On Friday, March 2, 2018, Editors Nova Scotia presented two half-day workshops with Carolyn Brown, Certified Professional Editor and Editor in the Life Sciences.
Carolyn is a scientific and medical writer, editor and publishing consultant with 18 years’ experience at Canada’s two largest scientific publishers. In her current consulting work, she writes articles on medical topics for Nature and the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and edits journal articles, technical reports and fact sheets for the public in a variety of sciences. She has taught scientists in Mexico how to write articles for journal publication. Her own training includes the Banff Science Communications course, led by noted science popularizer Jay Ingram. She is an accredited Editor in the Life Sciences through the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences and a Certified Professional Editor through Editors Canada. She is the author of the chapter on citation in Editing Canadian English, 3rd edition, and a perennial seminar leader.
From 9 a.m. to noon Carolyn focused on stylistic editing. Editors Canada’s professional editorial standards define stylistic editing as “editing to clarify meaning, improve flow, and smooth language.” It is the domain of those editors who want to communicate: to get the message from the author to the reader accurately, honestly, and even elegantly. It also relies on developing that rare commodity, editorial judgment.
Expectations for stylistic editing can vary widely. This seminar looked at how stylistic editing is done in a variety of publishing settings. Some of the topics covered were:
The context for stylistic editing
How can editors adapt to the needs of their employers and clients?
Who are the readers, and how does that determine the approach to stylistic editing?
What is the medium, and how does that affect the approach?
Who is the author, and how will the stylistic editor communicate and negotiate with the author?
Judgment in approaching editing decisions
Paragraph-level decisions (length, structure, logical flow, connection with other paragraphs)
Sentence-level decisions (length, sentence construction, logical flow, connectors, as well as common problems such as passive voice, noun strings, etc.)
Word-level decisions (word choice geared to readers, omission of unnecessary words)
This seminar involved tales from the trenches (Carolyn is a masterful and highly entertaining storyteller!), lively discussions, and hands-on exercises. An enriching and informative session devoted to our craft.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. the focus was on Citing It Right.
For writers and editors of any scholarly work, understanding citation is critical. Having a good grasp of the elements of citation helps writers and editors move seamlessly from one citation system to another. This seminar took participants through the principles of citation and reviewed major citation systems. We discussed reference management software and looked at editing approaches.
The event was held at the very funky 1313 Hollis Street in downtown Halifax. Delicious coffee, treats, and lunch were provided by Norbert’s Good Food.