By Jenn Zabinskas and Marie Pietersz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Photo credit: Eugen Bacon)
On 23 June, Dr Eugen Bacon gave a passionate and thought-provoking presentation for Editors Victoria’s June speaker event. The event was attended by around 40 members and associates and received such compliments as “[I was] spellbound”, “your passion for words radiates” and “truly memorable”. One of the audience wrote to say Eugen’s emotional delivery of authors’ works made her cry several times.
Eugen’s presentation used powerful exemplars in works by Toni Morrison, Ray Bradbury, Anthony Doerr and others to look at eight key principles of engagement that can be applied not only to fiction but nonfiction as well:
1. opening – a sharp hook
2. closing – a sharp closing for every chapter or section, not just the end of the story
3. specificity – add texture to the writing, layering
4. say it in fewer words – less is always more
5. say it powerfully – use words that matter
6. say it beautifully – be poignant, move the reader
7. active speech
8. find new eyes.
Eugen reminded us that “editing is not just about fixing, it’s about enhancing”. The editor is also a reader and a mentor. It’s crucial to remember that editing is not about imposing yourself on the text, distorting the style or intention of the work – it’s about bringing out the best work in its best form.
Dr Eugen M Bacon (MA, MSc, PhD), an African Australian, is a computer scientist who has mentally re-engineered into creative writing. She has won, been longlisted for or commended in international awards including the Foreword Indies, Bridport Prize, Copyright Agency Prize, Horror Writers Association Diversity Grant, Otherwise, Rhysling, Australian Shadows, Ditmar Awards and Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans.
A recording of the presentation is available to purchase via the IPEd events page.