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Event Review: Editors BC’s Seminar, “Getting the Message Across: Clear Writing Tips”

Written by Joanna Vandervlugt; copy edited by Maggie Clark

On Saturday, February 23, 2019, I attended Frances Peck’s seminar for Editors BC, “Getting the Message Across: Clear Writing Tips.”

Despite coming over from Vancouver Island, I found this seminar’s location convenient. The seminar was set up in Vancouver at the BCIT Downtown Campus. This place was an easily accessible one for those who were familiar with the SkyTrain routes like myself.

After reaching my destination from the SkyTrain and settling in, I got to know a bit more about the other class participants. We introduced ourselves, and it seemed that the seminar participants ranged from proofreaders, editors, writers, and academics. Many commented that they were a fan of Frances, and I soon learned why.

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Meet the Instructor: Frances Peck

Written by Carl Rosenberg; copy edited by Kristin Lathrop

This image displays a head shot of Frances Peck smiling.

On Saturday, February 23, Editors BC presents Frances Peck’s seminar, “Getting the Message Across: Clear Writing Tips.” So if you want to improve your ability to quickly convey a clear message to your audience, you’re in luck.


The ability to be concise when dealing with reports, briefings, emails, or any other documents is crucial for an audience to get your message. But too often that message gets buried by weak organization, unnecessary detail, abstract language, and other barriers to readability.

Whether you’re a writer or an editor, this seminar will show you how to create documents that meet readers’ needs and get the message across. Topics include writing faster and better (a four-step process); understanding what your readers want (and don’t want); highlighting your key messages; making ideas flow; and eliminating wordiness, abstractions, and jargon. (See the registration page for more details.)

Frances Peck, a partner with West Coast Editorial Associates, is a writer and Certified Professional Editor (Hon.) who specializes in editing and rewriting for clarity. She has taught for the University of Ottawa, Douglas College, SFU, UBC, Editors Canada, and many public and private sector organizations. Frances wrote Peck’s English Pointers, a free collection of articles and quizzes available on the Language Portal of Canada, and is a co-author of the HyperGrammar website.

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

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Rows of desks face a projection screen in a classroom-like environment.
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February 23, 2019: Getting the Message Across: Clear Writing Tips

What: Editors BC professional development seminar
When: Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Room 476, 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 February 19; early-bird rates are in effect through February 5.

Reports, policies, briefings, emails, and other informational documents have a simple goal: to deliver a message quickly and clearly to a target audience. But too often that message gets buried by weak organization, unnecessary detail, abstract language, unhelpful layout, and other barriers to readability.

This workshop will show you how to create and edit documents that meet readers’ needs and get the message across every time. Topics include

  • writing faster and better: a four-step process
  • understanding what your readers want (and don’t want)
  • organizing information to meet readers’ needs
  • highlighting your key messages
  • using layout to boost readability
  • making your ideas flow
  • eliminating wordiness, abstractions, and jargon
  • revising and proofreading your work

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Rows of desks face a projection screen in a classroom-like environment.
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November 24, 2018: Grammar Rules and Myths

Our November seminar has been cancelled due to low registration. Please check back in January. In the meantime, you can learn about our cancellation policy for seminars.

What: Editors BC professional development seminar
When: Saturday, November 24, 2018, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Room 381, 3rd 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 20; early-bird rates are in effect through November 13.

In the November workshop, Frances Peck will cover tricky instances of agreement, pronoun case (including everyone’s favourite, who and whom), and modifier form and placement. She’ll discuss the most widespread errors, including comma splices and dangling modifiers. And she’ll investigate some tenacious grammar myths and review the rules that have changed over time. The seminar will include exercises, self-tests, and time for individual questions.

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October 18, 2017: Scary Editing Stories—Surviving and Learning from Difficult Situations

What: Editors BC monthly meeting
When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 7:00–9:00 pm
Where: Welch Room, 4th floor, YWCA Health + Fitness Centre, 535 Hornby Street, Vancouver | map
Cost: Free for Editors Canada members and student affiliates, $10 for non-members, and $5 for non-member students with valid ID. Registration at the door.

Unlike Halloween, editing isn’t meant to be a scary experience. But not all projects are treats. We’ve likely all experienced tricky situations when a client, employer, or author has been difficult to work with, processes have gone awry, or the project has felt like a fiasco from start to finish. In every such experience, however, there can be a lesson and an opportunity for professional growth. Continue reading

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Event Review: The Secrets of Syntax by Frances Peck

Written by Eva van Emden; copy edited by Rebecca A. Coates

On April 22, a roomful of editors got together to talk about syntax—the order of words in a sentence. This may seem like an obscure topic to spend a day thinking about, but consider how many memorable sayings stick in your mind because of a magic combination of word order, rhythm, and repetition. Would we be able to quote the sentence “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” if it didn’t use rhythm and repetition—syntactic elements—so effectively?

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Meet the Instructor: Frances Peck

Written by Carl Rosenberg; copy edited by Meagan Kus

On Saturday, April 22, Editors BC will present Frances Peck, who will give a full-day seminar called “The Secrets of Syntax. In this seminar, participants will look at syntax from various angles and explore how to shape it for different kinds of texts, styles, and readers.

Frances is a Certified Professional Editor (Hon.) and writer who has worked with words for over 25 years. She prepared the Canadian edition of The St. Martin’s Workbook, a grammar exercise book; co-authored the popular HyperGrammar website; and wrote Peck’s English Pointers, a collection of articles and quizzes available on the Language Portal of Canada. A partner with West Coast Editorial Associates, Frances teaches at Douglas College and UBC and gives workshops across Canada. She is also a sometime blogger and a fiction writer.

Carl Rosenberg, a volunteer on Editors BC’s communications and social media committee, spoke to Frances about her work on language and syntax.

 

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