From the president
Well, things are really getting busy for our Victorian members!
In March, 10 members gathered for an outdoor lunch at the Fitz Café, blessed by some glorious autumn sunshine. It was a mix of stalwarts from the freelancers’ lunches of old, occasional lunch networkers, long-time-members-first-time-lunchers and new members. (Sadly, there were also some late cancellations – a reminder that many members are still dealing with being unwell or in isolation, due to COVID-19. We wish anyone in that position a smooth recovery.) With a lively flow of ideas, tips, connections and encouragement, the benefit of these informal gatherings was clear.
Some of us came fresh from a meeting of Editors Victoria’s executive committee that morning, and it proved to be a chance to reflect on how the branch is going. We continue to look for new opportunities and to listen to members’ needs and preferences. Following on from one outcome from that session, we’ll be preparing a brief (stress: brief!) survey for Victorian members to guide some upcoming decisions. Keep an eye out for an email.
We’ll also kickstart support for branch members who are considering professional accreditation with a Zoom session on Friday 8 April at 11.00 am. To help decide whether accreditation is right for you, join us to hear from Susan Pierotti from the Accreditation Board.
We also acknowledged the contribution of Cassandra Wright-Dole, as both Student Advisor and more recently Accessibility and Inclusion Advisor. Her impact was considerable, helping the committee understand some of the barriers for editors and readers, and ways we could improve editing practices and our own branch work. Thank you, Cass! Cass is now stepping down from that role, but the branch is keen to continue the advisor position. There is so much to learn, and much we can all do better. We’ll call for expressions of interest in due course.
Finally, it was good to recognise one of the positive trends of the past year or two – catering to members outside Melbourne, or for whom distance can be an obstacle to participating in branch activities. This geographic spread is reflected in the committee itself, which includes members from the Geelong, Ballarat and Castlemaine areas. In that spirit, it was great to take up an invitation to be part of the Melbourne Art Book Fair satellite event at the Castlemaine Art Museum, which became an opportunity to represent IPEd and spruik the value of editors to a steady stream of creative folk. More regional activities are being planned, including tie-ins with other book fairs and writers festivals.
By Stephanie Holt AE, EdVic President
EdVic is pleased to welcome three new associate members who have joined since our last newsletter: Dante Boffa, Dana Chahal and Penelope Robinson.
We look forward to seeing you at our workshops and events and encourage you to make the most of IPEd’s networks for news and support.
Professional development news
Report on March workshop: using PDF mark-up effectively
The move from hard copy mark-up to electronic proofs is widespread in publishing and communications departments in other industries, so knowing how to mark up PDFs is becoming a vital skill in the editor’s repertoire. In late March, Editors Victoria combined forces with Editors South Australia to run two series of this workshop, with consummate trainer Kevin O’Brien.
Kevin guided participants through the mark-up functions available in Adobe Reader and advised on best practice for working efficiently and clearly. For those needing to take in corrections from PDFs, he demonstrated many useful approaches, including the use of checkboxes, how to filter comments and how to combine mark-up from several files. Each main workshop was followed by a one-hour Q&A session on the following Tuesday night, to which participants brought their practice mark-up and sorted out any areas of doubt. This comprehensive workshop gave participants the skills to confidently tackle PDF mark-up.
Grammar in a nutshell with Elizabeth Manning Murphy DE and Ted Briggs AE
Date: 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm AEST for all sessons; Friday 6 May and Friday 13 May 2022 (workshop 1); Friday 24 June and Friday 1 July 2022 (workshop 2 – repeat)
Location: online via Zoom
Details: Did you learn the basics of English grammar? Can you explain to clients why you recommend edits to grammar in their text? Using a detailed workbook and activities, this workshop will help you to get your own writing right, and to explain the grammar of your editing corrections. It will be presented by grammar guru and academic editor, trainer and author Elizabeth Manning Murphy DE, with contributions by highly experienced technical writer, editor and IT specialist Ted Briggs AE.
This workshop will suit those preparing for the accreditation exam in August, as well as experienced editors wanting to refresh or enhance their grammar skills.
Book: SOLD OUT
Indexing: adding to the editor’s skillset with Max McMaster
Date: Tuesday 24 May 2022, 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm AEST and Thursday 26 May 2022, 1.00 pm to 3.30 pm AEST
Location: online via Zoom
Details: In two half-day Zoom sessions, this workshop will equip editors with the skills necessary to compile a relatively simple index, thereby expanding their skillset and, for freelancers, boosting their employability.
Using a combination of theory and guided, interactive exercises, students will cover the background, purpose and strategy for producing a good index. Topics will include:
- identifying the audience
- the attributes of a good (or bad) index
- cross-references (see and see also)
- style issues (initial articles, page spans, illustrations).
Participants will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions about any aspect of indexing.
Max McMaster is a freelance book indexer who has compiled more than 2,750 indexes in a range of disciplines, including the sciences, environment, business, cooking, travel and government reporting. He has been awarded the ANZSI Medal for book indexing on three occasions. He is also a long-standing instructor for the University of California, Berkeley Extension indexing course. Full details available at: www.masterindexing.com
This course will open for booking by mid-April. If you are interested, watch your emails for the invitation and book early to avoid disappointment.
As always, we welcome suggestions for new training courses, as well as expressions of interest from anyone wishing to become a member of the Professional Development Subcommittee.
By Jane Fitzpatrick, Professional Development Officer
February speaker event report: Mastering editorial style sheets, with Amy J Schneider
Used on a day-to-day basis, the humble style sheet can be one of the editor’s most effective work tools, although it is often underutilised. In her recent Zoom talk for Editors Victoria on 24 February, US editor and author Amy J Schneider put to rest any idea of a style sheet being a boring but necessary evil, instead opening our eyes to its possibilities and usefulness as a powerful tool to tackle even the largest and most complex books in our quest for editing consistency and accuracy.
Amy’s presentation was fresh and enthusiastic as she delivered her talk from Wisconsin, US, at around 8.00 pm, while we (more than 90 of us) perched in front of our computers in the southern hemisphere at lunchtime – a new timeslot for these events.
After briefly discussing the purpose of a style sheet, Amy considered who uses them, how to create and organise them and what to include.
In her editing business, Amy works with four monitors. Two or three of them are used to display different pages of her current working style sheet, allowing her to easily add items as she works. She uses macros and text expanders to add words and phrases, and bookmarks to zoom between sections, and bases this all around a template with placeholders (greyed-out words) that she can easily bring back to life as black text when she decides on a particular usage.
Amy also sets up categories to cover the different aspects of a book – not just how words are spelt, but entire sections on common abbreviations and other elements she might come across time and time again. These can be reused for new projects.
Formatting a style sheet is another important task, and for this Amy uses columns, horizontal rules, headings and indents, to keep the style sheet simple and clean to look at.
Amy showed us a style sheet she set up for a 1,500-page book she had worked on over six months. It was more than 30 pages long in the end, but by using her bookmarks she could quickly flip between words and sections. With her keywords and alternative grammatical choices already present, she could indicate the author/editor’s choice at the tap of a key.
In the final part of her talk, Amy revealed some useful tips for creating a style sheet for fiction books. Continuity is the objective here, so she includes categories for all the elements of a book – characters, favourite phrases or words they might use, affiliations, backstories and personal items; places of action and timelines displaying when events happen and how time passes. Like the notes of a wily detective, these can be used to reveal small but important inconsistencies that can otherwise ruin a great story.
The final style sheets that Amy produces are methodical, clean and concise tools that can be used by the proofreader, author, publisher, designer and even a future copyeditor.
Amy demonstrated that style sheets are the key to doing a great edit. They are your own personal reference for each book and if you set them up as a template, they can ultimately save you hours of work. I was certainly inspired to use many of her tips in my own practice.
Amy has just completed writing a book on copyediting fiction – The Chicago guide to copyediting fiction (forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in the northern hemisphere spring/southern hemisphere autumn 2023).
She is also presenting another talk for Editors Victoria called “Oops! Finding and fixing bloopers in fiction”, to be held in April. See the speaker event article below for details.
By Margaret Trudgeon
Upcoming April speaker event: Oops! Finding and fixing bloopers in fiction, with Amy J Schneider
Copyediting fiction is like being the continuity director for a film, watching for little mistakes that pull readers out of the story. In this session, we’ll discuss:
(1) language bloopers: pet phrases, sound bloopers, danglers, redundancy
(2) action bloopers: Chekhov’s gun, drop-in characters, bad scene breaks, remembered elements, “As you know, Bob … ”
(3) factual bloopers: physics, body position/parts, anachronisms, geography, deliberate obfuscation, and just generally How Things Work.
Amy J Schneider, owner of Featherschneider Editorial Services since 1995, is a full-time freelance copyeditor and proofreader of college textbooks, trade non-fiction, university press books, and best-selling fiction in a variety of genres. Since 2012, Amy has presented conference sessions, audio conferences and webinars, both solo and as part of a panel, on editorial topics (including fiction copyediting, working remotely, editorial workflow, mastermind groups and Word templates and macros) for Copyediting.com, Communication Central, ACES, EFA, the Northwest Editors Guild, CIEP Toronto and Editors Canada. She has also written articles and blog posts on copyediting and freelancing for Copyediting.com, ACES and the An American Editor blog. She led two mentoring groups for aspiring freelance editors for Copyediting.com. When she’s not working in the soft glow of her four-monitor desktop, she enjoys cooking, singing, and teaching her springer spaniels to do silly tricks (not all at the same time).
Date: Thursday 28 April 2022, 12.00 pm AEST
Location: online via Zoom meeting; all registrants will receive the Zoom meeting link in the confirmation email – please check your junk/spam folder if not received immediately upon booking and save this email to refer to later!
Cost: IPEd members and reciprocal organisations – AUD 10, non-members AUD 15
Bookings close: 5.00 pm AEST, Tuesday 26 April 2022
The Institute of Professional Editors Limited (IPEd) is the professional association for Australian and New Zealand editors.