I love the deep, probing, evidence-based thinking that goes into academic papers and so this is one of the areas of editing that reaps a lot of rewards for me as an editor. When it comes to editing university papers - one of the main tools for assessing student performance - careful attention must be paid to the limits of what an editor can do to improve a student's work. Editors Canada recently published ethical guidelines for editing student papers. These guidelines are essential to take on board before an editor and student begin to work together. Here are the links:
Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Undergraduate Student Texts
Guidelines for Ethical Editing of Graduate Student Texts
Permission form to confirm editing services for student texts
Back in 2014 and 2015 I interviewed a handful of writers for a series I called Pre-authorized. The idea was to offer some validation to the writers who were toiling away at their craft but didn't yet have a lot of recognition within the book industry. Each of them had already worked for years to complete a manuscript, and when I spoke with them their books were unpublished.
Now we're a few years on, and I am so pleased that every one of these writers has either found an agent, a book deal, a publisher, or beautifully bound copies of their books in bookstores.
The life of a writer is quiet. If only thoughts made noise. The streams that go through a writer’s mind would work up into a torrent. Rivers, tides, waterfalls, a bursting aquifer.
As a writer works out what to put down on paper—which word, which character, which fact, which heading—the thoughts often move along many simultaneous paths. Connected ideas and tangents flow as the writer labours—the chronology of unfolding events, the tension of the story’s main conflict, the relationships between characters, dialogue and scenes, descriptions of setting, the climax, the ending, and all the paths that must be travelled to take readers to a satisfying conclusion. Almost all of this work takes place in silence.
Naturally it’s difficult to get into the flow of writing when surrounded by noise and interruptions, so writers tend to work alone where it’s quiet. But I’ve been trying something different lately, as I edit, and it’s based on an idea I got from A.L. Kennedy’s book On Writing.
Social media is a key part of publishing and communications work. I would almost say essential. But I grew up in a time when no one had home computers. I got my first email address when I was in university, and I was on the vanguard when I set up a freenet account. Back then, people used telephones that had wires attached to a jack in the wall, and mail came through the post. It seems quaint now, but it worked, and I dare say that if you really want to get someone's attention a phone call is still probably the best way to reach them.
The big difference now is that we have more communication tools to choose from: email, websites, social media, phones, mobile data, good old fashioned letters, and let's not forget print media. I still prefer to have something in my hands to read, like a book or a Saturday morning paper.
But choices are often dictated by larger social patterns and movements, markets and cultures. In publishing, it would be hard to choose communication tools that did not involve social media sites like Facebook. And yet, that's exactly what I chose to do this week. I deleted my Facebook account.