By Elizabeth d’Anjou
Looking for advice on editing the editing life? Whether you’re a beginner looking for tips on starting out or an old hand looking for another perspective, veteran editor Aunt Elizabeth is ready to address your queries. Submit them to [email protected]—you may find the answers you are looking for in next month’s column.
(1) Dear Aunt Elizabeth,
I’m a freelance copy editor in my early 30s, with a partner who also freelances, albeit in another field. We want to start a savings account and eventually a family, but due to the feast-or-famine nature of our work, we are not sure about where to start. What approach should we use to set aside money for the future amidst financial uncertainty?
My Clock Is Ticking
No wonder I never had kids—given the huge frustration I recall early in my career of just trying to plan a modest vacation (when I had the time I never had any money to spare, and when I had a bit of money I never had any time). I couldn’t even have imagined trying to arrange for a maternity leave. Since then, the government has introduced an EI maternity leave option for self-employed Canadians, but its restrictions are such that its appeal is severely limited.
(Released May 2015)
By Vanessa Wells
Full disclosure: I have never been into murder mysteries. No early Nancy Drews, no later Agatha Christies—frankly, I just felt like I would never be able to figure the mystery out and would feel kinda dumb, so I never embraced the genre. The only reason I was interested in the Marjorie Trumaine books by Larry D. Sweazy was that I’d heard they were written by and about an indexer.
I was a little skeptical about how the second book of the mystery series, See Also Deception, could pick up with a new murder only months after those of the first, but this fell by the wayside once I cracked open the book. In a nutshell, our newbie-sleuth heroine cannot accept that her librarian friend has committed suicide, and her indexer-character tenacity leads her to work the details of the case that are missed by the police. Fortunately, foreshadowing is well handled and carries the reader’s interest rather than handing over the solution to the murder on a silver platter. This is perhaps due to Sweazy’s writing habit of working organically and without complete pre-outlining, which lets the story unfold for himself as much as for his audience.
In his acknowledgments, the author says, “Indexing, like writing, is a job best done in isolation.” In See Also Deception, he has again succeeded in creating an atmosphere that highlights the protagonist’s isolation, both physical and psychological, despite the constant presence of her invalid husband and her community of Dickinson, North Dakota. The bleak feeling also works for the character and plot development that he tantalizingly creates for the reader. (more…)
The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].
By Savanna Scott Leslie
- That’s a wrap on the 2016 Editors Canada conference in Vancouver! Paul Cipywnyk shared his photos from the event so you can relive those memories, or see what you missed. (Flickr)
- Across the pond, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) held a professional development day for fiction editors. Editor Liz Jones discusses some takeaways from the big day. (Eat Sleep Edit Repeat)
- Brexit: the fun new portmanteau that everyone’s worrying about. And if, like me, you edit in the finance world, you’ve probably seen the term a lot. Linguist Mark Liberman muses on different pronunciations of the trendy word in John Oliver’s must-see Brexit segment from Last Week Tonight, which you can watch within the article. I’m in the [‘brɛk.sɪt] camp. What about you? (Language Log)
- Perhaps all the complaints about “females” in pop culture have put you off the word entirely and you’ve begun to use “women” as an adjective instead. You wouldn’t be alone. Mignon Fogarty weighs in on the practice, and the sexism that may have caused it, before sharing a practical suggestion. (Grammar Girl)
- How much do you consider syntax in your edits? Emma Darwin explores the “rhythm, reason, and rhyme” behind strong sentences. (The Itch of Writing: The Blog)
- As I’ve been learning from Alec Ross’s The Industries of the Future (2016), automation and mechanization will quickly reshape the economic landscape. These changes should improve our health and increase leisure time—but they’ll also allow companies to drastically cut jobs. Stay calm! A recent report suggests writing and editing jobs in Canada are unlikely to be automated in the next 10 to 20 years. (The Globe and Mail)
Savanna Scott Leslie is an editor and publishing consultant based in Hamilton, Ontario. She’s also a new and enthusiastic co-coordinator of Editors Hamilton-Halton, though she can’t help but shudder at the word co-coordinator.
This article was copy edited by Joe Cotterchio-Milligan.
By Berna Ozunal
At Editors Toronto, volunteers are the lifeblood of the branch. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity and know-how of volunteers to perform a variety of tasks. Our volunteers host seminars, contribute to our blog, mentor others, and represent us at educational institutions and events like Word On The Street.
If you are a member and an editor working in Toronto—or you want to be an editor working in Toronto—think about volunteering! It is a great way to learn about the industry and gain experience for your resumé. You’ll also have many opportunities to network and socialize with other editors. In the Editors Toronto My Rewards program, volunteers earn checks for their contributions. If you earn eight checks, you get $100 off a seminar of your choice. (more…)
By Vanessa Wells
Two years ago, Whitney Matusiak offered some good advice on BoldFace about wardrobe considerations for freelancers. Today I’m going to sing the praises of dressing up for working (mostly) at home. I am amazed at those who work in their jammies. Amazed in wonder, not judgment. The only things I can accomplish in my nightwear are scrolling through Facebook and drinking my first coffee.
My POV is about preparation, discipline, and focus. I am hyper-organized. I love lists. They are my modus operandi for life and work. In order to be productive, though, I must be “ready for my day,” and the physical must precede the psychological. (See the first point on Emma Gannon’s blog post about being self-employed.) (more…)
Interview conducted by Jennifer D. Foster
A career as an editor is often a solo adventure, especially if you’re a freelancer. So we thought one way to better connect with fellow editors was to ask them the W5: who, what, where, when, and why. Read on for some thought-provoking, enlightening tidbits from those of us who choose to work with words to earn our keep.
Aaron, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do, and how long you’ve been an editor.
I’ve had the great fortune of being able to make a career of being a magazine editor. After graduating from Ryerson University with a degree in applied arts with a focus on magazines, I got a job at Outdoor Canada. Within a year, I was the managing editor there and spent a little over a decade in that capacity. That position exposed me to a wide range of roles and responsibilities in the magazine business, from writing, editing, and composing display copy to working closely with the art department and helping to oversee many of the managerial-type jobs at a magazine. From there, I moved on to a short stint as the publications manager at the Canadian Wildlife Federation, where I oversaw the revitalization of their three publications, Canadian Wildlife, its French counterpart Biosphère, and WILD, a magazine for kids. In my current role at Canadian Geographic, I oversee all editorial content for the brands’ many media tools. Interestingly, wildlife and the environment have continued to be a significant part of the content I’ve helped to create for almost two decades now—issues that seem to be as important as ever today. (more…)