Substantive editing, also known as structural editing, focuses on the content, organization, and presentation of an entire text, from the title through to the ending. Substantive editors help writers define their goals, identify their readers, and shape the manuscript in the best possible way. They clarify the argument, fix the pacing, suggest improvements, and draw missing pieces from the author. These essential skills apply to fiction and non-fiction alike, including books, magazines, reports, legal decisions, and corporate and government writing of all kinds. They are equally useful for writers, too, as they revise their final drafts to submit to literary agents or publishers or to self-publish through Amazon, Google, or other platforms on the web.
Substantive editing is the first step in the editing or revising process, and there is no point in copy editing a text that needs substantive work. This seminar outlines the basic steps in substantive editing, offers tips on ways to win writers’ and clients’ confidence, and provides realistic in-class exercises. Enjoy a stimulating discussion, practise your skills, and return home with a fine handout.
Please note that this is Rosemary’s last seminar with Editors Toronto, after offering her expertise to the association for more than 20 years. Take advantage of this, your last opportunity to benefit from her extensive knowledge and experience. (more…)
(Rodale Books, January 2016)
By Jessica Trudel
Not all editors are writers, but all editors are readers. The majority of us fell in love with stories when we were little, making friends with the characters on the page. Some of those memorable characters were inside TV shows, movies, and video games, too. Steve Kamb, the author of Level Up Your Life, reminds us of our greatest childhood heroes and uses that nostalgia to make goal-setting fun again.
The concept for Level Up Your Life began for Kamb when he found himself with everything a person needs—family, friends, a good job—but he still felt unfulfilled. After establishing a website to help gamers like himself get fit (nerdfitness.com), Kamb realized that wellness is about so much more than physical fitness. He writes, “I wanted to turn my life into a game…I could become adventurous Steve Kamb, actively planning crazy experiences that would take me out of my comfortable hobbit-hole and away to far-off lands, into life-changing moments of growth and adventure.” He realized that by gamifying his life, he could start accomplishing all of his personal and professional goals. And that’s exactly what he did.
Now, Kamb is teaching others how to do the same thing. With Level Up Your Life, Kamb shows readers how to use this same system to achieve their own goals.
Level Up Your Life isn’t a book about editing, but it is a book for editors. It’s for anyone who wants to reach his or her personal and professional best in life. What are your editing goals? To gain five new clients this year? To expand into a new field of editing? To upgrade your skills and take a new course? Whatever your goal, Level Up Your Life will show how to make goal-setting fun through gamification. (more…)
Some writers have a good intuitive feel for grammatical correctness—or lack thereof. But professional editors need more than intuition; they need to be able to name the mistakes in order to explain their changes and help writers improve. Learn how to identify, name, and eliminate the most common grammatical gaffes, the ones that embarrass the writer and distract the reader. The instructor will also provide some useful print and online resources to help you continue your voyage of grammatical discovery.
The key learning objectives of the webinar are to
- understand why it’s important to move beyond an intuitive sense of correctness,
- identify common grammatical mistakes, name them, and correct them, and
- explore practical and useful print and online resources for continuing to improve one’s grammar.
Date: Wednesday, March 15
Time: 2 p.m., EDT / 11 a.m., PDT
Length: 1.5 hours
Member price: $56.25
Non-Member price: $75
Margaret Chandler teaches editing, grammar and style, and business writing at the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. She also delivers diverse workshops and provides writing and editing services through Green Fuse Inc.
By Christine Albert
As a student enrolled in an editing program, I’m often asked to reflect on issues that may arise when working with clients. The discussion and module notes invariably focus on respect, clear communications, and diplomacy—about how the language of our queries and comments can affect authors. Yet, accessibility is rarely discussed, and few resources from professional associations or courses exist on how to make editorial businesses inclusive and accessible.
This lack of information on accessibility creates a disadvantage for those potential clients who may be physically or cognitively unable to use the same editing services as their peers. An author with multiple learning disabilities once explained to me that she found it difficult working with other editors: they simply wrote long comments using Track Changes, which she had difficulty reading. As a result, she had to constantly ask her transcriber to read her the edits and comments. After discussing the author’s needs, she and I worked out an alternate method that involved verbally communicating comments and large changes, which would let her work through the draft independently—a tactic that surprisingly hadn’t been considered by the other editors.
Lack of accessibility not only affects the services side of our businesses but it also affects our marketing efforts. Google searches for accessible and inclusive editing services turned up no relevant results. While searching editor websites, I was surprised to find that many do not follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) nor incorporate basic accessibility features. For instance, a number of websites could not be zoomed in when viewed on a tablet, while others did not have enough contrast between the text and background. As someone with moderate vision issues, I struggled to read the content on these websites. Potential clients with visual or learning disabilities may be deterred by these difficulties and look elsewhere for an editor. If we are to operate our editorial businesses successfully, we need to go beyond our assumptions of what clients need and make our services accessible so we can provide them with what they actually require. (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.
Stephanie, please tell us a little about yourself, the kind of work you do, and how long you’ve been an editor.
I work from a home office in downtown Toronto, where I live with my husband and the last of my three kids. In that office (and occasionally in local cafés), I fill a wide range of roles, from structural editor of YA [young adult] fiction to proofreader of university textbooks, working with both independent authors and established publishers. One month I might be sorting out reader-friendly sentence structure in trade non-fiction that tells a complicated but important science story; the next month could see me revelling in the latest volume of a regular client’s erotic science-fiction series. Between the variety of the work and the ease of getting laundry and baking done, I can’t imagine what it would take to get me to give up my home office for someone else’s corporate one.
For a number of years I taught editing as well, and was co-coordinator of the Ryerson Publishing Program where I’d once been a fledgling editor. Nothing hones your craft better than teaching it to others! I stepped away from that to give more time to other parts of my life—actual leisure time, volunteer work (I sit on the board of the Book and Periodical Council), and photography. Just don’t ask when my next show will be. I’m still working on that “more time” thing. (more…)
When readers are confronted with wordy and inflated prose, they can easily miss or misinterpret the author’s message—or they may give up reading the document altogether. As editors, one of our tasks is to ensure that authors write with clarity and precision instead of wandering into verbal “swamps.”
In this two-part webinar, you’ll learn how to identify and correct wordiness, repetition, inflated language, and weasel words. You’ll also become familiar with the key components of plain language, good paragraphing, and bias-free writing.
Attention will also be given to imprecise words and incomplete expression, faulty or unclear antecedents, “smothered verbs,” jargon/cliché, misused words, mixed metaphors, wobbling verb tense, and making sure that dialogue is appropriate to the characters who speak it.
You’ll also have the opportunity to edit sentences and short passages taken from works of fiction and nonfiction, including corporate documents and children’s fiction. (more…)
This webinar will equip the participants with a methodology to handle various tasks pertaining to the proofreading of lengthy textbooks. The key learning objectives of this webinar are
- creating or/and updating a style sheet,
- project management, and
- tasks and deadlines prioritizing.
Date: Monday, March 6
Time: 12 p.m., EST / 9 a.m., PST
Length: 1.5 hours
Member price: $56.25
Non-Member price: $75
Aude Gwendoline holds a PhD in Translation Studies. She has over 13 years of experience as a French translator/editor. So far, she has translated close to 80 novels for Parisian publishers.
Any good editor will tell you she’d be lost without her well-thumbed, heavily flagged, and coffee-stained copy of The Chicago of Manual of Style. But just what is this mysterious tome? And why is it so critical to the work we do?
This seminar will introduce you to the joys and sorrows of the book that most people simply call Chicago. We’ll start with a brief history of its publication, exploring how it grew from what was essentially a guide for compositors into the most trusted and widely used editorial style manual in North America. But the fun won’t stop there! We’ll also look at what it covers, how to use it, what has changed between the most recent edition and the previous one, and much, much more.
This course is highly recommended for anyone just starting to work as an editor or hoping to become one. (more…)