Stylistic Editing and Cite It Right Workshops

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.

Treats and lunch provided by Norbert’s Good Food
Some of the attendees of the workshop with Carolyn Brown
March 2018 workshop with Carolyn Brown, attendees

The NEC is coming to town! Read all about it!

The national executive council (NEC) of Editors Canada meets quarterly. They try to move around the country to connect with different branches and twigs. March 2 to 4, 2018, they are coming to Halifax for the second time (last time was in 2013).

You can join them in a variety of ways …


Editors Nova Scotia will be taking advantage of the expertise coming to town by having a workshop with Carolyn Brown. More details to follow.

Friday evening, join the NEC for drinks at Roy’s Lounge in the Westin Nova Scotian and ask them anything.

Saturday and Sunday

Any member of Editors Canada is welcome to attend the quarterly meetings. Come and listen and watch the magic happen.

Saturday evening

Join the NEC for dinner to chat about life, Editors Canada, and how great Halifax is.

For details on any of these events, please email us.



Word Styles and Templates Workshop


Microsoft Word provides powerful tools for creating and managing text styles. Many people think of styles mainly in connection with document design and layout, but even in the manuscript stage, styles are an important part of a clean, stable document and efficient workflows. This workshop will demonstrate how to take control of a document’s appearance and structure while saving time for you and for colleagues.

Workshop participants will learn how to think strategically about styles and plan their use; how to create, modify, and apply styles; how to manage styles using the Organizer; and how to store and document style systems using templates.


Word templates are powerful toolkits and one of Word’s most underutilized features. The well-known, ready-made layouts represent just one small facet of template use. This workshop will explore their potential to contribute at every stage of document development, from concept through writing, editing, and layout.

Workshop participants will practise using a range of template elements, learning how to create, revise, and apply templates; how to find and back up template files; how to populate a template with styles, autotext entries, custom toolbars, and time-saving scripts; and how to manage templates using the Organizer.

You are encouraged to bring a laptop computer with a version of Word (notes will also be provided).


Note: Participants should already be familiar with Microsoft Word’s basic functions related to the formatting of pages, margins, paragraphs, and fonts. Martha will be demonstrating on an Apple computer using Word for Mac 2011. PC and Word version equivalences will be searched for collectively in class.


Martha Hickman Hild is a freelance writer and editor based in Cambridge, Nova Scotia. Her career in publishing spans the whole transition from conventional paste-up through the advent of desktop computing to the complex digital workflows of today. Following an earlier career in academia, she worked as a technical writer, then in educational publishing and in the news industry before returning to university as a research administrator. She is the author of two field guides for amateur geologists.

 Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Time: workshop starts at 9.30 am, finishes at 4.30 pm (lunch provided at 12.30 pm)

Location:    East Coast School of Languages, Classroom 10

1256 Barrington St.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


Fees: lunch included for both half- and full-day workshops

Editors Canada Members non-members
half-day workshop $100 $125
two half-day workshops $150 $200

Registration: registration link

Registration closes on Wednesday, October 17, 2017 at midnight.

Please contact the Editors Nova Scotia co-coordinators ( with any questions.