Resources for writers and editors
Baroque Cycle manuscript.
Photo by bestbib&tucker.
Some rights reserved.
Photo by bestbib&tucker.
Some rights reserved.
Help with hiring a freelance editorFrom the Editors’ Association of Canada:
- Definitions of Editorial Skills: find out what kind of editing you need.
- Professional Editorial Standards: a detailed description of what an editor can be expected to do at each level of editing.
- Find an editor through the online directory of editors.
Editors’ organizationsThese editors’ associations offer support for both freelance and in-house editors, including training, accreditation, advocacy, job postings, an annual conference, and professional development.
- Editors’ Association of Canada: has branches throughout Canada. Members can advertise through the online directory of members.
- Professional Editors Association of Vancouver Island (PEAVI)
- Northwest Independent Editors Guild: an organization of editors in the pacific northwest. Their Red Pencil conference is excellent.
- Society for Editors and Proofreaders: based in the U.K. Has a listing of members.
- American Copy Editors Society offers news and information, some good resources, and a job mailing list that’s open to non-members.
- Dictionaries: Oxford (U.K. spelling); Merriam-Webster (U.S. spelling); as far as I know, there’s no free online version of the Canadian Oxford. These student dictionaries at Word Central (Merriam) and Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary give useful information about grammar.
- The Canadian Oxford, 2nd Edition, is often used as the spelling reference for Canadian English projects. Get the hardcover version if you need to look up word breaks; it also has more detail in the definitions.
- Both the Vancouver Public Library and the UVic library provide their members with free online access to the full Oxford English Dictionary, as well as a number of other amazing resources. See Vancouver Public Library and UVic Library Databases.
Style guides and editing references
- Chicago Manual of Style: access to the online version costs a very reasonable $35 a year, and there is a 30-day free trial available.
- Proofreaders’ marks: a short guide to the standard set of symbols used to proofread on paper.
- The Editors’ Association of Canada’s Editing Canadian English, 2nd Edition, does a great job of describing editing issues that are specific to Canada. It has a very useful comparison of the spellings given by several major U.S., U.K., and Canadian dictionaries.
- The Economist Style Guide online: This is a very complete online guide to Economist style. The old version of the style guide is still available in the Internet Archive.
- The Canadian Style: an online guide put out by the Bureau of Translation.
- Subtleties of Scientific Style by Matthew Stevens. This is a great guide to the special considerations for editing science writing. It’s available free online.
- Scientific Style and Format
- The Subversive Copy Editor: both the blog and the book by Carol Fisher Saller of Chicago University Press are great. There is lots of concrete advice here on how to deal with authors tactfully and productively, organize your work, use word processors effectively, work with freelancers, be a freelancer, you name it.
Grammar and writing
- Diagnostic Grammar Test used by Ryerson University in their publishing certificate program. Marking sheet.
- Peck’s English Pointers: A collection of clear and entertaining articles on English grammar, punctuation, usage, and clarity. Most sections include a short quiz.
- The Writer’s Toolbox from Geist Magazine
- George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language”
- Excerpt from William Zinsser’s book On Writing Well
- The Victory Page for Fiction Writers has some useful resources. She has a handy document on how to punctuate dialogue and use speech tags.
- Characters & Viewpoint and How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. Lots of great advice on how to build a good story. Characters & Viewpoint is applicable to all fiction writing. I found the last section of the book, which deals with techniques used in the narrative voice, particularly useful.
- TV Tropes: An entertaining and impressively thorough wiki about the patterns that appear in stories.
- The Fiction Editor, the Novel, and the Novelist by Thomas McCormack
- Save the Cat!: The Last Book On Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. A screenplay editor suggested that the rules for writing a good story are similar for novels and screenplays, so I thought it might be useful to learn about how to write screenplays. Save the Cat is a fun read and provides some interesting commentary on movie genres (“Monster in the House,” “Institutionalized”) and structure (state the theme on page 5). I’m sure lots of people consider his approach to be too formulaic, but I believe it’s good to know the rules before you can break them.
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee. This book has a lot of excellent content about the conflicts, themes, characters, and structure that makes a compelling story.
- Book News Online from the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival has news about books and writers, and a schedule of events happening in Vancouver. Read it online or subscribe.