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Book Review: Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve by Ben Blatt

By Michelle Waitzman

Cover of Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve by Ben BlattCan 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.

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A Conversation with Esi Edugyan and her editors: Another successful collaboration between Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and University of Toronto

By Raya P. Morrison

In January, Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and the Creative Writing program at the University of Toronto (UofT) School of Continuing Studies struck gold, bringing Esi Edugyan, two-time winner of the Giller Prize, for Half-Blood Blues (2011) and Washington Black (2018), to speak in front of a packed audience of writers and editors. The brilliant Edugyan took the stage along with four of her editors—Patrick Crean, Marie-Lynn Hammond, John Sweet, and Jane Warren—to discuss their collaborations and the editing process.

The event, which took place at UofT’s Sidney Smith Hall, started with an introduction by Lee Parpart, program chair at Editors Toronto, and was followed by Edugyan reading the opening passage from Half-Blood Blues. The audience was then treated to a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into the editorial process as structural editor Jane Warren and copy editor Marie-Lynn Hammond shed light on the different stages of editing, from the first structural edit to the minutia of copy editing.

Here is a short video of Jane Warren discussing the crucial part a structural editor plays in shaping a novel, and how honoured she was “to work on something that’s going to be read and re-read for the decades to come.”

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Book Review: Cite Right (3rd ed.) by Charles Lipson

By Summer Cowley

Cover of Cite Right, Third Edition by Charles Lipson

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.

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Editing Worlds: Speculative Fiction and the Editorial Process

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).

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Let’s Talk Rates! How to Ask for What You’re Worth and Get Paid on Time

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.

PWAC Feb 25 seminar Let's Talk Rates

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.

Speakers:

  • 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.

REGISTER FOR THE SEMINAR

Recommended reading: Sue Bowness shares a preview of our seminar topic in her latest Networds Blog post.

Winning Two Gillers: A Conversation with Esi Edugyan and Her Editors

Flyer for event "Winning Two Gillers: A Conversation with Esi Edugyan and Her Editors"

When: Tuesday, January 22, 7–9 pm

Where: University of Toronto, Sidney Smith Hall (amphitheatre), 100 St. George St., (Room 2102) 

Co-presented by Editors Toronto, Canadian Authors–Toronto, and the Creative Writing Program at the School of Continuing Studies (SCS), University of Toronto

This special event will bring acclaimed novelist Esi Edugyan together with four of her editors — Patrick CreanMarie-Lynn Hammond, John Sweet, and Jane Warren — for a discussion about the writing and editing of Ms. Edugyan’s two Giller Prize–winning novels, Half-Blood Blues (2011) and Washington Black (2018).

Have you wondered what it’s like, editorially speaking, to work with an author who has won not one but two Giller Prizes? Would you like to know more about the author-editor relationship on these celebrated books? Esi Edugyan and her panel of accomplished editors will address issues such as these during their talks and the Q&A.

We’ll hear from editors Patrick Crean, Marie-Lynn Hammond, and Jane Warren about the scrambling that ensued when Key Porter Books, the original publisher for Half-Blood Blues, closed down during the edit. And we’ll find out why Montreal editor John Sweet is still talking about the amazing experience he had copy editing Washington Black for HarperCollins imprint Patrick Crean Editions.

This event will feature a reading and a brief talk about the author-editor relationship by Ms. Edugyan and short presentations from her editors, followed by a Q&A. We’ll close the event with a raffle, and time will be allowed for Ms. Edugyan to sign books.

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Indigenous editing principles, featuring Gregory Younging and his new style guide, Elements of Indigenous Style

Elements of Indigenous Style by Gregory Younging book coverWhen: NEW TIME: Tuesday, October 23, 2018, 6:30–8 PM

Where: NEW LOCATION: Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) Spadina, 192 Spadina Ave., Third Floor, Room F

(CSI Spadina moved across the street, to 192 Spadina Ave., as of late September.)

For the second program meeting of 2018–19, we are excited to feature Dr. Gregory Younging, author of the new and indispensable style guide, Elements of Indigenous Style (Brush Education, 2018).

Gregory’s exciting study—move over Strunk and White—is the first comprehensive style guide on Indigenous writing. It comprises 22 editorial principles or guidelines and explains why each one is needed. The first principle stresses, in part, that Indigenous Peoples must prioritize their self-perceptions and epistemologies. And the last, on the seemingly straightforward matter of verb tense, probes the nuts and bolts of how to write responsibly about Indigenous Peoples past and present. The other 20 supply much needed advice on ensuring appropriate and respectful interaction with Indigenous cultural materials and their custodians.

In introducing his new book, Gregory has recently delivered talks and conducted workshops across Canada. Now, happily, it’s Toronto’s turn! Please join us for what will surely be an enlightening discussion of Indigenous style—a subject of vital relevance for writers, editors, and publishers today.

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An evening with Michael Redhill and Martha Kanya-Forstner

By Joanne Haskins

Editors Toronto hosted a special branch meeting in January, when acclaimed author Michael Redhill took the stage with his editor, Martha Kanya-Forstner, to discuss the writing and editing of Bellevue Square, the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner.

Redhill’s novels include Consolation (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize) and Martin Sloane (a finalist for the Giller Prize). He has written a novel for young adults, four collections of poetry and two plays. Redhill also writes a series of crime novels under the name Inger Ash Wolfe and is an editor and Editors Canada member. Kanya-Forstner is editor-in-chief for both Doubleday Canada and McClelland & Stewart. Along with Redhill’s prizewinner, she’s edited David Chariandy’s novel Brother, which won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and James Maskalyk’s Life on the Ground Floor, winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

There were few empty seats and the audience of writers, writing students and editors anticipated an enlightening discussion as two of the most highly regarded figures in Canadian literature today promised to reveal the ins and outs of the editor-writer working relationship. The biggest takeaway of the evening for editors was “Ask questions.”

After introductions of both Redhill and Kanya-Forstner, each discussed their process as writer/writer-editor, and editor. The respect they had for each other was evident throughout the discussion as they listened carefully to one another, built upon each other’s responses, and focused on each other’s strengths and abilities to bring the best of the writer’s words to the page. (more…)