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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.

Cancelled: Copy Editing I with Moira White – November 1 and November 2

This seminar is offered through Zoom over two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) between 9am and 12pm EST.

Are you a novice editor, or do you simply want to improve your writing? If yes, the latest offering from Editors Ottawa-Gatineau was designed for you. In this learn-by-doing seminar, Moria White will demonstrate basic techniques for improving text, and the types of errors and difficulties commonly encountered in everyday writing. Even more experienced editors can use this seminar as an opportunity to brush up on their skills before Editors Canada’s copy-editing exam on November 19.

What We’ll Cover

Our experienced instructor will introduce participants to some of the perennial problem topics that copy editors face such as:

  • Spelling: determining capitalization and hyphenation; forming compounds; choosing American, British, or Canadian variants
  • Grammar: ensuring subject–verb and pronoun–antecedent agreement; avoiding dangling or misplaced modifiers; maintaining parallel structure
  • Punctuation: clarifying meaning; dealing with hyphen and dash difficulties; determining whether punctuation goes inside or outside quotation marks
  • Word usage: sidestepping commonly misused words; avoiding noun strings; eliminating redundancies
  • Mechanics of style: using or creating a style sheet to maintain consistency; dealing with abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms; knowing when to italicize

Learn the fundamentals of editing and writing on November 1st and 2nd! You’ll finish with new-found confidence in your writing and editing skills.

About the Instructor

Moira Rayner White entered the work world as a social worker and later moved into social policy. In both professions, she found that her organizational skills, attention to detail, and love of words were pointing her in a new direction—the world of editing. Currently a freelance editor, writer, and trainer with both public and private sector clients, she has decades of experience editing print and electronic publications. Moira is a a past president and Honorary Life Member of Editors Canada.

Unfortunately, the seminar scheduled for November 2022 has been cancelled. We hope to be able to offer Copy Editing I to you in 2023.

Looking for more professional development opportunities? See what other seminars are coming up and register today, before it’s too late! Our online seminars are live events and will not be recorded as webinar courses.

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.

Seminar: Stylistic Editing with Carolyn Brown – September 21 and September 22

This seminar is offered through Zoom over two days (Wednesday and Thursday) between 9am and 12pm EST.

Are you thinking about writing Editors Canada’s Stylistic Editing exam this November? Do you want to improve your editorial judgment with guidance from an experienced editor? Check out this timely virtual seminar offering from Carolyn Brown: Stylistic Editing, taking place on September 21 and 22.

This online seminar will involve lively discussions, tales from the trenches, and hands-on exercises. The content is based on the Editors Canada standards for stylistic editing, but this seminar will also look at how stylistic editing is done in a variety of publishing settings.

Whether you edit novels, reports, websites or magazines, stylistic editing is a key skill. It is the domain of those editors who want to communicate: to get the message from the author to the reader accurately, honestly, and even elegantly. It also relies on developing that rare commodity, editorial judgment.

Expectations for stylistic editing vary widely. How can editors adapt to the needs of their employers and clients? We’ll go over the context for stylistic editing, judgment in approaching editing decisions, the toolkit for stylistic editing and communicating with authors.

What we’ll cover

The context for stylistic editing:

  • Who are the readers, and how does that determine the approach to stylistic editing?
  • What is the medium, and how does that affect the approach?
  • What is the purpose, and how does stylistic editing help communicate that purpose?

Judgment in approaching editing decisions:

  • Paragraph-level decisions (length, structure, logical flow, connection with other paragraphs)
  • Sentence-level decisions (length, sentence construction, logical flow, connectors, as well ascommon problems such as passive voice, noun strings, etc.)
  • Word-level decisions (word choice geared to readers, omission of unnecessary words)

The stylistic editing toolkit:

  • Subordination and coordination
  • Affirmative constructions
  • Judicious use of passive voice
  • Disentangling noun strings
  • Resolving ambiguity
  • Strengthening verbs and correcting nominalizations
  • Reorganizing paragraphs and sentences
  • Gentle rewriting
  • Working with visuals (illustrations, photos, tables, graphs)

Communicating with authors:

  • When and who to query
  • Using Comments to query
  • Whether and when to use Track Changes 
  • Amount and level of editing
  • When to honour the author’s voice

Join us for an enriching and informative day devoted to our craft with a skilled professional guiding us along the way!

About the Instructor

Carolyn Brown is a Certified Professional Editor and Editor in the Life Sciences. She has edited a wide variety of material for 35 years, specializing in scientific and medical publications for the past 25 years. She is the author of the chapter on citation in Editing Canadian English 2nd edition and a perennial seminar leader.

Seminar: Stylistic Editing with Carolyn Brown

Schedule: Wednesday September 21 and Thursday September 22

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.

Looking for more professional development opportunities? See what other seminars are coming up and register today, before it’s too late! Our online seminars are live events and will not be recorded as webinar courses.

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.