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Seminar: Structural Editing – An Editor’s Toolkit with Lissa M. Cowan – January 21 and 22

This seminar is offered through Zoom over two days, Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, 2023, between 9am and 12pm EST.

Whether working on fiction, non-fiction, or technical and professional writing, learn how to better perform a structural edit. Join the Ottawa-Gatineau branch of Editors Canada for their first seminar of 2023!

Structural editing, also known as substantive editing, is the first step of the editing process. Structural editors organize content into a logical sequence to help writers clearly convey their argument or goal and meet the needs of their audience. They look at how the content is organized, if there is anything missing, and suggest improvements in a way that builds a positive relationship with clients and writers.

Editors and writers working on fiction, non-fiction, technical and professional writing can all benefit from learning how to perform a structural edit. This seminar draws on editing practices and specific writing examples to demonstrate how to improve a given text and makes use of practical tips to organize a text or document.

What We’ll Cover

By the completion of this seminar, participants will be able to do the following:

  1. Reorganize material into a logical sequence that is appropriate for the goal and audience
  2. Learn how to create an outline to guide suggested revisions
  3. Identify repetitive, impertinent, inaccurate, or missing content
  4. Revise, cut, or expand the material to meet length requirements
  5. Recommend headings, subheadings, visual aids, and navigation elements to highlight key information
  6. Recognize material that would be better presented as a table, diagram, or infographic
  7. Communicate clearly when recommending broad editorial changes

About the Instructor

Lissa M. Cowan has worked as director of a publishing house in Vancouver where she edited books from the idea stage to completion. She has run communications-related social enterprises and advised NFPs and NGOs on crafting impactful stories. She has an MA from l’Université de Montréal in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in writing and editing from the University of Victoria, BC. 

Lissa is the author of Milk Fever (Demeter Press), a novel about a wet nurse during the French Revolution. She is a co-translator from French of Words That Walk in the Night (Véhicule Press), and co-author of Hiking Vancouver Island: A Guide to Vancouver Island’s Greatest Hiking Adventures (Globe Pequot Press), among others. She lives in the Gatineau Hills and works as a communications professional with the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) and as the editor of their newsletter.


Seminar: Structural Editing – An Editor’s Toolkit with Lissa M. Cowan

Schedule: Saturday January 21, 2023 and Sunday January 22, 2023

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm EST

For any other information, please contact seminarsog@editors.ca, such as how to take advantage of student discounts on professional development seminars.

Registration Fees

Members: $225 + tax
Non-members: $350 + tax
Student members: $150 + tax

Not yet a member? Check out Editors Canada to see if membership is right for you.

Cancellation policy

If Editors Ottawa-Gatineau cancels a seminar, we will refund your paid registration fee in full.

If you wish to cancel your registration, the following terms apply: You must send an email to seminarsog@editors.ca to notify us that you are canceling your registration. If you cancel before registration closes (up to one week before the seminar) we will refund 50 percent of your paid registration fee. If you cancel after registration closes (within seven days of the seminar), no refund is possible.

Contact seminarsog@editors.ca for all seminar registration and cancellation enquiries.