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Wording Around with Editing

Overview, and Substantive Editing

When you’ve typed that magical phrase “the end” on your first draft, you’ve done only about a third of the work of getting your project ready to publish. Through lectorial (halfway between a lecture and a tutorial), discussion, and editing exercises, this workshop will tour participants through three distinct types of editing – Substantive, Style, Copy – before detailing the ideal process a manuscript should go through before it gets into the public’s hands. We’ll then delve more deeply into the initial stage of editing: Substantive (also called Developmental-, Manuscript-, Content-, or Story-editing, or even Book Doctoring). Please bring a one-to-two page writing sample you want to work with, such as a single poem, a flash fiction, a scene from a script, an excerpt from a story, novel, journal entry, or memoir, etc.

Editing for Style, and Workshopping

According to the Editors Canada website, editing for style is editing to clarify meaning, ensure coherence and flow, and refine language. In a first draft, you shouldn’t be worried about style; your concern is to simply get the project onto the page, however that happens. You might be a bit worried about style during a substantive edit, because though the lines between types of editing are very clear in the abstract, they blur in the doing. However, when you’re editing for style, you become hyper-aware of not just what you’ve written but how you’ve written it. That consciousness, more than any checklist (and we’ll go over several), will take you deeply into the realm of style. Time permitting, during the latter part of the workshop, we’ll go over strategies for an effective peer-editing process and then break into small groups to work on each others’ writing. You don’t need to have been in the morning workshop with Kathy Mac to take this one. Please bring a one-to-two page writing sample you want to work with, such as a single poem, a flash fiction, a scene from a script, an excerpt from a story, novel, journal entry or memoir, etc. If you were in Kathy’s morning workshop, you can bring the same piece you worked on then.

Kathy Mac

Prize-winning poet and STU creative writing prof Kathy Mac has published two books on writing, a book of essays on pop culture, and three poetry books. Her workshops at WordSpring 2022 are distilled from her most recent publication Wording Around with Editing (2022), which started as notes for a free online course for WFNB members in the spring of 2020, when WordSpring was cancelled because of the pandemic lockdown. 


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Territorial Acknowledgement

The Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick acknowledges that the land on which we live, work and gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq Peoples, and we honour the spirit of our ancestors’ Treaties of Peace and Friendship.

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