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Distilling Words to Their Essence: Editing Poetry for Impact

Written by Emily Salja; copy edited by Meagan Kus

When we think about editing poetry, we first have to think about what poetry is. This is something that poets and critics have debated for decades—what is poetry?

All writing, to an extent, comes from the heart—creative writing in particular—and poetry is one of those strange, elusive creatures that is stitched together mostly by heartstrings. Poetry is the least efficient way of conveying a message. It is the language of trauma and inarticulable feelings. In poetry, we write around things instead of at them. How do we edit something so personal?

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Meet the Instructor: Lana Okerlund

Written by Carl Rosenberg; copy edited by Lydia du Bois

A smiling Lana Okerlund faces forward, wearing a grey cardigan, pink sweater, and silver hooped necklace.On Saturday, November 30, Editors BC presents Lana Okerlund’s professional development seminar, “Do the Work You Want (and Earn More Doing It): A Guided Strategic Retreat for Editors.”

This six-hour seminar is designed as a guided strategic retreat to help you envision your ideal editing career, understand your current situation, and develop a plan to close the gap. Through stimulating discussion and hands-on activities, you will:

  • Establish a strategic vision for your editing business or career
  • Set objectives for the clients you want to work with, the projects you want to do, the amount you want to earn, and the work practices and professional development you want to invest in
  • Figure out how to gauge your progress toward your objectives
  • Learn how to analyze information about your business or career so you can adjust or develop new strategies to meet your goals

Whether you’re an experienced editor or new to the editing world, you will come away from the seminar with a draft strategy for taking charge of your business or career so you can steer it in the direction that you want it to go. Freelance editors will find this seminar most useful, though in-house editors can also benefit from thinking about career goals in a more strategic way.

For this seminar, Lana draws on her experience as a freelance editor and as a former business consultant, when she spent nearly a decade working with clients on strategic visioning, business planning, performance measurement, and other business improvement projects. She has found tremendous value in applying these business concepts while building her own editing career. A partner with West Coast Editorial Associates, Lana edits, indexes, and writes non-fiction books and teaches editing and business writing courses.

Carl Rosenberg, a volunteer on Editors BC’s communications and social media committee, spoke to Lana about her forthcoming seminar.

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A lit jack-o'-lantern sits next to a wooden frame that encircles two wooden rectangular shapes that display the date October 31.
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Halloween—What’s in a Name?

Written by Jen Groundwater; copy edited by Lydia du Bois

In his lengthy poem “Halloween,” the beloved Scottish poet Robert Burns popularized the titular holiday name, describing what eighteenth-century Scots got up to on October 31:

Some merry, friendly, countra folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an’ pou their stocks,*
An’ haud their Halloween**
Fu’ blythe that night.***

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Part of a calendar is shown with one pin lying on top of it, another pin stuck in the 26th of an unknown month, and a blue circle around the 24th.
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November 20, 2019: Q&A Session with Eve Lazarus and Susan Safyan

What: Editors BC monthly meeting
When: Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 7:00–9:00 pm
Where: New room | Room 916, 9th floor, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: Free for Editors BC members, non-members, and students.

Join us at our upcoming monthly meeting for a special presentation followed by a Q&A session with accomplished reporter, author, and blogger Eve Lazarus and expert editor and author Susan Safyan.

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A black bottle with the illustrated label "Bat Wing Potion" sits to the right of a candle and a fake skull that are both on top of a book called "The Works of Poe."
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Gleaming Things

Written by David Antrobus; copy edited by Lydia du Bois

When I was kindly asked to write a blog post about editing horror, I was happy to accept an invitation to discuss two of my favourite things: editing and horror fiction. But then, I stepped back and thought some more, and a question occurred to me: How is editing horror any different from editing fiction in general? At first blush, the answer to that is a simple one: it isn’t.

Except—and don’t you love the exceptions?—when the editor is involved early in the editing process. Both developmental editing and manuscript evaluations offer the greatest opportunity to help authors shape their manuscripts. Many of my clients across all genres are independent self-publishers and therefore don’t generally have the budget to saunter their leisurely way through the various levels of editing, but those who do ask for those early stages will likely benefit the most.

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Rows of desks face a projection screen in a classroom-like environment.
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November 30, 2019: Do the Work You Want (and Earn More Doing It): A Guided Strategic Retreat for Editors

What: Editors BC professional development seminar
When: Saturday, November 30, 2019, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Room 481, 4th floor, BCIT Downtown Campus, 555 Seymour Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: $165 for Editors Canada members ($135 early bird), $230 for non-members ($200 early bird), and $100 for student affiliates. Advance registration required. Registration closes November 26; early-bird rates are in effect through November 12.

As an editor, are you doing the work you want (or do you know what that is)? Are you satisfied with what you earn? Are you working as much, or as little, as you wish? Are you keeping up with professional standards and work practices? Do you ever have the time to properly think about these questions, let alone figure out what to do so you can say “yes!” to them?

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