|dc.description||The workshops taken at the SFU Summer School were all very good and, for the most part, very applicable to my job at AU as a communication officer/writer. Six of the seven courses were equally useful for writing as they were for editing. Each successive course built on the previous ones. There was usually some useful review at the beginning of each course.
The first course was Copyediting and Proofreading. The instructor was Ruth Wilson. Copyediting comes after the substantive edit (re-writing and organizing major parts of a document) and, as such, deals primarily with correcting grammar and usage. Much of the class covered elements of grammar such as spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, number styles, punctuation, wordiness, common writing errors (and non-errors), usage, and also samples of style sheets and how to develop them. Much of this information would be repeated in subsequent courses and this served as an excellent introduction.
We learned proper editing and proofreading symbols as well as a useful list of frequently misspelled words. In this course there was a great deal of discussion of the role and responsibility of the editor and how much (and how) the editor might change the writer’s work.
The proofreading section dealt with the nuts and bolts required for proofreading (style sheet, quiet, concentration, good light, printed copy of document, ruler, dictionary, style guide) and the kinds of elements to look for in the first, second and third edits. We were also introduced to “Professional Editorials Standards” (2009) from the Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC).
The next five courses were of the greatest use to me as a writer and as an editor. The courses included grammar, punctuation and mechanics, usage, style and syntax, all of which are related. This provided more review of grammar and application.
The instructor for the grammar course was Vlad Konieczny. In any grammar course there is always something new and some review, as was the case here. My general difficulty with grammar is that while I (usually) know when something is correct or incorrect, I often don’t know the grammatical basis for it; I cannot analyze the sentence. While that is fine as a writer, as an editor, if I’m going to change someone else’s material, I should be able to justify or explain why I’m doing it. This was a very helpful course.
The instructor for the next four courses, Frances Peck, is a very knowledgeable and experienced editor and writer. She has an excellent idea of how to apply the material for professional writers and editors. She stressed the importance of consistency. A number of uses, spellings, and style issues were covered which can be correctly handled in a number of different ways. She said the important thing is to choose a style and use it consistently. It is important for an institution, writer, or editor to develop a style sheet (either for the institution or for the particular project) which outlines what style and spellings have been used and the reference material that has been used. I also learned the importance of referring to good style and usage guides such as Fowler’s Modern English Usage and the Chicago Style Guide (Communication and Creative Services at AU uses the Canadian Press Style Guide but the Chicago Style Guide is much more comprehensive.)
Usage is the correct application of grammar, how to use the elements of language, and how usage changes over time, such as;
-Do not use “action” as a verb as in; It is imperative that you action these items as soon as possible.
-You can possibly use (i.e. acceptance is in transition) “access” as a verb as in; You can access the full range of services here.
-You can now use “liaise” as a verb (meaning to interact or communicate with) as in; Diane will liaise with the department on this project.
The grammar course reviewed accurate usage, commonly misused and confused words and phrases (such as full and fulsome, historic and historical, intense and intensive) and myths, such as never starting a sentence with because and as being more correct than like.
As with all of Peck’s classes, exercises were used as the basis for teaching and discussion.
Punctuation and mechanics deals with interpretation (punctuation) and esthetics (mechanics). The course started with grammar: parts of speech; clauses and phrases; commas (when superfluous and when needed); comma splices; semicolons; colons; lists; italics; quotation marks; hyphens and dashes (em dashes and en dashes); and apostrophes.
Style started with a quick grammar review and defining the steps in the writing process. The course covered consistency (in verb tense, in voice, in person and number, in style or tone), parallelism, flow, transitions, verbs, sentence length and structure, coordination and subordination, passive and active voice, and conciseness.
Syntax is the word order within a sentence and the meaning that resides in the way the subject and verb are combined with other words and phrases. Some aspects covered were; the inverted sentence; passive and active voice; rhythm and sentence length, sentence openings, sentence type; flow and content; echo words; emphasis; and special techniques such as isolation and ellipses.
Breaking down the various aspects of writing this way was very helpful to isolate and concentrate on one subject at a time. By the end of these five courses, a good review had taken place and a solid foundation had been developed.
The last course, Developmental Editing, was the least useful only because it is not something I will ever do. I thought developmental editing was the same things as substantive editing but it is not. In developmental editing, the editor works with a subject matter expert who is not a strong writer and guides them through the writing process. Nonetheless, the instructor, Joy Gugeler, was very knowledgeable and experienced. The discussion of structure, style and organization was helpful to some extent in terms of writing. The discussion of particular books and elements such as plot, character, narrative, genre, etc., was very interesting from a reader’s point of view.
In all of the courses, there were a number of good resources (print and online) recommended which will provide excellent reference material.
Follow up for me will include the following:
-Develop a style sheet which I will use consistently for my writing and which could be used as the basis of a style sheet for the department and/or university;
-Organize the material from these courses into some format for easy reference (perhaps alphabetical list or subject matter list);
-Purchase some of the resource material for the office;
-Find ways to continue to improve my familiarity and knowledge of grammar and my knowledge of available grammar resources.||en
|dc.description.abstract||Copy Editing and Proofreading: (2 days)
This two-day workshop is ideal for anyone wanting an introduction to the world of publishing or communications, or for anyone currently called upon to improve the writing of others in their organization. The class incorporates group discussion and hands-on exercises while covering the following topics: editing marks; copyeditor’s responsibilities; finding and noting mistakes in spelling, punctuation, and grammar; striving for consistency; preparing style sheets; proofreading marks; the proofreader’s responsibilities; the proofreading process; technology and proofreading.
Fundamentals of Grammar: (1 day)
One of the best ways to increase confidence as a writer or editor is to gain a good command of grammar. If you find yourself occasionally confused by participles and gerunds, puzzled by dangling and squinting modifiers, and confounded by which and that or who and whom, this one-day workshop is for you. You will spend the morning reviewing the parts of speech, as well as phrases and clauses, punctuation, and sentence structure. The afternoon will be devoted to analyzing and correcting common errors.
Punctuation and Mechanics: (1 day)
Anyone who has agonized over a comma or a hyphen knows how tricky the details of punctuation and mechanics can be. We’ll take a systematic approach to the troublesome areas of punctuation and mechanics, focusing on commas (always the source of debate), semicolons, colons, bullet points, quotation marks, italics, apostrophes, and dashes (em and en). We’ll cover the most recent rules, discuss when more than one approach might be correct, and examine the leading style guides. Be prepared to practice, and bring along your most challenging questions. Punctuation and Mechanics will benefit editors and writers who need a refresher on the tricky areas of punctuation and mechanics.
Usage Woes and Myths: (1 day)
Word usage is an ever-changing area. First it’s wrong to use impact as a verb; then it’s okay. The distinction between fewer and less seems clear, but specific examples make you hesitate. You wonder about debated words such as hopefully and presently, and confusing words such as may and might. You’ve heard that you should never start a sentence with however, but, or because, but you’re not sure. If you are intent on preventing (not avoiding) word errors and avoiding (not preventing) usage myths, this workshop will help. Through discussion, examples, and exercises, we will review some of the most contentious points of English usage. Come prepared with your own usage questions and examples to share with the group. Usage Woes and Myths will benefit editors and writers who need an intensive review of recent changes and errors in word usage.
Clear and Concise - Guidelines for Style: (1 day)
Clear, concise writing may seem like the product of magic, instinct, or luck, but the pros know that it’s the result of learned techniques. This workshop covers tried-and-true revision techniques that improve consistency, clarity, flow, and conciseness. We’ll identify and eliminate shifts, link ideas using parallelism and subordination, trim wordy structures, and unearth the power of verbs. Through discussion, examples, and exercises, you’ll amass an arsenal of methods for making every word count. Clear and Concise will benefit writers and editors who want to know the best practical techniques for streamlining prose.
The Secrets of Syntax: (1 day)
This workshop looks at syntax from various angles, including how to shape it for different documents and audiences. Topics include subordination and coordination, periodic versus cumulative sentences, proximity of subject and verb, echo words, and special techniques such as ellipsis and isolation.
The Secrets of Syntax will benefit writers and editors who want a more systematic understanding of how reshaping language can make it clearer and more powerful.
Developmental Editing for Fiction and Non-fiction: (2 days)
This two-day workshop will demonstrate how assessment criteria, a survey of alternative options, market research, and some astute analysis can turn a half-baked idea into a fully cooked work that reaches readers. Using examples taken from students’ own works and before-and-after demos of real books and edits, you will be able to see how to apply judgment and new skills to the work at hand.||en