Report on the Winter Seminar 2018

The ‘good’ editor: practice, principles and ethics

With a title like this, dreamed up by stalwart committee member Jan Knight, Editors WA’s annual Winter Seminar was always going to be intriguing. The lively content delivered by our three expert presenters more than matched that promise, provoking plenty of impromptu interaction from the audience.

Thanks to the organisers

We must thank the seminar organiser, our IPEd Councillor Stephen White, as well as our Secretary Tracy Piper, for their hard work in providing an excellent professional development opportunity for the 17 members who attended on 25 August at Mt Lawley Senior High School (and thus scored a formal Certificate of Attendance for their CV portfolios). Our new half-day format seemed to work well, but we welcome further feedback from members on this.

Presentations

Diversity was guaranteed, given the presenters’ disparate backgrounds:

Vanessa Herbert, Director of PDT Consultancy, a trainer and consultant to both the private and public sectors for the past 25 years with special expertise in leadership, strategic planning and communications and performance development. vanessa@pdtconsultancy.com.au

David Lindsay, Emeritus Professor, UWA, a former teacher and researcher in agricultural and animal sciences, but also a renowned science communicator, the author of Science Writing – Thinking in Words (2011). david.lindsay@uwa.edu.au

Rhonda Bracey, one of our own, an IPEd member and professional contract technical editor who runs her own business, editing for software, mining and resources companies, as well as government departments. She brought to the seminar table her expertise in editing automation software including Microsoft Word. rhonda.bracey@cybertext.com.au

Vanessa Herbert

We’ve been seeing a few corporate-style documents out of IPEd HQ lately, such as codes of conduct, confidentiality and conflict of interest agreements. So it was timely for Vanessa Herbert to examine the conflict of interest zone within the editing profession in her presentation on ethics. She counselled editors to exercise ‘mindfulness’, always being aware of the current situation and its broader context, understanding its ‘text’ and most importantly, its ‘subtexts’ whether they be body language, cultural values or background history. Transparency is the goal, she said; aim to be ‘crystal clear’ about your meaning and intent.

A large room with people sitting at tables with their backs to the camera, and Vanessa Herbert standing beside a projector screen at the far end.Vanessa Herbert discussing ethics with the group at the 2018 Winter Seminar.

We should realise that perceptions may also have a real impact. When you are asked to declare a conflict of interest, you should not feel that your personal integrity is being assessed or questioned, but rather understand that if there is an opportunity (or even the perception of an opportunity, equally a potential opportunity) to use your role to gain a personal benefit, then a conflict of interest does exist.

Conflicts of interest don’t always present themselves at the beginning of a job so that you can decide from the start whether to take the job or not. Very often, they present in the middle of a job when you have already taken an advance progress payment or have spent many hours working on the project. Sometimes, you may just need to call a wise friend (or IPEd) to discuss the problem!

Vanessa posed us some challenging dilemmas for discussion. Here’s just one to test you:

As a contracting editor, I work on producing an organisational report into the growth areas for a company and the nature of the professional roles that will be part of an expansion in the next six months. My husband has just lost his job and I can provide him with insight into what the organisation is looking for.

Well, should you, would you, do it?

David Lindsay

I found David Lindsay’s contribution to the seminar revelatory. He scientifically reverse- engineered the act of writing well, something many good authors and editors do almost instinctively, to give us a theory of how it is done—a theory that can then be taught to novices. He dismantled the structure of not just whole documents, but of paragraphs and sentences too, to reveal their nuts-and-bolts components. He made a strong case for his hypothesis: that the principles of good scientific communication can be applied across the board to all writing and editing. He believes that good science communicators are telling a ‘story’ like any other writer.

David explained how the ‘principle of expectation’ dominates all successful writing. For example, an article’s title flags something interesting that is coming in the text and entices the reader to read on. Readers who read with an expectation find reading easier and are more likely to understand and retain what they read than those who have no idea what is coming next.

The same principle applies to the whole text. Just as a scientist’s hypothesis, the cornerstone of any scientific paper, sets expectations at the beginning, so each section, paragraph and sentence should have embedded in them an introduction setting expectations, a delivery of results and their interpretation (discussion) and a conclusion. Connections are then built between sections, between paragraphs and between sentences using ‘signpost words’ that are repeated strategically to link the sense of the whole piece from one point to another.

Interestingly, applying David’s principles of writing could well lead most of us to what IPEd terms ‘substantive’ or structural editing (see p. viii of IPEd’s Australian standards for editing practice, 2nd ed., under ‘The fundamentals of editing’). We would have to rewrite a lot more. Take for example his discussion of a title for a scientific paper:

Original title: ‘Fluoride concentration in drinking water samples in Fiji’ (boring!)

Suggested alternative titles, given the actual content of the paper:

  • ‘Fluoride concentration in drinking water samples in Fiji is below minimum standards’
  • ‘The case for fluoridation of drinking water in Fiji’.

The most desirable characteristics of good scientific writing listed by David—precision, clarity and brevity—are surely equally desirable in most non-scientific writing. It was also interesting to hear him say that good paragraphing has become a lost art in modern writing, yet it is a valuable and powerful tool in scientific writing, and possibly in all writing.

David’s concluding advice will surely resonate with all writers and editors: ‘Keep the reader in mind’.

Rhonda Bracey

Rhonda Bracey is a legend for her business efficiency and she certainly demonstrated why in her presentation. She knows about things that most of us never even dreamed Microsoft Word could do! For instance, did you realise that Word’s AutoCorrect function can be customised to automatically insert phrases or paragraphs up to 256 characters long? So instead of laboriously making the same comment repeatedly in the margins of the document you are editing, you can just code a single word, ‘.sense’ for example (note the full stop before ‘sense’ to bring a frequently used correction to the top of the AutoCorrect list), to automatically insert the whole sentence ‘This doesn’t make sense’, or ‘.cap’ to expand into ‘Does this need to be capitalised?’

Rhonda is also a strong advocate of minimising use of the computer mouse, to protect your hands, wrists and arms. She advises us all to get more familiar with keyboard shortcuts—you can get a list of all the shortcuts available in Word if you click through the path File→Macros→View Macros→Macros in→Word Commands→List Commands→Run—and you can even create your own shortcuts if you go File→Options→Customise Ribbon. Automation of tasks is the name of Rhonda’s game.

One of her standard tools is the checklist—hers is seven pages long—which itemises all the things you should do when starting a job. Checklists are vital to ensure you do not forget basics like ‘Never work on the original document, always make a copy!’ or ‘Check Styles’. Rhonda checks all formatting in a document first, and then makes sure that everything is shown onscreen, from formatting marks (but never in Track Changes) to field shading (don’t touch that grey-shaded stuff in the Contents list—it’s probably set up by the author using some program like EndNote) and table gridlines. She recommends you move your Quick Access Toolbar below the ribbon at the top, for easier access.

A large room with people sitting at tables with their backs to the camera, and Rhonda Bracey standing beside a projector screen at the far endRhonda Bracey demonstrating the merits of checklists at the 2018 Winter Seminar.

Rhonda also introduced us to her favourite software programs for editors, namely PerfectIt, EditTools and PhraseExpress. Hilary Cadman of Cadman Editing is one of the best-known exponents of PerfectIt; her online workshops can be found on YouTube. Rhonda pointed out that PerfectIt—essentially a consistency checker—can be customised, rendering the traditional style sheet virtually redundant.

EditTools has some sophisticated tools suitable to specialised editing, for example in the sciences, with useful functions such as ‘Never Spell Word’ for words that are peculiar to a discipline and do not need checking, and a Commonly Misspelled Words option. An extra fee can buy special aids such as a complete list of the correct titles for most academic journals.

PhraseExpress specialises in automated templates and autocorrects to speed up editing. Finally, Rhonda advised us to subscribe to online dictionaries and style guides, and to join both formal and informal organisations such as ACES, the Society for Editing (US) and SfEP, the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (UK) on the formal side. On the less formal side are the Facebook sites for the ‘Editors’ Association of Earth’ and Australia’s ‘Secret Editors’ Business’, both of which include private subgroups, where many IPEd and non-IPEd editors chat about a wide range of subjects.

Conclusion

I left the seminar feeling both educated and inspired to learn more. I’m confident that most attendees would have felt the same, but once again, do give us your feedback. For a start, Rhonda Bracey has written her views on the Winter Seminar in her blog.

Ilsa Sharp, a freelance editor with a background in Asia, specialising in non-fiction and academic editing, is currently Acting President of Editors WA. She can be contacted at edwa.president@iped-editors.org.

Winter Seminar Update: registrations extended, reduced student / concession price

Cartoon of a woman with a halo sitting at a computer

Have you polished your editing halo lately?

Ours are looking a little tarnished, so we’re going to the Winter Seminar on Saturday 25 August for a refresher on what it is to be a ‘good’ editor. Why not join us there to get your ‘goodness’ credentials glowing again?

Cost

IPEd members $90
, Non-members, $120
Reduced Price — Student and concession card members now just $33

Presenters

Vanessa Herbert, PDT Consultancy:
 Vanessa will explore the application and implications of the IPEd codes of ethics and conduct in editing practices.

Prof. David Lindsay, Researcher and science communicator:
 We’ve invited David to review the writing skills he feels are most valuable for editors to help clients tell their story clearly and effectively.

Rhonda Bracey, Contract Technical Editor: 
Rhonda will share practical tips and useful software for improving effectiveness and efficiency in editing.

More information

Visit the Winter Workshop event page to read more about the presenters and what you will learn from this workshop.

Register online (opens in new window).

Registration extended — now closes midday Thursday 23 August

Enquiries to edwa.admin@iped-editors.org

Winter seminar 2017

Managing your career – and yourself: smart strategies for time-poor editors

Join us for a day of professional development on:

Saturday 26 August 2017 – 8:30 AM for 8:45 AM start / 4:00 PM close
Room 109, Building 3, Edith Cowan University, 2 Bradford Street, Mt Lawley, 6050

Program schedule

8.45 am Opening and introduction, including a short clip on the 80 000 hours project

9.00 am Session 1: Dr Jane Genovese 

Productivity techniques for editors

In this age of distraction you need strategies, tools and techniques to stay on task. In this session, Dr Jane Genovese will share practical strategies to help you stay productive and work effectively in your employment or small business.

You will learn about:

  • the benefits of mind mapping (and how to organise your business or work schedules using them)
  • how to stop procrastinating and motivate yourself at any time
  • how to develop effective habits to streamline your work.
    and much, much more!

About Dr Jane Genovese

Jane is the owner, coordinator, and presenter of Learning Fundamentals, an organisation that gives people the edge over their work and studies. She graduated from Murdoch University in 2009 with a Bachelor of laws and Bachelor of psychology with first class honours, receiving a Vice Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence. In 2017 she completed her doctoral thesis in the area of education and psychology. She has also taught internationally at Zhejiang Normal University in China and lectures on behaviour change and sustainable living at Murdoch University.

10.30 am – morning tea (tai chi in courtyard for those interested in participating)

11.00 am Session 2: Michelle Reeves 

The one man band is still a band! Juggling all the hats…

How to get ‘the edge’ happening in your career
Establishing routines
What is quality assurance and what does it mean to the individual as a freelancer or valued employee? Examining the value of a professional organisation such as IPEd.
Process vs approach.
The customer is always the focus – without them there is no work!

The two rules of business:

Rule # 1 the customer is always right
Rule # 2 refer to rule # 1

Michelle Reeves runs her own small business, On Track Tutorials

12.00 noon Session 3: Andrew Maurice PC from SBDC

Eight steps to start your own business

The Small business development corporation (SBDC) has heaps of resources designed to help those in small business (funny, that!). In this session, Andrew will focus on their latest initiative of aiding those wishing to establish a small business, broken down into eight simple steps.

1.00 pm – lunch

1.45 pm Session 4: Sue James – registered nurse

Let’s relax and prepare our mind for some more learning!

What is mindfulness/meditation/relaxation and what’s its place in small business and in the workplace for one’s wellbeing? A short practical session

2.15 pm Session 5: Kelly Sayers

“What is my why in my work?”

Discovering your voice and your life’s purpose in life and work, and finding your niche through the 5 Ps to prosperity

THE FOUNDATION OF THE 5Ps CERTIFICATION PROGRAMME

  • a clear vision and purpose that inspires you in harmony with your values and heart’s desires
  • unlimited thinking and intuition, inspired action, attracting what you want
  • taking control of your life and ENJOYING IT NOW

**Kelly will have her books and programmes available for sale on the day

3.45 pm Session 6: Plenary and Q&A                                             

4.00 pm – CLOSE

COST

Members          $125 (concession $75)

Non-members  $150 (concession $100)

BUY TICKETS

 

Staff changes in IPEd national office

New secretary for IPEd

There has recently been an important change to staffing in the IPEd national office. Margaret Telford, IPEd secretary since 2013–14 has resigned for personal reasons.

Margaret has been an invaluable, highly professional and highly respected secretary for IPEd during her tenure, especially over the transition from IPEd as a peak body for State societies to the direct membership model. She also became a much-relied-upon source of information and knowledge about IPEd’s constitution and functions, and who’s who.

Margaret’s replacement is Mike Willoughby. Mike has been a fully qualified company secretary for 16 years, with a background in accounting and subsequently in company law overseas and in Australia. He has worked in both corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Thus, Mike brings a wealth of experience to the position in which he will work on a 0.3 FTE basis.

The email for Mike remains the same: secretary@iped-editors.org

We will keep you abreast of any other changes to national office staffing if and as they arise.


In other news…

WA editors may be interested to know that IPEd has identified thesis and academic editing as an important early project for the restructured organisation to work on. Thesis editing appears to be one of the most controversial disciplines for editors across the country. Notwithstanding the professional guidelines (http://iped-editors.org/About_editing/Editing_theses.aspx), debate erupts sporadically about the level of editing that can and should be applied to theses, and the ways in which edits are implemented.

Another significant current and on-going project for IPEd is the revision of Style manual. The sixth edition is now more than a decade old and is in urgent need of updating. IPEd is one of several organisations with the credentials to undertake this important task. An IPEd working party comprising representatives from all states and territories is being set up to coordinate a strategy and IPEd is looking at possible collaborative working arrangements with other organisations. Word on progress will be disseminated as the project unfolds.

For more information on these or any other news from IPEd, go to http://iped-editors.org/News_and_events/View_News.aspx or contact your IPEd WA Councillor, Stephen White.

Book review: Writing for science journals

Quote

cover-image

by Geoffrey Hart
Diaskeuasis Publishing
Quebec, Canada, 2014
Web: http://www.geoff-hart.com/index.html
Online bookstore:
Printed version of the book

Review by Stephen White (Editors WA)

In science publications as anywhere, it remains largely the case that early-career scientists are supposed to learn by osmosis what it means to write science well. Commonly, the skills needed to write good publications are gleaned to a greater or lesser degree from supervisors, who may or may not themselves be good writers.

Enter the editor, who is sometimes better placed to know what it means to write well for a successful publication. A 2014 book Writing for science journals: tips, tricks and a learning plan by Geoffrey Hart, Canadian science editor, addresses exactly this topic, and then some.

Bearing in mind that Geoff Hart has written this book mainly for writers of science publications, it is also true that understanding the principles of good writing is as essential for editors as it is for authors. As editors, our work must be informed by the requirements of the discipline, as well as by the standards of the intended publisher or publishing medium. Thus, editors in Australia—including thesis editors and especially, but not exclusively, editors of science writing—might find it useful to browse Writing for science journals as a supplement to other editing references.

But before you dive into the 600 page ebook, you can read a recent detailed review. At the author’s request, Stephen White (Editors WA) has written a review that may help other editors target chapters of Writing for science journals that best suit their needs.

Read the full review here.

Go directly to the internet to download the ebook here.


If you write it, but no one reads it, you still haven’t done it.

David Lindsay, 2011, Scientific writing = thinking in words:
CSIRO Publishing, Victoria, p. 3

Mentoring program – new status

At the IPEd plenary session of the Write|Edit|Index conference, our mentoring program became part of IPEd’s responsibility. We are now known officially as the IPEd National Mentoring Program for Editors, as a result of an agreement signed by the CSE President, Alan Cummine, and the IPEd Chair, Kerry Davies. The systems we’ve put in place all remain the same, Canberra continues to administer the program nationally with the team of state/territory coordinators working with the national coordinators. We are delighted to have IPED’s formal recognition and support.

IMG_0011Before the formal announcement, all but one of the current coordinators, plus the two national coordinators, were able to gather for lunch at the conference, and here is a photo of us all: standing – Ted Briggs; sitting, clockwise – Ara Nalbandian (ACT), Elizabeth Manning Murphy, Kerry Coyle (WA), Sheelagh Wegman (Tas), Davina Dadley-Moore (Vic), Zoe Hale (NSW), Roberta Blake (Qld). Absent: Adele Walker (SA).

At the Mentoring plenary session of the conference, coordinators sat on the podium and were introduced to the delegates. Your local coordinator is your first port of call for information about the mentoring program and for advice during a mentorship, should you need it. We are dedicated to helping mentorships be successful, personally rewarding pairings. If you don’t have your local coordinator’s details, contact either Elizabeth or Ted (see below) and we’ll pass your request on.

We’re pretty chuffed with this outcome – we’ve been working towards it, but it’s happened in two short years, and we’re still somewhat bemused by the speed at which it has happened. Heartfelt thanks to all the coordinators for help, swapping ideas and generally promoting mentoring to the whole membership of all current societies.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO BE PART OF IT?
This brings me to a topic I get asked about sometimes – just who can be mentored? Is it only for new editors? Or can senior, experienced editors be mentored? The answer is – ANYONE can be mentored and ANYONE can be a mentor. It all depends on what you want to be guided in, and what skills you have that you can share. We have on our program very young, inexperienced editors, struggling to get a foothold in the competitive editing profession; and we have editors near to traditional retirement age, with lots of experience behind them, but wanting to perhaps understand more about new technologies and spread their wings into newer areas of editing – such editors are often mentored by much younger colleagues who have grown up with technology or work in legal, medical or scientific editing. You don’t have to be old and white-haired to be a mentor, and you don’t have to be straight out of editing school to be a mentee. If you meet the basic requirements – membership of an editing society at any level, have attended a course or workshop about copy-editing and proofreading, and have at least a little experience in copy-editing – you qualify. Just ask for the mentor or mentee application form and we’ll help you with the rest.

 

for IPEd National Mentoring Program for Editors:
Ted Briggs AE (tedbriggs@grapevine.com.au)
Elizabeth Manning Murphy DE (emmurphy.words@gmail.com)
Joint National Coordinators

Win free registration for IPEd conference

As a gesture of thanks for SoE(WA)’s sponsorship of write | edit | index, the 7th IPEd National Editors Conference 2015 in Canberra, the Canberra Society of Editors is offering two of our members complimentary conference registration (excludes the conference dinner).

If you would like to win this fantastic prize, please send a simple ‘Yes’ in an email to express your interest to Cheryl Bettridge at president@editorswa.com with the subject line ‘CANBERRA CONFERENCE’ by midnight Monday 16 February 2015. (Those who have already registered are welcome to enter.)

Please note: This is not a test of skill/merit; two names will simply be drawn out of a hat at our networking meeting on Tuesday 17 February. Also, the prize is payment of the conference registration fee only, i.e. winners need to pay for their own accommodation, flights, etc.  If you are a winner but find you are unable to attend, please let us know asap so we can do a re-draw to let someone else attend.

If you miss out you on the complimentary passes, you will still be able to take advantage of Early Bird registration for the conference before it closes on 20 February. The conference is being held on 6-9 May, 2015.

For the conference program and more details about the venue, see http://writeeditindex.net.au/.

John Simkin Medal 2015

The Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI) invites nominations for the inaugural John Simkin Medal – an award recognising an outstanding index to a book compiled in Australia or New Zealand.

The John Simkin Medal, previously known as the ANZSI Medal, has been renamed in honour of John Simkin, one of the founding members of the Society. John promoted the ideals of indexes and indexing throughout his 40-year association with the Society, so it is with pleasure we acknowledge his enormous contribution to indexing in this way.

The ANZSI Medal was first awarded in 1985 and was offered annually until 2013, when it became biennial.

Due to the prestigious nature of the Medal, it is only awarded when merited. Details of previous ANZSI Medal winners are available at www.anzsi.org/site/medal_win.asp.

To attain the award, indexes must be of the highest calibre. The index should be substantial in size, the subject matter complex, and the language, form and structure should demonstrate the indexer’s expertise in serving the primary needs of the text and the reader. There are no restrictions on the subject matter of the book.

The book may be in either paper or electronic format.

To be eligible for the award, the book must be commercially available and have an imprint date of 2012 or later. The index must have been compiled in Australia or New Zealand, although the text to which it refers may have been published elsewhere.

Publishers, booksellers, editors, librarians, indexers and interested persons are all invited to provide nominations. Indexers are encouraged to submit their own work.

The winning indexer will receive the John Simkin Medal and a framed certificate. The publisher will receive a framed certificate.

Applications
A completed nomination form together with a hard copy of the book or a link to the electronic file of both book and index is required. Hard copy books will be returned after judging. Nomination forms are available at www.anzsi.org/UserFiles/file/John-Simkin-Medal-nomination-form-2015.pdf.

Dates
Applications must be received no later than Friday, 20 March, 2015 at the address on the nomination form. Presentation of the inaugural John Simkin Medal will be made to the winner at Write | Edit | Index: A national conference for editors, indexers, and publishing professionals, Canberra, 6–9 May 2015.

IPEd conference keynote speakers announced

The organisers of write | edit | index, the 7th IPEd National Editors Conference 2015 are thrilled to announce two well-known Australians as keynote speakers, namely Jackie French and David Astle.

Jackie French is an author of 140 books across a range of genres. Her work includes fiction for adults and children, gardening, history and picture books. She is a passionate advocate for the conservation of wildlife and the planet.

David Astle is well known as the dictionary guy from the television show Letters and Numbers. He is a self-confessed word nerd writing cryptics for the The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.

The conference launches with a day of professional workshops covering topics on editing, indexing, blogging, design and digital markup to name a few. The next two days include four session streams each day, ensuring that there is a session for everyone.

The conference will take place in Canberra from 6–9 May 2015 and early bird registration closes on 20 February.

Early bird registration (closes 20 February 2015)
Member                         $485
Non-member                $550
Student member          $335

Full registration (closes 31 March 2015)
Member                         $550
Non-member                $650
Student member          $400

Day registration (closes 31 March 2015)
Thursday                       $200
Friday                             $200
Saturday                         $150

For program details and to register go to www.writeeditindex.net.au

IPEd will update conference news on Twitter @IPEditors and Facebook at www.facebook.com/IPEditors.

Join the conference conversation by using #writeeditindex.

Barbara Ramsden Award closes soon

Entries for the Barbara Ramsden award close on 30 November 2014.

This is a major literary award for a book of fiction or non-fiction…that is presented to the author and editor to recognise the combined effort of both parties to produce a quality product…All entries must include two copies of the book and up to two written commentaries from the author, writer and/or publisher (of up to 150 words each) on how the editor contributed to the final result. It is recommended that the commentaries address the role of the editor in specific aspects of the book’s production, such as copy editing, structural editing, proofreading, and/or fact checking.

You can read the full conditions of entry and download the entry form.