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Book Review: Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples by Gregory Younging

by Indu Singh

Cover of "Elements of Indigenous Style" style manual next to photo of Gregory Younging

Exactly one year ago today, members of Editors Toronto had the privilege of hearing Gregory Younging speak about his recently published style guide, Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples, at a regular monthly Editors Toronto program meeting. The standing-room-only program was one of our most popular to date.

Gregory Younging passed away on May 3, 2019. The executive of Editors Toronto was profoundly saddened by this news and issued a statement at the time. We publish this book review to honour his memory and the important work he did, and to mark the one-year anniversary of his presentation to Editors Toronto.

 

Gregory Younging—publisher, editor, poet, educator, and member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation in northern Manitoba—is known for his groundbreaking advocacy of Indigenous issues and his enduring legacy of nurturing Indigenous writing and publishing in Canada. In Elements of Indigenous Style: A Guide for Writing By and About Indigenous Peoples (Brush Education, 2018), he assesses Indigenous literature and publishing from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples. The result is a book of 22 editorial principles that guide readers through a new approach to writing and editing material with Indigenous content.

Younging believes it’s high time to decolonize Canadian English—a trend that he points out is already underway. Problematic terms such as primitive and heathen have largely been dropped from usage, while others like land claim and Native are increasingly becoming outdated.

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Aces in spades: Report on the ACES 2016 Portland conference

By Berna Ozunal

Aces in spades: Report on the ACES 2016 Portland conference

The iconic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland sign

What do you get when more than 650 editors from all over the United States and beyond get together in one location? Aces in spades. That’s what happened from March 31 to April 2 when the American Copy Editors Society (ACES) celebrated its twentieth anniversary in Portland, Oregon. And you can be sure that the whole event was run with unearthly precision and clarity thanks to the expert communication skills of the organizers.

Rose City

Okay, I have to admit that the location was a big pull for me this year. Portland’s the land of craft breweries, bicycles, trams, roses, food trucks, “tattoo ink that never runs dry,” handmade ice cream, and doughnuts… .

About the doughnuts: Blue Star is the best, while Voodoo has ropes and stanchions to control its hordes of doughnut-eyed tourists. (more…)

The writer-editor relationship, part 1: Editors preparing writers

By Nina Munteanu

The writer-editor relationship, part 1: Editors preparing writers

As indie publishing soars to new heights and successes, writers are looking more and more to freelance editors to help them create works of merit that will stand out in the market. Whether this process is seamless and productive or fraught with difficulties depends on the relationship established between editor and writer at the outset and throughout.

The writer-editor relationship, like any relationship, works best when communication between parties is transparent and clear. What ultimately drives misunderstanding—or, alternatively, harmony—is expectations and how they are met. Clarifying expectations on both sides is paramount to creating a professional and productive relationship with few hitches.

Realizing expectations

Indie authors often come to editors with unclear and, at times, unreasonable or unrealistic expectations on services. Many writers know very little about the kind of editing we do and the different levels of effort (time and associated fee) required. They do not understand the difference between “copy editing” and “structural editing,” particularly as it pertains to their own work. In fact, many indie writers don’t even know what their manuscript requires. This is because of two things: (1) they can’t objectively assess their own work, particularly in relation to market needs, and (2) many authors haven’t sufficiently considered their “voice” or brand and matched it to a relevant target market. Both of these will influence how the writer comes into the relationship and the nature of their expectations. (more…)

The hidden agenda of my EAC mentor

By Michelle SchriverBusiness Partners Helping Each Other

My goal was to establish myself as a freelance editor. But in my darkest moments, I questioned whether that goal was a realistic one. I had completed Ryerson’s certificate in publishing, but with no in-house experience—or paid editorial experience of any kind—how would I win contracts?

In desperation, I found myself applying for posted jobs—exactly what job experts say not to do. Instead, experts say, you must identify what you want and go after it.

I didn’t listen.

I continued to apply for posted jobs, receiving little interest from potential employers. I felt lost—and like a loser.

EAC’s mentorship program came to the rescue—and BoldFace, too, because that’s where a post by freelance editor and writer Jennifer D. Foster came to my attention. If you’re a regular BoldFace reader, then you’re familiar with Jennifer’s byline, as she writes and edits her fair share of posts (and recently joined the Toronto branch’s executive committee as the seminars vice-chair). Her post profiling a coffee shop in my neighbourhood caught my eye, so I googled her. When I learned she lives close to me, I emailed her, offering to buy her coffee at the shop she blogged about.

She responded right away, saying she was willing to meet. At the appointed time, I waited for Jennifer at the coffee shop, feeling every bit the online stalker. Thanks to the Internet, I knew Jennifer’s educational background, work experience, and family status. I even knew her dog’s name.

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The Daily Grind: Toronto café Red Rocket Coffee

The Daily Grind is an ongoing mini-feature that highlights the best cafés in Toronto for freelance editors looking for a caffeine fix and a temporary office away from home.

Red Rocket CoffeeBy Michelle Schriver

As a freelancer, I enjoy the comforts of a home office. No harsh commercial lighting or erratic heating/cooling system stifles my productivity. But when it’s time for a break or for a client meeting, Red Rocket Coffee on the Danforth (east of Greenwood) is fast becoming my home office away from home office. When I walk through the door, I’m greeted by warm wood accents, comfy toffee-coloured leather couches, glowing fireplace embers, and pleasant ambient and accent lighting. No doubt Goldilocks herself would dub this place “just right”—perfect for working or reading. Jazz plays unobtrusively in the background while patrons tap away on laptops or settle in with novels. Baristas are friendly and helpful. I rate Red Rocket A for ambiance, all right.

The Reunion Island Coffee ($2/$2.25/$2.50) doesn’t disappoint, either. Signature and seasonal (salted caramel latte, anyone?) coffees as well as espresso, tea, cold drinks, and beer are on offer. Food options include sandwiches ($7.95) and generously portioned baked goods such as homemade bagels and wheat-free peanut butter cookies. A thick slice of dark gingerbread ($2.65) reminds me of dessert back home in the Maritimes. And there’s the crux of it: I feel at home here.

Wi-Fi Network Name: 3141592654 (pi to nine decimal places)
Number of tables: 7
Number of power outlets: 11
1364 Danforth Ave., open Mon.–Fri. 7 AM–6 PM, Sat. 8 AM–10 PM, Sun. 8 AM–6 PM
(Additional location at 154 Wellesley St. E.)

Michelle Schriver is a freelance editor and writer who hates harsh glare and blowing fans. Luckily, she lives in an old house with poor lighting and hissing radiators.

This article was copy edited by Sadie Scapillato.