgrade Your Skills: A Wise New Year’s Resolution


As all good editors know, learning is a lifelong process. So why not make a resolution to bolster your skills and attend some first-rate editing seminars in 2015? In addition to offering in-house seminars to groups of 10 or more, the NCR Branch has a great lineup of workshops ready to be presented at our regular venue in downtown Ottawa.

Here’s what’s up next:

Copy Editing I: Armed with decades of editing experience, Moira White returns again this year with her popular Copy Editing I seminar. It appeals to both novice editors and those who want to improve their skills. She’ll delve into spelling, grammar, punctuation, word usage and style mechanics in this learn-by-doing seminar. You’ll learn basic techniques for improving text and get good at spotting the types of errors and difficulties typically found in everyday writing. So reserve your seat and mark January 22 on your calendar.

Fact Checking: We are pleased to offer this new half-day seminar to editors in the National Capital Region. Instructor Laura Byrne-Paquet will help participants develop this important editing skill that prevents mistakes, avoids loss of money, avoids lawsuits, and establishes client/author credibility. She will share her wealth of knowledge and equip you with the skills to perform the job effectively. This three-hour morning workshop is scheduled for February 5. Don’t miss out!

Editing for Non-Editors: Find and Fix the Most Common Errors in Documents: Are you a writer or designer? Are you responsible for the quality control of documents? Does your work involve correcting other people’s writing (or your own)? Or are you a new editor looking for a fast track to working productively? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the workshop for you. Let Elizabeth Macfie, seasoned instructor and EAC-certified editor, help you develop your editing skills at this full-day workshop on February 18.

Electronic Editing: Graham Young has conducted more than 500 writing and presentation-skills seminars and taught some 6,000 participants from the public, private, and non-profit sectors how to write and speak effectively. He will be back this year with his popular Electronic Editing seminar on February 27. You will learn a variety of electronic editing skills that can save you valuable time and simplify your work. Bring your laptop and be prepared to do plenty of hands-on exercises.

Take a look at what participants have had to say about our Fall 2014 seminars by clicking on the Testimonials tab above. We hope to see you at one of our 2015 seminars. For further details on all of our seminars planned for this winter and spring, go to Or if you’re interested in having a regular or customized seminar delivered in your workplace, you can find a full list of the workshops offered at

Here’s wishing you a happy and productive 2015!


It`s getting colder, so let`s hunker down in warm surroundings. And what better way than to sip coffee and engage in a seminar with your writing and editing peers? Writing Proposals is a new seminar, which started off as a presentation during one of our Speaker Nights last winter. Participants were keen on Chris Lendrum`s talk, so we thought a half-day seminar would satisfy those with an additional thirst for information on writing proposals. Time is running out on this November 6 event.

Veteran seminar leader Elizabeth Macfie is back on November 18 for the perennially popular Practical Proofreading. Trained proofreaders see the errors that escape other eyes because they read in a special way using tools and techniques that focus their attention on everything in the document. She`ll show you how it`s done. You are encouraged to bring a laptop (PC or Mac) equipped with MS Word 2007 or newer to facilitate completing the exercises.

Many freelancers eventually find their way to working in the federal government. However, the requirements for government report editing can seem daunting. In this December 3 seminar, which will suit both freelancers and government workers, Laurel Hyatt will demystify the process of Editing Government Reports—from the legislative requirements that start the ball rolling, to the sign-off before publication.

What do you do when your client sends you a document to copy edit, but you quickly realize it needs much more? Substantive Editing requires a whole range of editing skills that go far beyond stylistic and copy editing. In this first seminar of the winter, instructor Jennifer Latham will share with you tips and strategies for dealing with the inherent dangers of substantive editing. This includes knowing when to rewrite and how to avoid being seduced by the text. Share your questions with her during this January 12, 2015, seminar.

Online registration for seminars is available at

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