With editing client Sid Effer in the spring of 2010
Hello readers, authors, and clients-to-be:
Over three decades, I have edited books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, screenplays, creative writing, corporate and student materials. I’ve also edited web content for 10+ years.
I strive to edit content that challenges mainstream thought and stimulates personal, social, and environmental change. I edit to inspire and empower writers, not just for correction and clarity.
RECENT NON-FICTION EDITING PROJECTS:
- Web and blog content for Cherlyn Skincare Inc.
- Website and blog content for Armstrong Results
- Contract content for author and independent business man
- Learn Your Way! : a book on education by Michael Maser on SelfDesign Learning Foundation approaches
- Brochure & banner content for International Education, Surrey School District, Surrey, BC
- We Envision: Commitments & Action for a Sustainable Sunshine Coast (a discussion paper by the SCRD, Sechelt, BC, Canada) — I was also a contributing writer
- Brochure copy for Stand Up 4 Great Bear
- Live and Let Kill, 5,000-word cover story of the SF Weekly in San Francisco, a Village Voice Media newspaper in San Francisco, CA
- Fall 2011/Winter 2012 Recreation Guide, produced by the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), Sechelt, BC, Canada
- Book The Wisdom of Worth by family and individual counsellor Gloria McArter, PhD (ongoing)
- Mesa of Infinite Light by Neva Murtha: a handbook on metaphysical tools for self-awakening
- The Successful Marriage Guide by Tom Rogers
West Vancouver School District, International Programs (writing and editing)
Pacific Wild (writing and editing)
Hanna Daber, web designer
- B.C. conservation group Pacific Wild
- Vancouver-based environmental web portal Sustainability Television
- Sierra magazine, the U.S. Sierra Club’s national publication in San Francisco with 1 million+ readers: I did some online editing of readers’ travel stories
RECENT FICTION EDITING PROJECTS:
- Tales of Main Street (collection of short stories) by Katrina Dennis
- Blue Ribbon (short story) by Mike Oswald
--iPhone photo by Jim Evans
With editing client Glo, a counselling therapist who’s writing a book on how one’s personal connection with the spiritual enhances the wisdom of human worthiness. She is revealing how this process transforms the deep, hidden feelings of shame and results in healthier living.
EDITING FOR INDIVIDUALS:
I specialize in editing nonfiction, but have worked in many genres, including fiction, poetry, and drama. I love immersing myself in someone’s imagination or the details of a life and helping the writer clarify and deepen the story and its meaning. Here’s a quick checklist that any prose writer can use to assess a project:
MEMOIRS: A SPECIALTY
Besides working on my own memoir, I edited a half-dozen memoirs in 2010/11 written by men in their eighties. They are all intriguing stories:
- On Love and War by Avivi I. Yavin, published by MW Book Publishers in Garden Bay, BC. This anti-war story focuses on the moral and political dilemmas of a young soldier fighting in the elite Israeli underground forces in the late 1940s.
- Two more anti-war books by Avivi I. Yavin, as part of a semi-autobiographical trilogy: The Rape of a Nation, which covers the Vietnam era, and Doves and Hawks, on Israel in the post-Six-Day-War world.
- Babies, Blessings, and a Bountiful Life, to be self-published by Sid Effer. This retired pediatrician recounts delightful adventures from his youth in Cuba and Brazil to his global travels in adulthood. Many decades after he helped countless women through challenging and sometimes life-threatening childbirths, he remains friends with former patients and their children around the world.
- The Magical Playhouse: A conscious exploration of one’s dream reality , self-published by artist Bodhi Drope of Gibsons, BC. This nonfiction limited edition, accompanied by original four-colour digital art, covers the author’s spiritual journey and the powerful role that dreams and dream journalling played in his life.
As a former oral historian, I highly value the anecdotes that our elders carry, embodying the heritage of families, regions, cultures, and nations. I always encourage people to tape the stories of the old folks in their lives, so that these tales will live on in their own voices.
To find out more about making elderhood a source of spiritual inspiration and service, check out the organization
WHAT EXACTLY DOES AN EDITOR DO ANYWAY?
Many people think that editors just make a few changes to grammar and punctuation and that’s it. However, they shape a manuscript far more than most people realize. Maxwell Perkins, for instance, was a famous editor at Scribner’s who edited books by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Ernest Hemingway. He came up with the title The Great Gatsby and reduced Wolfe’s far-too-long manuscripts by hundreds of pages.
Emerging writers are often unclear about certain editing terms and ask me to differentiate them. Here is an explanation of the most common ones, as defined by the Editors’ Association of Canada:
Copy editing (or line editing):
Editing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style; checking for consistency of mechanics and for internal consistency of facts; marking of head levels and approximate placement of art; notifying book designer or any unusual requirements. Does not include the following unless specified: Canadianizing; metrication; provision of or changes ot system of citations; editing of preface or foreword; editing of index, writing or editing captions and/or credit lines; writing of running heads; listing of permissions needed; obtaining permissions, and so on.
Substantive or structural editing:
Clarifying and/or reorganizing a manuscript for content and structure. Editor specifies whether changes are to be suggested or drafted, and whether contract includes negotiating changes with author. Does not include research or writing original material unless specified.
Clarifying meaning, eliminating jargon, smoothing language, and other (specify) non-mechanical line-by-line editing. Does not include the following unless specified: checking reading level; correcting reading level; creating or recasting tables and/or figures; negotiating changes with the author.
Creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript on the basis of content and research supplied by an author. Does not include research or writing original material unless specified.
Here are several pages of an edited employee newsletter, in progress. Online edits, using the Track Changes tool, are far more common now, but it ultimately depends on the client’s preference.
THE WORK-FLOW PROCESS OF EDITING:
In today’s fast-changing publishing world, more publishers are using freelance editors like me to do all three tasks, rather than relying on separate in-house editors.
Traditionally, editors have come in three general types: copy editors, substantive editors, and development editors. Each usually works at a different pay scale. The latter two roles are often combined, yet many individuals expect one editor to do all three. That’s fine, but this needs to be clear up front. I will often do all three types of editing, unless directed otherwise.
Substantive editor: This editor generally looks at the manuscript first, giving a “big picture” perspective. Besides addressing mechanical elements (spelling, grammar, etc), he/she digs more deeply into the text, making more complex changes and querying the author about larger content or flow issues.
Development editor: This person works directly with the author on the book’s overall structure and might be involved in large-scale cutting, rearranging, or critiquing. This can happen after substantive editing or at the same time.
Copy editor: This person, who focuses on the mechanical aspects of a manuscript, such as spelling and grammar, etc usually won’t make more than minor changes without consulting the author. Usually, the copy editor becomes involved only after the substantive or content editor has worked over the manuscript.
Remember: Although each type of editor contributes something different to an author’s work, the author always has the final say on what stays or goes. The editor’s job is to make the author’s work as good as possible, but the author is the final judge of that.
A page edit of magazine ad copy, at the improof or final stage of proofreading. A magazine editor-in-chief, who sees content through all stages from draft to blueline, will also proofread if there is no assistant or contributing editor.
TESTIMONIALS (more are included under “Editing for Organizations”):
Editing client Chris Wakaluk told me:
“Thanks for all your hard work. It is really exciting to have someone who knows what they are doing look over my work and make changes. I’ve been totally attached to certain parts of the piece and it’s great to have some encouragement to hack them out because I wouldn’t do it on my own. Everything you’ve mentioned is very clear. I can’t wait to make all the changes then read it out loud to hear the difference.”
Hanna Daber, whose Clockwork Graphics website I edited, said while we worked together: “I feel your presence every day, even at a distance. The sense of team work you exude is lovely.”
“Her wide experience with writing has made her a first-class editor of other people’s work. . .she is simultaneously tough and encouraging, perceptive and inspiring, challenging and practical. She is always helpful to other writers, in every aspect of the literary life.”
- Tom Wayman, Associate Professor Emeritus of English, University of Calgary, Alta.
This image by Karina makes me chuckle, even though my sensitive heart balks at its suggestion of destruction. Dear writers: Don’t worry — I’m a committed pacifist. Yet I will indeed dissect your work, with compassion and consideration, if it needs it.
I OFFER THREE TYPES OF EDITING (fun and mixed metaphors intended):
* Gentle massage – This softie touch delivers only minor changes, mostly for punctuation, grammar, and clarity;
* First aid – This approach provides a more substantial, yet quick response. Guaranteed to keep your documents off life support; and
* The chainsaw – This method could alter your existing content beyond previous recognition. It will likely result in substantial changes in structure, order of material, and length, but it guarantees a greater end product. Are you up for the challenge? If not, proceed with caution and keep applying first aid.
EDITING FOR ORGANIZATIONS:
In January and August 2010, I spent several weeks as guest editor for The Local, a weekly newspaper in Sechelt on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, northwest of Vancouver. Besides editing all editorial content, I wrote news, features, arts reviews, coordinated photo selection, etc. It was fun. I enjoyed the office atmosphere, especially having the publisher’s old black dog, Maggie, on-site every day.
Pauline Montgomery gave me a lovely tribute in her publisher’s message in the January 21 issue:
“I can’t tell you how truly blessed we have been to have Heather fill in while Linda was away. It is mind-boggling to realize just how much ‘unknown’ Heather took on and yet how well she managed to produce brilliantly all the editorial we needed this week and last. Heather is a complete professional and I would highly recommend her to anyone in need of an editor. She has been an absolute delight to work with.”
In 2010, I edited brochures for the International Education department of the Surrey School District.
I spent almost five years (2003 to Dec. 31, 2007) as the editor-in-chief of PeopleTalk magazine, the province-wide publication of the B.C. Human Resources Management Association (BC HRMA).
“I found Heather to be creative, innovative, and dedicated to the quality and integrity of the publication. . . She had a strong interest in, and commitment to, the organization as a whole and brought her talent, enthusiasm and humour to all aspects of her work.”
– Mary Wallace Poole, former executive director, BC HRMA, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Take a look inside a 2008 issue of PeopleTalk, which I edited:
While at BC HRMA, I edited many internal and external materials, including a conference newsletter and programs:
While a full-time writing instructor at Selkirk College in the Graphic Communications Department, I taught editing and edited a newsletter at a publishing conference at Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre. Our students used their writing, photography, and desktop-publishing skills to produce this daily account of the conference proceedings.
Here’s an overview of my main work as an editor in print media:
2009 – present: EDITOR/COMMUNICATION CONSULTANT for a variety of individuals and organizations in Vancouver, BC and on the Sunshine Coast
2010 GUEST EDITOR (short-term)
The Local, an independent weekly based in Sechelt, BC: Wrote news and features; conducted interviews; coordinated photo selection; liaised with publisher; proofread
2003 – 2008 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
PeopleTalk Magazine, B.C. Human Resources Management Association, Vancouver
Did copy and substantive editing on all content; augmented style guide for print and web use; chaired the editorial advisory committee; edited external communications for this business non-profit; provided guidance to volunteer contributors; hired freelancers and solicited writers; liaised with art director and ad sales manager; oversaw blueline stage and proofreading; during my tenure, we engaged CanadaWide Media as our production company, attracting more advertisers and expanding to 60- and 64-page issues
Edited three reports for United Nations Habitat, produced by EcoPlan International, Vancouver; also edited a confidential environmental-related report.
“Heather is an excellent editor: careful, thorough and professional. I highly recommend her services.”
- William Trousdale, president, EcoPlan International Inc.
Vancouver, Howe Sound & the Sunshine Coast, sailing guidebook by Anne & Laurence Yeadon-Jones, Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, BC
2003 CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Alive Journal, Burnaby, BC; edited & proofread health, fitness, lifestyle articles
1996 to 2001 EDITOR
As Corporate Communications Manager for BC Transit and Coast Mountain Bus Company, I edited numerous materials, including employee booklets, annual reports, brochures, and external documents. I was editor-in-chief of Transit Exchange, the employee newsletter, and initiated and oversaw its redesign and rebranding. I edited books such as On Track: The SkyTrain Story and Vancouver’s Trolley Buses 1948-1998: Celebrating a Half-century of Service.
1995 CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
BC Woman Magazine
1991 – 1993 EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Century Communications Corporation, Vancouver, BC
Wrote and edited advertising copy, investor relations content, annual reports, brochures, speeches, newsletters.
1992 – 1993 EDITOR
Handbook So Roses Can Grow (Co-Country Press, Sumas, Wash.) by Luena Ryber
Commemorative hard-cover photo book Burnaby – A Proud Century! by Pixie McGeachie,
Opus Productions Inc., Vancouver, BC
1984 – 1986 ASSISTANT EDITOR
National Trade Magazine Trucking Canada (Southam Communications Inc., Burnaby, BC)
Wrote award-winning articles, cover stories, technical news that enhanced readability and sales of Western Edition; took cover photos; attended conferences; researched & edited content
While a student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, Canada, I served as co-editor of The Ubyssey, the then-tri-weekly student newspaper, in 1979/80. It’s scary how long ago that was. This venerable rag, which spawned the likes of Pierre Berton and Allan Fotheringham, served as a great training ground for muckraking and poking sticks in the powers-that-be. I considered The Ubyssey’s humor and irreverence my true education.