The Enigma of Editing. Or, What Exactly Does An Editor Do, Anyway?

Storytime with the Goblins by Abigail LarsonWell, I’m not entirely sure how it got to be 2016, but here we are just the same. I’ve been contemplating my first post of the year for a while. I talk about grammar and etymology a lot, but I realized that I haven’t talked about editing very much. So today, I’d like to tell you a bit about the work that I do as an editor.

For starters, did you know that there are different types of editing? Continue reading

Fiction Hiatus and Writing Workshops

Beach ViewToday, I’m popping in to tell you two things. The first is that I will be working on my novel for the next couple of weeks, so I might not post any fiction for a while (but I’ll try to stay on top of my non-fiction posts). If you’re really jonesing for a story to read, check out my fiction archives. You might find something there that tickles your fancy. I would also suggest checking out some of the blogs I love, which you’ll find listed further down the page on the right.

The second is that I am also running an online writing workshop this summer, along with my friend and colleague, Natalie DeYoung of Cat Lady Sings. The workshops will run once a week—and the first one begins next week! This is part of the annual yeah write summer series, which is all about building community through writing.

SS-I-72x1200If you are interested in participating in the workshop, you can register here. You’ll find Natalie and me in the Gold Lounge. The cost of the workshop is $50/week, which is a great deal for a week of one-on-one work with a professional editor!

All you need to participate is a piece of writing (up to 1200 words) that you’d like to improve. It can be fiction or non-fiction. Natalie or I will work with you throughout the week to tweak and polish your writing. At the end of the week, you will have a stronger piece of writing and we will provide you with a written assessment of your writing, including your strengths and advice to deal with any areas that might need improving.

I hope to see some of you in the workshops!


Image credit:  Olga Khoroshunova

Editor in Her Element

Flag of Nova Scotia

As some of you may know, when I’m not participating in creative writing challenges, I support myself as a professional writer and editor. Well, this past weekend I attended the Editors’ Association of Canada’s annual conference, held this year at the Lord Nelson hotel in the lovely city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In fact, I am hanging out in Halifax for a few more days. And as I am without my all my reference books, I thought I would offer an overview of the conference in lieu of my more traditional Monday grammar post.

The first thing I have to say is that Haligonians are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Actually, scratch that. Nova Scotians in general are fabulous people. If you ever get a chance to visit this province, you won’t be disappointed. The restaurants and brew pubs alone make it worth the trip!

Okay, so let’s talk about the conference. There was such a diverse selection of sessions to attend that sometimes I had to flip a coin to decide where I was going next. I attended a panel on the use of social media in the publishing industry, a workshop on writing regional dialogue (featuring the charming and talented Lesley Crewe), a session on making the most of meetings (which was way more interesting than it sounds — no really!), a session on building a good working relationship between an editor and a memoirist, a panel on the perils and rewards of being a regional publisher, and a feisty panel on political writing. I learned something from each session that I plan on carrying with me into all my future work, both professional and recreational. My only complaint was wishing some of the sessions could have gone longer.

In between the sessions on Sunday, one of our members, James Harbeck, conducted “word tastings,” in which he had us sample some different words and then discussed similarities and differences, echoes (words that the word in question makes you think of), etymology, collocations (words that “go” with the word in question), and more. If you’re like me and that sort of thing makes you so excited people look at you funny, you should check out James’ blog Sesquiotica. (In fact, I think his most recent post talks about the origins of Haligonian.)

On top of all that, we had two wonderful keynote speakers. The first was Robert MacNeil, who you may know from the MacNeil/Lehrer Report, or from one of his novels. He is something of a Canadian icon and he also happens to be a fantastic speaker. The second speaker was Donna Morrissey, a Canadian author with a wicked stage presence and a great deal of depth. I am eagerly looking forward to reading her latest book The Deception of Livvy Higgs.

But finally, and most importantly, the highlight of the weekend was by far all the wonderful people I got to meet. If you don’t know any editors, you might be surprised to find out how much fun they are to hang out with. I’m proud to find myself in such great company — and I am already looking forward to next year’s conference.


Image credit: Lulla /