Getting to Know Your New Editors BC Board: Five Quick Questions

Written by David Marsh; copy edited by Janet Millar

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In June, Editors BC elected its new executive for 2020-2021. We felt now would be a good chance for members to get to know these 11 volunteers a little better.

We’ve asked each of them a set of five quick questions aimed at giving members a glimpse of the person occupying the position, along with some choice professional wisdom.

Here they are:   

Liz Warwick, branch chair

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

Only a year. I joined Editors BC when I moved to Vancouver from Montreal last year. But I’ve been involved with other writing groups (notably Professional Writers Association of Canada) for many, many years.

What type of editing are you involved in?

Curriculum and other educational materials, with a side helping of fiction.

What about this role excites you?

I’m excited to participate in the evolution of the branch—and the larger organization—in the face of serious challenges: COVID-19 of course, but also a changing work landscape for both in-house and freelance editors. We can maintain a vibrant, engaged membership through our professional development programs, our meetings, and other outreach efforts. I believe in the importance of making and keeping strong professional connections, especially as editors often work alone. We need other people who get what we do and why we do it.

What’s one interesting thing about you?

My favourite music when cleaning my house is…punk! Dropkick Murphys for the win.

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

A teacher once told me, “Take your work seriously, and yourself not at all.” We do our very best at work, but it should never fully define us or our worth. 

Kyle Hawke, communications

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

I’ve been a member for just under three years.

What type of editing are you involved in?

My editing experience has largely been with books. The majority of my projects have been fiction and memoir, though I have worked in other forms as well.

What about this role excites you?

Every project introduces me to new ideas, to odd facts, to different perspectives.

What’s one interesting thing about you?

My background is in radio, so I have a lot of experience writing for speech.

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

Never presume that a sentence is what the author intended just because it’s coherent.

Lucy Kenward, member services

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

I first joined Editors Canada in the 1990s when I lived in Ontario. I’ve been a member of Editors BC since 2009.

What type of editing are you involved in?

I edit adult non-fiction, mostly books but also course materials for universities and professional associations and reports for non-profit groups. I work with subject-matter experts in areas as diverse as art and architecture, food and wine, science and nature, and business and policy.

What about this role excites you?

Every project allows me to help someone who is passionate about their area of expertise share that knowledge with a wider audience. I love working with interesting people and learning about subjects I would probably otherwise never consider.

What’s one interesting thing about you?

I love being outdoors, especially swimming in mountain lakes, hiking, biking, and skiing. Nothing makes me happier than disappearing into the backcountry to live out of a tent and a backpack or bike panniers.

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

Check everything.

Jesse Marchand, past chair

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

I’ve been a member since November 2015. Long-time fan before that.

What type of editing are you involved in?

These days, I work primarily as a corporate editor and writer for WorkSafeBC and am managing editor of WorkSafe Magazine. Before that, I edited cookbooks and other non-fiction books in both Nova Scotia and Vancouver.

What about this role excites you?

As the past chair, I get to continue to sit on the board and provide some continuity when we bring in new board members. I’m excited to work behind the scenes on some committees, which I didn’t have much time to do as branch chair. 

What’s one interesting thing about you?

Before I was four years old, I lived part-time on a converted school bus and toured around with my parents who were travelling magicians. I don’t think anything in my adult life has ever been as interesting as that!

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

Every project has constraints and sometimes best practices become “we did the best we could.” When it comes to changing text for grammar, readability, and style, decide which hills are worth fighting for and let the rest go. We always want to advocate for the reader, but in the end it’s the client who pays the bills.

Letitia Henville, professional development co-chair

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

I joined in 2017 as a student member and upgraded to a full membership this past fall.

What type of editing are you involved in?

I edit academic writing, focusing on the humanities, social sciences, and health sciences. I love editing grant and award applications, but I also do books and journal articles.

What about this role excites you?

The part that also scares me: running professional development seminars online during a pandemic and recession. I’m hoping we can use the challenge of COVID-19 to run professional development workshops that combine lecture-style instruction with workshopping and feedback so that participants can practise applying their skills.

What’s one interesting thing about you?

I write a monthly column about editing and academic writing for the magazine University Affairs.

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

That authors should be coached to see all edits as suggestions that they can choose to accept or reject based on their own understanding of their audience’s needs.

Barbara Johnston, professional development co-chair

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

Since the mid-1990s.

What type of editing are you involved in?

I work on educational materials, books, and all kinds of publications for government and non-profit organizations.

What about this role excites you?

Before COVID-19, I was excited to organize workshops on topics our branch hasn’t offered before. Since COVID-19, I have been thinking a lot about how we can offer online workshops, and I’m looking forward to working with Letitia to figure it out.

What’s one interesting thing about you?

I love to travel. Nepal is my favourite place that I’ve been to, although Bora Bora was pretty good too!

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

When I was first starting out as an editor, I clearly remember learning the importance of always starting with a compliment and giving positive feedback first when communicating with an author about their writing. This has proven to be very helpful advice over the years.

Joyce Chung, programs co-chair

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

I’ve been a member of Editors BC since the beginning of March of this year, so only three to four months.

What type of editing are you involved in?

I’m a freelance copy editor and proofreader. While I edit a variety of literary material, I’m hoping to specialize in editing fiction, particularly historical, speculative, and children’s/young adult fiction.

What about this role excites you?

Mostly the chance to bring so many different editors together through our meetings. I’m especially excited about coming up with ideas for presentations as well as helping to bring the discussion of relevant and interesting editing topics to life. That being said, if you have any suggestions for presentation topics or if you’d like to present for one of our monthly meetings, don’t hesitate to reach out to bcprograms@editors.ca!

What’s one interesting thing about you?

If I’m not editing, reading, or writing, I’m probably baking up a storm.

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

Because I’m just getting started on my editing career, there’s still so much I have to learn. However, the most valuable thing I’ve realized is to ask for help when you need it. Don’t feel like you have to know everything there is to know about editing—I don’t believe anyone does, anyway.

There’s no such thing as a question that’s too mundane or insignificant. Ask if you don’t know how a specific word should be spelled. Ask if your rates are reasonable. Ask if you’re struggling or feeling lost and need some direction. You can find editors’ groups on Facebook and, of course, here with Editors BC. It always helps to be part of a larger editing community and to have other editors to fall back on.

Marta Orellana, programs co-chair

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

I have been a member for about a year and a half now.

What type of editing are you involved in?

I am primarily involved in academic editing. I edit educational resource evaluations as well as scientific journals, articles, and theses for students and researchers.

What about this role excites you?

I am very excited to meet other editors and to learn from professionals. I would like to find a community within this career to lean on, as it can be a bit of an isolating job when you don’t know other editors. The programs co-chair role in particular is exciting as it means that I am tasked with reaching out to professionals in the field, and I can connect with so many of you during the monthly meetings.

What’s one interesting thing about you?

I am a polyglot and an avid traveller. I speak English, French, Spanish, and Polish fluently. I have studied Japanese for nine years, and I have also taken university-level courses in German, Portuguese, and Italian. I have visited 38 countries in the world and have more on my bucket list!

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

I’ve learned that it is important not to undervalue yourself. In particular, when you are starting out, it can be difficult to find your place and trust your skills. But it is this confidence that will help propel you forward in your career.

Katie Beaton, publications and West Coast Editor managing editor

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

I’ve been a member for three years.

What type of editing are you involved in?

I proofread technical documentation.

What about this role excites you?

I am quite new in my career as an editor, so this is the first time I’ve ever jumped into anything like this. The challenge of something so new has me very excited—and of course, keeping the blog interesting and relevant will also be fun!

What’s one interesting thing about you?

I’m a yoga instructor, and I’ve been teaching for 13 years. I received my initial training here in Vancouver, but then in 2011, I travelled to Goa, India, where I received my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training certificate.

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

As a newbie editor, I constantly suffer from imposter syndrome. Although it’s not an editing tip per se, the most important tip I’ve learned is to trust in your skills.

Lynn Sackville, secretary

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

I first joined in the mid-1990s and have been a member more or less continuously, with a few lapses here and there when my kids were young.

What type of editing are you involved in?

I primarily edit financial and business documents in-house for a large firm. I have also edited non-profit newsletters as a volunteer, and at one point I worked as an editorial assistant on a community newspaper.

What about this role excites you?

I’m excited about working with subject-matter experts to produce a document that is as clear, concise, and consistent as possible within the tight deadlines we operate under. I also enjoy working as a team with the other editors and document production staff.

What’s one interesting thing about you?

I love living in the heart of the city and then retreating to my cabin in the woods on Salt Spring Island.

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

To change as little as possible—except where it’s needed to provide clarity for the ease of the reader, to polish the writing, to follow house style, or to prevent the writer from making an error. One of my greatest compliments was from a writer who said she’d reread a piece she’d written and thought to herself what a good writer she was becoming, and then she realized it had already been edited. In other words, she still thought of it as her writing, only better.

Tania Cheffins, treasurer

How long have you been a member of Editors BC?

Since 2011.

What type of editing are you involved in?

I’m a freelance editor, and I work mainly on educational and business material.

What about this role excites you?

I’ve volunteered with Editors Canada nationally since 2014, so I’m excited to be involved at a more local level.

What’s one interesting thing about you?

I’ve recently taken up roller skating.

What’s the most important editing tip or principle you’ve learned in your career?

Be prepared to justify your changes.

 

Thank you executive members!


David Marsh lives in Vancouver and is a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Editing Certificate program. Before that he was a newspaper journalist for 15 years in Metro Vancouver, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. David has a habit of delving into questions of language, popular science, and countless other curiosities.

Janet Millar was born on the Sunshine Coast and has lived in Vancouver, Montreal, and in a remote community off the north coast of British Columbia. She currently lives in Victoria, where she works at a community college supporting multilingual students with their English. She is a student of the Simon Fraser University Editing Certificate program.

Image by Unsplash

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