Meet the Instructor: Moira White

Written by Carl Rosenberg; copy edited by Katie Beaton

Framed by her short white hair, Moira White is smiling in this photo while wearing a long, red scarf and black shirt.

On Saturday, April 28, Editors BC presents Moira White’s seminar, “Eight-Step Editing.” This seminar breaks the editorial process down into tasks to improve the readability of an author’s written work. The eight steps are to shorten sentences, take out the trash (i.e., unnecessary phrases), deflate long words and phrases, reduce negatives, eliminate the equations (i.e., equating or linking verbs), activate the passives, lead with strength, and parade your paragraphs.

Moira is an Ottawa-based editor, writer, and trainer with decades of experience in plain language editing, writing, and teaching for government and corporate clients. She entered the work world as a social worker and later moved into social policy with a master’s degree in the field. In both professions, she found that her organizational skills, attention to detail, and love of words pointed her in the direction of editing. Currently, she teaches writing and editing courses in Ottawa and across Canada. Moira is a past president of Editors Canada.

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

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Rows of desks face a projection screen in a classroom-like environment.
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April 28, 2018: Eight-Step Editing

What: Editors BC professional development seminar
When: Saturday, April 28, 2018, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Room 810, 8th floor, BCIT Downtown Campus, 555 Seymour Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: $175 for Editors Canada members ($145 early bird), $240 for non-members ($210 early bird), and $110 for student affiliates. Advance registration required. Registration closes April 24; early-bird rates are in effect through April 10.

Eight-Step Editing teaches an approach to editing that helps writers and editors alike. Everyone who has ever clarified a sentence in an email, a report, or another written work can benefit from this workshop.

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Event Review: Eight-Step Editing

Written by Amy Haagsma; copy edited by Joanne King

Review of seminar Eight-Step Editing with Jim Taylor (offered by EAC-BC on February 21, 2015).

Jim Taylor has been a writer and editor since 1958. In 1971, he began teaching editing to business executives, using many of the concepts that would later become Eight-Step Editing. A casual mention of his process caught the attention of his EAC colleagues, and he was encouraged to develop it into a seminar. Jim confessed that, when first asked about the steps he used, he didn’t have a number in mind but surmised that it must be “about eight.”

In the spring of 1984, Jim officially rolled out Eight-Step Editing for EAC. Over the years, his seminar has achieved an almost-legendary status. Although Jim retired in 2007, he has graciously taught the seminar for EAC-BC a number of times since then.

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Rows of desks face a projection screen in a classroom-like environment.

February 21, 2015: Eight-Step Editing with Jim Taylor

What: EAC-BC professional development seminar
When: Saturday, February 21, 2015, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Where: Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside Hotel, 1133 W Hastings Street | map

Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned editor, a would-be writer or a supervisor of others’ writing, this course will help you make your words work better.

Using a step-by-step process, the program identifies the most common factors that become obstacles for readers. It not only helps recognize the problems, it shows quick and simple techniques for fixing them. Professional editors tend to make these corrections intuitively. Eight-Step Editing helps them ensure they haven’t overlooked some crucial readability factor in their zeal to track down spelling or punctuation inconsistencies. Novice editors often suffer from paralysis. Eight-Step Editing gives them a starting point that doesn’t depend on subjective assessments of a manuscript’s worth. Freelance writers can use the Eight-Step process to improve their own materials before submission, enhancing their chances of acceptance. Business writers, trapped in traditional formulas from the filing cabinet, will benefit from a fresh vision for writing prose that can persuade and motivate. At the same time, supervisors and administrators who approve letters and reports will understand better what to look for.

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