The substantive editing gap at university presses

As a freelance copy editor for a university press, I’ve received the occasional manuscript that needed a substantive or structural edit – a depth of editing that copy editors are not paid to do. Copy editors are expected to do a combination of copy editing and stylistic editing, known in the Canadian market as a […]
Read More »

Review: The Complete Canadian Book Editor, by Leslie Vermeer

I was excited by this title, a brand new book on being an editor in Canada. I thought it would be aimed at readers like me. Although I’ve never worked in-house, as an experienced freelancer and long-time student of Ryerson’s publishing program, I know a fair bit about the publishing industry. This book, I hoped, […]
Read More »

The Best and the Worst of Edits: Diane Schoemperlen on the editing of her memoir, This Is Not My Life

Diane Schoemperlen, the author of a dozen novels and short story collections, thought that writing a memoir would be easy. After all, she had the makings of a great story – a fraught relationship with an inmate convicted of second-degree murder – at her fingertips. What could be so hard about typing it into the […]
Read More »

The Ethics of Truth-Telling

Writers of creative nonfiction have widely different views on how much they can make up and still call their work “nonfiction.” Investigative journalists, for instance, believe that it’s fine to use the techniques of fiction — characterization, dialogue, sensory description, and such — as long as they stay true to the facts. But for writers […]
Read More »

The Curious Mind of a Copy Editor

Should it be “short, balding man” or “short balding man”? “Bad hair day” or “bad-hair day”? Mary Norris, a copy editor at The New Yorker for over thirty years, relishes these sorts of editorial decisions. “If commas are open to interpretation,” she writes in her literary memoir Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, […]
Read More »

Book Review: The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

A curious mind probing for truth may well set your scribbling ass free. Poet, writing instructor, and author of three memoirs, Mary Karr has been messing around with memoir all her life. Messy – that pretty much describes her approach to writing and teaching. “I’m a passionately messy teacher,” she writes. And, no surprise, her book […]
Read More »

Book Review: Editorial Niches

When Editors Canada decided to update Editing Canadian English, now in its third edition, the twenty-four authors and their team of editors generated so much material that they decided to create a companion volume, Editorial Niches. What’s in it? Editorial Niches consists of two long chapters, each divided into many subsections with report-style enumeration to preserve […]
Read More »

Preparing for Certification … No More

Here I am making a fool of myself in public. Two weeks ago, I announced that I would study for the Editors Canada copy-editing exam coming up in November 2015 and blog about what I’m learning. Today, I’m announcing that I’m not taking the exam. The idea is just too stressful. And it’s only August. […]
Read More »

Preparing for Certification: Week 2

This week I assessed what I know about “the fundamentals of publishing” by doing Part A of the copy-editing practice test. I went to the library to write the test. I work at home, and I’ve decided that I need to get out of the house to study. So this week I began what I […]
Read More »

Preparing for Editors Canada Certification: Week One

For the next 14 weeks, I will be studying for the Editors Canada copy editing test on November 14. I haven’t actually signed up for the test. I hope that if I blog about studying, I will actually study and take the test. I learn by writing. I figure I will have to study three […]
Read More »