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By James Harbeck
If you edit academic books or articles, you probably spend a lot of time tidying up references. Sometimes as much time as editing the entire rest of the text. First, you have to pick your style: Chicago (note or name-date), MLA, APA, or, in the sciences, AMA or Vancouver. Then, you have to make everything consistent with it, to the extent possible. On top of that, you may have to look up the sources to double-check them.
I’ve edited medical continuing-education presentations that had no bibliographies and would cite some sources as just, for instance, “Heinz & Wong 2013.” I would have to find the rest of the citation—and I would, nearly every time, with a single search. Which means that anyone else who wanted to know would also be able to find it as quickly. Our citation standards were developed before the wonderful world of high-powered search engines. If we can find the source from an incomplete or inaccurate citation, how much of this tidying up is necessary?
Now, yes, there are more reasons than just findability to give detailed and consistent bibliographic information. You want to be tidy. You want readers not to have to spend undue time and effort: “Wasting our time so that readers don’t have to waste theirs” is in the editor’s job description. You want to give credit where it is due, and accurately. And you don’t want any risk of ambiguity—you don’t want people flipping fruitlessly through the wrong edition, for instance.
But still. Not all standard parts of a bibliographic citation are truly necessary. Here are several things some styles require that we should consider just getting rid of:
By Tasneem Bhavnagarwala
This world is big, and it offers us more destinations than one can explore in a lifetime. This is where travel writers step in. Whether it’s gazing into the sunset at a beach in Indonesia, enjoying a conversation with the rickshaw driver on the streets of India, or admiring a graffiti artist’s work in Barcelona, there is something in each experience that is inspiring. Travel writers bring these moments and stories to readers who want to experience travel adventures vicariously or need assistance in developing their travel itineraries.
The key challenge for travel writers is how to bring these moments to life through words. Magazines and newspapers are always covering stories about exotic and offbeat destinations. To stand out from the crowd is not an easy task, but if you, like me, love travel writing, then the guidelines below will definitely help you break in to the business.
While travelling is something I have always loved, travel writing as a career was not something I had considered. In 2015, after I made a trip to Ladakh, India, and seeing my offbeat itinerary, a friend encouraged me to document my experience, and that’s when my journey began with travel writing. After much reading, researching, and exploring, I managed to get an opportunity to work with a small travel start-up in Mumbai as a writer. Though I consider myself still in the learning phase of my career, I would like to share some points that have helped me break in to the world of travel writing.
By Michelle Waitzman
Can you tell whether a book was written by a man or a woman, based only on the words the author used? Is the road to hell (or at least to bad writing) paved with adverbs, as Stephen King once claimed? Do American authors write “louder” than British authors? If you’re intrigued by these questions, Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve will satisfy your curiosity.
Author Ben Blatt uses data journalism to apply statistical analysis to a wide variety of topics. In this book, literary works and bestselling fiction are subjected to his big-data approach, often with surprising results. While this isn’t meant to be an instructional book by any stretch of the imagination, writers and editors might find some of the takeaways applicable to their own work. His statistics on sentence length, repetition, gender balance, and other topics may give readers some additional things to think about when they write or evaluate a novel. But generally, Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve is simply an interesting and unusual way to look at writing.
By Summer Cowley
As an editor with editor friends, I find myself often reading works by authors who use citation styles other than the ones I regularly use in my own writing. Even though I become more comfortable with different styles every time I see them, many styles are unfamiliar in my APA-dominated world of the social sciences. Many times, I have wished there were an easier and more reliable way to quickly learn citation styles than running internet searches. Luckily, I’ve recently found Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles—MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More (2018) by Charles Lipson.
Cite Right is a short book (180 pages) in which Lipson provides summary explanations and examples of many citation styles. The book is divided into two general sections: “Citations: An Overview,” which contains introductory material and a general explanation of the practice of citing, and “Citations in Every Format: A Quick Guide,” which addresses Chicago/Turabian, MLA, APA, CSE, AMA, ACS, AIP for physics/astrophysics/astronomy, and mathematics/computer science/engineering citation styles.
When: Tuesday, February 26, 7–9:30 PM (Please note the earlier start time, to accommodate our business meeting.)
Where: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F
Robert A. Heinlein first used the term “speculative fiction” in 1947 to describe the highest aspiration of science fiction. Over time, the term has expanded to include other genres, including fantasy and horror, as well as derivatives and hybrids. As an umbrella genre in which worlds are often built from scratch rather than patterned after our own, speculative fiction has provided fertile ground for social and political critique. It has also evolved to support a diversity of voices, though expanding the representational repertoire of speculative fiction remains a concern.
Join Editors Toronto on February 26 to hear four seasoned writers and editors discuss their experiences with the genre. Toronto’s Jen Frankel, JF Garrard, Dominik Parisien, and Drew Hayden Taylor will talk about various topics, including
- the expanding role of Indigenous Voice in genre fiction (Drew Hayden Taylor);
- the pressures of representation within texts and in relation to the broader publishing industry (Dominik Parisien);
- the realities of indie publishing, crowdfunding, editing, and world building (Jen Frankel and JF Garrard);
- the lessons learned from panels on writing and pop culture about the need for diverse stories in literature, film, and media (Jen Frankel and JF Garrard); and
- strategies for supporting authors of different backgrounds and identities while keeping their voices intact throughout the editing process (Jen Frankel).
Learn about setting rates (and raising them) from long-time freelancers at the PWAC Toronto February seminar. Note, Editors Toronto members are eligible to receive the PWAC Partners discount.
Date: Monday, February 25, 2019
Time: 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
Location: Miles Nadal JCC, Room 318 (third floor)
Why is talking about freelance pay rates and money in general so challenging? In this seminar, we ask long-time freelancers to share advice on how they’ve set their rates and how they’ve raised them over the years.
- Carol J. Anderson, an editor, proofreader, researcher, and writer for the private sector, non-profits, and government
- Allan Britnell, freelance writer and editor and past-president of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors
- Diane Peters, a writer and editor who has covered a variety of topics for national publications and also teaches writing at Ryerson University
- Suzanne (Sue) Bowness (seminar moderator), a long-time freelance writer/editor and writing teacher
To learn more about the seminar and the speakers, visit pwactoronto.org.
As always, PWAC Toronto evening seminars are FREE for PWAC members, and while non-members who register online in advance receive a discount.
The organizers ask that you please register in advance so they know how many people to expect.
Recommended reading: Sue Bowness shares a preview of our seminar topic in her latest Networds Blog post.