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

 

‘Editing in the digital age’: full program!

The Society of Editors (WA) is please to announce the program for our upcoming winter seminar.

Editing in the digital age: software and systems for professional success

Editors should be up to date and proficient in … common word processing software for editing … and accepted techniques for handling electronic files. Australian standards for editing practice (IPEd, p. 6)

Time Presenters and session titles
8.30   am Registration
9.00 President’s welcome (Cheryl Bettridge AE)
9.05 Announcements (Kerry Coyle AE)
9.10 Dr Hilary Cadman AE ‘PerfectIt – the editor’s friend’
10.00 MORNING TEA
10.15 John Denton ‘How to build a business’
11.15 Rhonda Bracey ‘Telecommuting: Pros and cons’
12.15 pm LUNCH catered by Café Ultimo
13.00 Dr Hilary Cadman AE ‘Keeping up to date with electronic editing tools’
14.00 Margaret McNally AE ‘How many ‘p’s exist in publication?’
14.45 AFTERNOON TEA
15.00 Georgina Wilson ‘Editing for the web – same, same but different’
15.45 Thanks and close

Guest speakers

cadman2Dr Hilary Cadman

PerfectIt – the editor’s friend and Keeping up to date with electronic editing tools
Hilary is a highly experienced science and medical editor, and trainer. Her background is in science. She has a PhD in biochemistry and spent 20 years working in research laboratories and universities in the UK, France and Zimbabwe. A Master of Science (communications) led her into a career in science editing in 1999.

Denton2John Denton

Helping you not just to do business, but to build one!
John started his own training and development business in January 1997 as a licensee for Leadership Management Australia. He has 27 years experience in engineering, customer service, sales and management roles. Today, John is an experienced business person, business consultant, qualified facilitator and trainer, public speaker and ‘business ready for sale’ coach. His extensive knowledge is valuable for editors in any field.

bracey2Rhonda Bracey

Telecommuting: Pros and cons
Editing is an occupation that can be done from home—for at least part of the time. Rhonda has worked full-time from home since 2007. In this presentation, she shares her telecommuting experiences and the pros and cons of working remotely from a corporate office. Rhonda Bracey started her technical communication business in WA in 1999.

mcnallyMargaret McNally

How many ‘p’s exist in publication?
Margaret is a highly experienced editor and professional writer who has written broadly for newspapers, magazines, and corporate organisations. Until recently, Margaret was managing editor of corporate publications at Curtin University, a position she held for more than six years.

wilsonGeorgina Wilson

Editing for the web – same, same but different
Georgina is an experienced editor working with the Department of Agriculture and Food in Perth. Recently her work has concentrated on the department’s new website.

Register online now! Registration is now closed

Winter seminar 2013 – Editing with impact – BOOK NOW!

EDITING WITH IMPACT

SCIENCE, STANDARDS AND STYLE SHEETS

Where: Room 111/112, Building 3, Edith Cowan University, 2 Bradford St, Mount Lawley

Time: 8.30 am for 9 am start; close 4.15 pm

Cost: $125 members; $150 non-members (lunch included)

RSVP 12 July 2013

Saturday 27 July

David

Keynote speaker: Professor David Lindsay, AO, editing science

 More highlights:

• How to create a style sheet

• Clear expression

• Ethics for editors

• Cite it right

• A keen eye for graphics

Don’t miss out. View the seminar flyer. BOOK NOW.

Email: kcoyle@westnet.com.au or jknight@flyingedits.com.au to submit your registration form.

August networking meeting — preparing for the accreditation exam

Topic: Preparing for the accreditation exam
Speakers: Accredited editors who have passed the accreditation exam

This will be an interactive session facilitated by Accredited Editors Cheryl Bettridge, Michele Drouart, Amanda Curtin, Margaret McNally, Jan Knight, Sue Thomson and Kerry Coyle. Bring your Style manual and any other resources you use with you.

The Curtin Uni publication, Treading water while the sharks are circling, designed as a guide for first year uni students sitting exams is a useful guide for anyone who has an exam looming and current Australian standards for editing practice will be distributed to all those who would like one.

The format will be something along the following lines:
Part 1: Tackling the exam 10 mins
This section covers time management, what to do first, using your strengths to their best advantage when choosing questions, etc.
Part 2: Be prepared 10 mins
This includes what to take in to the exam and how to make best use of the website.
Part 3: Survival guide 10 mins
How to remain calm and combat your nerves; hints and tips. General questions.
Part 4: Practice makes perfect (all panellists to assist group) 60 mins

Exam (apart from 10 mins to write name and number on each page and 30 mins reading time) is 3 hours. Use reading time to choose questions.

• Part 1 (25 mins)
Distribute practice papers and read intro. Read Part 1 instructions. Give 20 mins for group to answer the 24 short questions (allocation in exam is 20% so approx 36 mins). Give answers.

• Part 2 (15 mins)
Read page 6 and do some of the style sheet together as not everyone may have done one before. Examples.

• Part 3 (20 mins)
4 of the 12 need to be answered in approximately 72 mins. Let’s look at question 1.  4 of the 6 parts 1.1 to 1.6 need to be done (approx 5 mins to spend on each). Allow everyone to choose four and do them in 20 mins (cross of 5 minute intervals). They can then look at their answers and see how they went.

Hopefully these exercises reassure people that they can work within the exam’s timeframes. Remember some areas will be easier for an individual than others, so the percentage split is really just a guide. 

Wrap up and questions

Date: Tuesday 21 August 2012
Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Tom Dadour Community Centre, 363 Bagot Road, Subiaco
Cost: $10 non-member; $5 members
Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.
RSVP barney9277@optusnet.com.au

Free workshop to revise editing standards

You are invited to attend a workshop to revise the ‘Australian standards for editing practice’. The ‘Standards’ underpin the work of all editors and are the basis of IPEd’s accreditation exam.

Kerry Davies, AE, president of the Queensland Society of Editors, will facilitate the meeting to be held in Perth on Saturday 18 February.

A flyer and all the papers are attached FYI.

If you can attend this important event, please enrol as soon as possible. More details about what is needed will be sent to members who enrol or who express an interest.

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

EVENT: Revision of IPEd standards

VENUE: Tom Dadour Community Centre, 363 Bagot Road, Subiaco

DATE: Saturday, 18 February 2012

TIME: 9.45 am for 10 am, finishing at 4 pm

COST: Free

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

*****  ENROL ASAP to kcoyle@westnet.com.au *****

Documents required
1. Discussion paper

2. Current version of Standards

3. Most recent draft revision of Standards

4. A track changes comparison of 2 and 3 above

5. Professional Editorial Standards, Canada 2009

6. SfEP Code of Practice Ensuring Editorial Excellence UK 2005 with special attention to sections 5 and 6

October: Nuts and bolts of grammar and punctuation

Details
Date: Tuesday 18 October
Time: 7.30-8.30 pm
Place: Tom Dadour Community Centre, 363 Bagot Road, Subiaco
Cost: $5 members; $10 non-members
Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided.
RSVP 13 October Robin Barnes

James Hansen and Anne Surma will answer questions on grammar and punctuation, adding their knowledge and skills to tricky problems posed by members. If you have ever had a difficult text to edit or want to know why a certain rule applies to a particular text, if you hate seeing apostrophes put in the wrong places, or you don’t know the best way to use a semicolon, come to this workshop. Even if you’ve been an editor or proofreader for years, we guarantee you’ll learn something new!

The presenters

James Hansen joined the society in its foundation year and is an honorary life member. He was a committee member for many years. Now retired, James has been a high school teacher (English and geography), educational media producer, equal employment opportunity officer (Education Department of Western Australia), editor, and lecturer in traditional English grammar (at the meeting, you can buy his book Take Charge! Using apostrophes and plurals correctly: an easy, friendly guide). James has also published a couple of short stories.

Dr Anne Surma lectures at Murdoch University in the English and Creative Arts program. Anne has worked in private industry as an editor and writer and, more recently, as a workshop facilitator and consultant, advising on communication strategy and practice. Anne’s research interests include public communication as ethical discourse and creative practice; corporate responsibility; and discursive approaches to dominant and marginalised narratives in public and organisational stories. She has published chapters and refereed journal articles from her work, and her monograph, Public and professional writing: ethics, imagination and rhetoric, was published by Palgrave in 2005. Currently, Anne is under contract with Palgrave to produce her second monograph, The power of professional writing: effecting social change in a global culture. An editorial board member of two international journals, Journal of Communication Management and Prism, Anne also holds the honorary title of Distinguished Editor, conferred by the national organisation, the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd).

August: ‘Small publishers doing big things’

The publishing industry in Perth is not large but it is varied and vibrant, and it might surprise you to know how many small local publishers are finding niches in the industry and making a stellar name for themselves.

In August, our guests are two such publishers: S.J. (Steven) Finch, editor of the online magazine dotdotdash, and Tehani Wessely, publisher/editor of speculative fiction press FableCroft Publications.

Steven and Tehani will talk about their experiences in producing and promoting their works, and how editing fits into that process. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions, discussion and networking, and books will be available for sale.

S.J. Finch Steven Finch is a current PhD student at Curtin University, member of the Perth Zine Collective, as well as the editor and co-founder of dotdotdash magazine. dotdotdash is a tri-annual creative publication that launched its first issue in September 2009, and publishes creative literature and art with a focus on Australian and especially Western Australian writers. Since the publication of issue 2, the magazine has been distributed in WA and Victoria, and has attracted mention and favourable review in The Australian, The West Australian, Indigo, Sixthousand and The Canning Times. The seventh issue, ‘Sacred’, is being launched later this month.

Tehani Wessely is firmly entrenched in Australian speculative fiction and small press. As well as her role as publisher/editor of FableCroft, she has edited for Twelfth Planet Press, and judged for the Aurealis Awards, the WA Premier’s Book Awards and the CBCA Book of the Year. She also writes reviews, non-fiction and interviews for ASif! and Fiction Focus, and in 2008 was awarded the Ditmar (Australia’s best-known award in the scifi/fiction/fantasy genre) for ‘Best New Talent’. Her latest project for FableCroft is an anthology titled Apocalypse Hope (currently open to submissions).

Date and time: Tuesday 16 August 2011, 7.30–9.15 pm
Venue: Tom Dadour Community Centre, 363 Bagot Road, Subiaco (opposite side and one block east of King Edward Memorial Hospital)
Cost: $2 members; $5 non-members

RSVP 10 August Robin Barnes

Done is better than perfect*

We’ve just passed the hub of the end of financial year which brings renewed enthusiasm in the middle of winter. And then, there’s the lull after rushing to make deadlines. Lulling in the cold is not my favourite kind. It’s hard to get up in the mornings, and even snuggies start to look good.

I can’t help thinking Perthites should never complain about the weather, though, no matter how cold it gets. To keep warm and the brain active, what are your new financial year resolutions? Here are my top ten:

1. Get on my cross trainer (but it’s out in the garage with no heating, she cries!)
2. Do the right thing  
3. Get my draft (or is it ‘daft’) manuscript out of the bottom drawer and do something with it
4. Do more with my blog
5. Find out more about Google+
6. Market our call for a conference logo
7. Practise being a better public speaker (formal and casual). Click here to see one of my fave movie speeches
8. Research how to get more fans on our Facebook page
9. Check out what’s on at the Sydney editors conference
10. Make sure my entry is up to date on the register of editors.

There will be no networking meeting in July. Come back on 16 August and hear about the Perth niche publishing scene and find out who’s playing (and paying) whom in presses and magazines.

In between resolutions, I’ll be looking for new iPhone apps …

Happy editing

Robin

* Facebook motto