June 2015


In this newsletter we take a look back at last month's national editors conference, with reports on some of the sessions for those who couldn't make it. But we spend more time looking forward: to lunch and dinner meetings; short training courses and the Redact weekend intensive; and the very future of our society.

We also entertain and divert you with tips on managing those feline (or canine) editorial assistants, the car trip that helps explain the etymology of comedy, uninterpretable signs and other bloopers (for which we give thanks they aren't ours).


Message from the President

Midyear greetings! As we head towards our shortest day and the skeletons of our deciduous trees reveal themselves, it's apt that we're considering the bones of our national organisation.

We have exciting news about Redact, with three presenters and streams locked in. Read all about it here!

Those of us who made it to Canberra for write | edit | index are still buzzing. What a warm welcome the Canberra Society of Editors turned on for us. It was a thrill to see Canberra through their eyes and to meet so many colleagues who were formerly just names on a screen. Among the sharing of knowledge, experience and information across writing, editing and indexing, the discussions held forth on everything from style manuals to working conditions. One of the liveliest sessions was the plenary on the IPEd transition project, with some persuasive arguments both for and against. A transcript of the Q&A is available in the members-only section of the IPEd website.


Redact is Back!

17-18 October 2015

Redact is a weekend intensive workshop specifically for editors of two or more years' experience, organised by Editors Victoria.

Redact will be held at the Bellinzona conference centre at Hepburn Springs with three streams:

  • Manuscript assessment (fiction and nonfiction)
  • Editing digital content
  • Supercharging your business.

We are super excited about our 2015 presenters!


IPEd Explained

In February 2015, Julie Ganner, IPEd Councillor for New South Wales, gave a presentation to the New South Wales Society's meeting on progress of the IPEd working party towards creating a model for a national organisation of editors with direct membership. Her report was published in the members newsletter, Blue Pencil, and is reproduced here with minor amendments. If you haven't really understood IPEd before, or its relationship with the societies, or what this whole transition business is all about, read on. Our feedback on the Green Papers is sought by 21 June.

Before I took over this role from Owen Kavanagh in September last year, my only direct involvement with the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) had been with the national accreditation scheme, as an assessor. Beyond that - probably like most of you - I had only a sketchy idea of how IPEd operates and the scale of its endeavours.

For those members who have joined only fairly recently - and as a refresher for the rest of us too - I will start by giving a quick overview of how IPEd was formed, its structure and what it has achieved so far.


Sharing the IPEd Conference

Plenty of members weren't able to go the IPEd conference last month, but that doesn't mean you need to miss out on it all.

This month's mentoring update reports back from the conference plenary session that explained all about how it works.

The conference website now features some excellent write-ups of some of the sessions, including:


The Monthly Q&A: Gillian Dite

Gillian began working as a freelance editor in 2013 in a change in direction after a long academic research career as a genetic epidemiologist and statistician. She loves working on anything related to science.

How has your month been?

The past month, and all of this year, has flown by. I've been working on PhD theses, practice maths exams, business reports and a botany book with chapters written by 19 different groups of authors.

I've just finished editing a lengthy molecular biology literature review for an international PhD student. Underneath the veneer of imperfect English, the student had a brilliantly structured description of incredibly complex molecular processes. His ability to pace the presentation of information is a rare skill that few can master. I'm excited to be able to help the work of exceptionally talented international students shine through like this, and these are the jobs I remember most vividly.


Gathering in Gippsland

If you are an editor living in Gippsland and you'd like to meet with some of your local colleagues, please contact Caitilin at hello@artfulwords.com.au or phone 0421 545 282 to indicate your interest. Possible times, dates, places and other vital information regarding a gathering will be arranged later. If you happen to know the correct collective noun for editors or have a fanciful one you prefer to use, you can tell me that too.

Mentoring Program: New Status

Mentor group

At the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd) plenary session of the write | edit | index conference, our mentoring program became part of IPEd's responsibility. We are now known officially as the IPEd National Mentoring Program for Editors, as a result of an agreement signed by the Canberra Society of Editors President, Alan Cummine, and the IPEd Chair, Kerry Davies. The systems we've put in place all remain the same; Canberra continues to administer the program nationally with the team of state/territory coordinators working with the national coordinators. We are delighted to have IPEd's formal recognition and support.


Is There Such a Thing as 'Correct' English?

It seems there's a phony war playing out in social media. For every 'gotcha!' snap of an improperly punctuated shop sign, there's a punchy dot point list of 'grammar rules you can ignore'. For every volley of outraged comments bemoaning falling education standards, there's a hail of gleefully language-mashing tweets from one pundit or another.

And as they line up - proud prescriptivists behind Lynne Truss and her 'zero-tolerance approach to punctuation', determined descriptivists behind their Pinkers and Crystals - we editors are left sighing bemused on the sidelines, fantasising about our ultimate stylesheet.


Report: May Freelance Lunch

The past several freelance lunches have been very well attended and so this latest lunch on 14 May was scheduled after two months instead of the usual three. There were fewer bookings this time and just 12 attendees, a pleasant and intimate gathering. Its timing the week after the national editors conference in Canberra (a very pleasant but not quite so intimate a gathering of our tribe) may have contributed to the smaller number and the next lunch will also be held after two months, on 15 July.