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!

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



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 https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352.

The nexus between writing and editing By Lois Ross

I opened an email recently and realized that I was due to renew my Editors Canada membership. This will be year 15. It would have been 16, but I lapsed once. But only once.

I love words, but my trip to becoming a member of Editors Canada was circuitous, to say the least. When it happened it was indeed an epiphany.

As a journalist and author, I had worked with editors at various times, but I had never stopped to think much about editing as a profession. To me, editing was something that needed to be done after the really “hard” work of research and writing had been accomplished. Because I was so busy being a writer, it took me many years to realize that I too could be an editor.

I stumbled upon Editors Canada when I was well into a career that included working as a journalist and broadcaster, becoming a published author, and transitioning to working in organizational communications for various non-profits. In 2001, I was new to directing communications for a small international development organization. As part of my work, I was charged with publishing various books and research reports. I had written books, but I had never edited one.

Then, in the top drawer of my new desk, I found a membership form for the Editors Association of Canada (as it was known then). It was likely left there by the desk’s previous occupant. I describe such timely moments as synchronicity. I had found an organization that I needed to learn more about.

It is not that I had not known that editors existed. The dailies that I had worked at over the years had managing editors and copy editors. The non-fiction books I wrote were touched by the deft hand of editors. The short stories I created were informed by writers who were also excellent editors, ready to explain to me the meaning of epiphany, revelation and heart of darkness stories that I had written. Who knew!!

So, that January day, more than 15 years ago, when I came upon the membership form, I filled it out, figuring it was a good investment. I’ve been inspired by the learning community provided by the Association ever since.

Every year around this time as I prepare to pay my membership fees, I review the training sessions and the benefits available through Editors Canada. Over the years I have taken many, many workshops: Eight-Step Editing, Practical Proofreading, Copy Editing I and II, and others on writing style guides, proposal writing, editing fiction, and most recently freelancing and scientific editing. As my career evolves, I reach out to talented and friendly members who belong to this community. I have a place to ask questions, share insights, and to constantly learn.

Over the years thanks to Editors Canada, I have learned that writers and editors have a lot in common. The relationship should be symbiotic, as opposed to adversarial. Both editors and writers love words and improving content for publication. Both are vital in the creation of written material. Writers are often also editors, taking their prose through various drafts, before handing it off to a professional editor. Just as there are several genres of writing, so too are there several different types or levels of editing. It can be hard to save copy that is badly written, but editors always step up and enhance content. And, even those texts that shine, become brighter with the invisible hand of a talented editor.

Editors are under-rated, yet critically important.

Most days I am still not sure which profession comes first with me…writing or editing…and maybe that is simply the way it will be depending on the project.  But what I do know is that being a member of Editors Canada is helping me to achieve both.

Lois Ross is a communications specialist, and a freelance writer and editor. 
She is originally from Saskatchewan, but has called Ottawa home for the past 20 years.

Meet the Instructor – Electronic Editing

Graham Young

Graham Young is an independent writer, trainer and communications consultant with more than 30 years’ experience helping business and government clients communicate at work. It is not an understatement to say that he can compose anything. He writes web content, annual reports, brochures, promotional flyers, data sheets, case studies, white papers, sales letters, advertorials, magazine and newsletter articles, news releases and speeches. Since 2000, he 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.

Electronic Editing, offered on February 26, will allow you to take advantage of all the editing “horsepower” that Microsoft Word has to offer. Among other on-line editing topics, participants will become more confident with track-changes and compare-document tools and increase their proficiency at managing and merging changes by several reviewers. To sign up, go to https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=20352. Registration closes on February 18. Bring a version of Word 2010, a laptop and an AC cord.

February Speaker Night -Developing and maintaining a house style guide by Tom Vradenburg

House style guides often start from a base of Canadian Style or other relevant, all-purpose style guide, but then exceptions and special terminology are added. In some cases, there’s a formal process for approving additions and tweaks. Getting people outside the publishing/communications departments of an organization to follow it is often an issue.

Get advice and guidance on developing and maintaining a house style guide from Kinneret Globerman, Marcia Fine and Mary Jean McAleer. Each will present for five to seven minutes on their particular experiences. Discussion from the floor follows.

When: Wednesday, February 17, 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.

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 https://www.gifttool.com/registrar/ShowEventDetails?ID=29&EID=2035

BOOK BUZZ: On Paper by Nicholas A. Basbanes, by Bhavana Gopinath


On Paper

The Everything of its Two-Thousand Year History

Nicholas A. Bisbanes

Alfred A. Knopf, 2013

Nicholas A. Basbanes is the author of nine works of cultural history, with a particular emphasis on various aspects of books, book history, and book culture. His book On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand Year History (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities research fellowship in 2008, and was a runner-up for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction for 2014. It was also named a notable book of the year by the American Library Association, one of the best books of the year by Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Mother Jones, and Bloomberg News, and a “favourite” book of 2013 by the National Post (Canada). A paperback edition was issued by Vintage Press in 2014.

Paper is such an integral part on one’s daily life; computers and e-books notwithstanding, one still instinctively reaches for paper to clarify one’s thoughts or just to write for its own sake. A typical home has hundreds of paper products, from bathroom tissues to packaging. We usually don’t stop to consider it. Until you read On Paper, that is. This absorbing tome traces the evolution of paper from its invention China in A.D. 105, its journey to the Arab world in the eighth century, to Italy in the thirteenth century and then to North America and the rest of the world. From these origins, Basbanes picks up the threads of the development and importance of paper in several areas and weaves them all into a compelling and coherent narrative.

We travel to remote corners of China to observe papermaking techniques that have remained unchanged in more than a thousand years, we admire the beauty of Japanese handmade paper, and visit Samarkand in Central Asia, where Arabs learned paper-making from the Chinese, and from where the knowledge spread to Europe.

Basbanes traces the paper-making process: first from disintegrating plant matter, then rags and cellulose obtained from trees. We visit the factories of Crane and Company in Massachusetts (which provides currency notes for the United States Treasury Department), and then Kimberly-Clark for its hygiene products.

We learn about the role paper played in the development of ammunitions and cigarettes, its importance as a foundation for one’s identity (and during war, for one’s safety), and the profound dependence on paper by intelligence agencies. Without paper, there would be no bureaucracies, and it is the remnants of hard copies that point us to egregious cover-ups by government agencies.

There is a fascinating chapter on the “Face Value” of paper, in which Basbanes explores currency (and some outlandishly inflated examples therein, like the German Weimar reichsmarks and the Zimbabwe dollar), forgeries, rare stamps, and the first printing of the United States’ Declaration of Independence.

Without the ready availability of such a useful flat writing surface, it may be argued that Leonardo da Vinci would not have been such a creative genius – his wide-ranging ruminations achieved expression on paper. Paper was the essential tool for Beethoven to write down thousands of pages of musical ideas. Thomas Edison left thirty-five hundred notebooks with his notes and thoughts. Paper was not only a writing surface for him, but also a material of function – he invented the ticker-tape machine and the precursor of the mimeograph. During the Renaissance, paper became the medium for architectural drawings and blueprints. Paper can also be transformed into art – an entire chapter is devoted to origami.

Each exploration of a facet of paper’s importance is a treasure trove. Most poignant of all, perhaps, is the last chapter of the book, which describes the flying paper from offices in the aftermath of the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. One paper had the following words scrawled out hastily in pen: “84th floor west office 12 people trapped.” The tower collapses moments after this plea of help is found by an evacuee.

Part scholarly narrative, part good read, On Paper is an illuminating book that “guides us through paper’s inseparability from human culture.”

Bhavana is a freelance editor and writer, an avid reader, and lover of Ottawa’s public library system.