Category Archives: Round-up

CIEP social media round-up: August and September 2022

Our social media team takes you through the CIEP content we’ve shared on our social media platforms during August and September 2022. This time, the emphasis falls on fiction.

Editing fiction

Several blog posts from August and September had the theme of fiction editing. There’s a common misconception out there that fiction editing is just a form of rather intense reading that you could carry out while sitting in a soft armchair drinking a mug of cocoa.

The first article listed here, which forms part of our curriculum for professional development, is by Jane Moody, our Training Director. She gives a detailed table of the competencies, skills and attitudes that we should be able to evidence as a professional fiction editor. Cocoa is optional.

One of the best sources of advice for CIEP members about how to become a fiction editor – or any type of editor – are the CIEP forums. This ‘Forum matters’ article points you in the direction of some of the best places to access information about fiction editing.

Rachel Lapidow edits role-playing games. The style sheets for such complex projects are detailed – the style sheet of her current work-in-progress is 60 pages long! She shares the structure of her style sheets and the process of creating them, and shows us how they can be useful for fiction editing too.

While you might think the main focus of fiction editing is dealing with fantasy, Sue Littleford reminds us that we also need to think about facts. Keeping records about your current work in order to optimise your future work is essential for editors of any subject matter, and fiction is no different. She describes three ways to keep records and introduces the CIEP’s free spreadsheet designed for record keeping.

‘Definite articles’ is our pick of recent editing-related content from all around the internet – and, in this edition, themes included the language of fiction, dialogue and character, plot, story and scenes, and the business side of fiction publishing.

The writing software Scrivener has some enthusiastic fans among the writing community. Scrivener allows you to restructure a piece of writing much more easily than is possible in Microsoft Word. In his ‘Talking tech’ column, Andy Coulson investigates whether Scrivener might also be a useful tool for developmental editors of fiction.

And in the editorial department …

Agile planning

An ‘Agile’ approach to planning – and the changes that occur in that planning – is a style of teamworking. It’s a project management model more familiar in the world of technology. Its principles make a priority of individuals, deliverables, collaboration and response to change. Steven Martin considers whether the Agile approach might work in publishing.

Project management

What does editorial project management actually involve and where do copyeditors and proofreaders fit into the process? In this post, editorial project manager Julia Sandford-Cooke describes her typical week and some of the tasks she often undertakes. Check out the CIEP’s Editorial Project Management course if you want to learn more.

Translation editing or copyediting?

Gwenydd Jones is an experienced translator. Early in her career she noticed clients were asking for ‘translation editing’ – with the term ‘editing’ being used very loosely. She explains what’s involved in the field of translation editing and considers how it shares similarities with copyediting.

Apostrophes

George Bernard Shaw hated them, but could we do without them? Is it time to ‘kill apostrophes’ or would that be ‘just plain wrong’? In her regular column ‘A Finer Point’, Cathy Tingle goes in search of the genuinely useful apostrophe and makes some interesting findings.

Working through the menopause

It is encouraging to see increasing numbers of conversations about menopause and perimenopause. Members of the CIEP forums shared their varied experiences of working through the menopause, which Liz Dalby has gathered here. This post also includes some links to helpful resources.

Networking and conferencing

September is usually the month of our annual CIEP Conference, so networking is on our minds. The word strikes fear into those of us of a more introvert nature. In this article, BookMachine’s Laura Summers puts paid to the image that networking has to be awkward or scary. And while networking is about making new connections and building on existing relationships, it’s also about learning and confidence-building. All things that you’ll experience at our annual conference, which you’ll be hearing about in various blog posts in the weeks to come!

The CIEP Annual Conference took place on 10–12 September 2022. Our theme was editing in a diverse world. It was our first hybrid conference (with sessions available online as well as in person); and it was our first in-person conference since 2019. Look out for blog posts in the near future on the sessions and some conference experiences from our delegates.

Our speakers did not disappoint, and special thanks go to Katherine May, Reverend Richard Coles and Ian McMillan.

CIEP Language Quiz 16

Finally, dare you try Quiz 16? It’s all about aspects of punctuation, grammar and usage when editing fiction.

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About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: wheat field by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Definite articles: CIEP social media picks, February and March 2022

Welcome to the first edition of ‘Definite articles’, our social media team’s pick of internet content, most of which are definitely articles, for editors and proofreaders. If you want our pick of our own recent content, head straight for ‘CIEP social media round-up: February and March 2022’.

In this column:

  • Special days and news events
  • Reading recommendations
  • Thinking about language
  • Dashes, slashes and book stashes

Special days and news events

There were a number of special days during February and March 2022. On 11 February, the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we shared Cambridge Dictionaries’ look at how we talk about science, and on 8 March, International Women’s Day, we encouraged our friends and followers to read about Hidden Sci-Fi Women of the OED, from Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle upon Tyne, to Storm Constantine.

3 March was World Book Day, as many parents scarred by this annual festival of competitive literary costume-creating will know. We gave them a non-costume-based chance to get their kids into literature by posting National Geographic’s ‘Seven literary destinations around the UK to inspire children’, which included Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, the inspiration for AA Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, and (checks notes) Scotland. Which sounds as if National Geographic might have forgotten that Scotland is a large and varied country until you read that 2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories.

Not long after World Book Day was World Poetry Day, and to celebrate this we posted ‘A little light verse’ by Brian Bilston: a poem in the shape of a lightbulb, which considers how many poets it would take to change one.

And we looked forward to a very special day in the summer: the Queen’s Platinum, er, ‘Jubbly’? As all sorts of souvenirs and memorabilia started to emerge in preparation for the big event on 2 June, the BBC ran a story about a particular set of crockery that celebrated ‘the Platinum Jubbly of Queen Elizabeth II’. ‘I would love to buy one of these pieces!’ declared a follower on LinkedIn. Well, move fast: there are only 10,000 available and they’re fast becoming collectors’ items, partly because of their Del Boy connotations. ‘Cushty’, as one Facebook follower observed.

The news wasn’t great during these two months. Publishing Perspectives published an interview with a Ukrainian publisher, Julia Orlova, who described the working conditions in early March for her publishing house, Vivat, and her determination to continue producing books for those in Ukraine who needed them. ‘“We provide electronic versions of books for children who are now staying with their parents in shelters,” she says. “And some of our staff continue to edit manuscripts whenever possible. We try our best not to stop the process of creating books.”’

Also in early March came the news that Shirley Hughes, children’s author and illustrator, had died. Hughes was famous for her character Alfie, among many others, and our followers paid tribute: ‘Wonderful author and illustrator. I’ve loved her books since they were read to me by my parents, and I love them even more having read them to my own children, and to the children I’ve looked after for many years. Reminiscent of a simpler and less frantic time.’

As is often the case at this time of year, the weather made news too. As Storm Eunice took hold in mid-February, we posted ‘The problem of writing poems on a wild, stormy day’ by Brian Bils … sorry, the rest of the name seems to have blown away. Who was the poet? We may never know.

Reading recommendations

At the beginning of February we posted a story from the Washington Post about a reading recommendation: by eight-year-old Dillon Helbig, of his own book, entitled The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis and signed ‘by Dillon His Self’. Dillon took his book on a visit to his local library with his grandma and while he was there slipped it onto one of the shelves. The library manager said: ‘I don’t think it’s a self-promotion thing. He just genuinely wanted other people to be able to enjoy his story … He’s been a lifelong library user, so he knows how books are shared.’ Dillon got his wish. The book has been officially added to the library’s collection and can be borrowed. In fact, there’s a long waiting list.

This lovely story was a good start to a couple of months during which we shared a whole host of reading recommendations, from 12 books to read in celebration of America’s Black History Month to the overlooked masterpieces of 1922, magical books you’ll keep coming back to, ten new books to read in America’s Women’s History Month, what TikTok’s book reviewers are recommending and the longlist for the International Booker Prize.

We also enjoyed The Guardian’s series ‘Where to start with’, and posted its pieces on the works of Agatha Christie and James Joyce.

Thinking about language

As if considering the works of James Joyce wasn’t already giving our language-processing centres enough of a workout, article after article about the meanings and implications of language was posted by our tireless social media team. These included new terms such as swicy (sweet and spicy) and seaganism (‘the practice of eating only plant-based foods and seafood’), and the use of light verbs which ‘get their main semantic content from the noun that follows rather than the verb itself’. Examples are take as in ‘take a walk’ or do as in ‘do battle’. There was a moderate reaction to this among our thoughtful followers, but no one made a comment.

We explored the taste of words in how food is written about, and also in the experience of synaesthesia, where ‘words have an associated physical experience as well as a meaning’. Occasionally that association can be flavour. Someone who knows all about this is James, who describes journeys on the London Underground when he was a child. Tottenham Court Road was his favourite stop: ‘“Tottenham” produced the taste and texture of a sausage; “Court” was like an egg – a fried egg but not a runny fried egg: a lovely crispy fried egg. And “Road” was toast. So there you’ve got a pre-made breakfast.’ Fascinating. And delicious.

We are always looking to learn more about inclusive language. Early in February we posted a piece about a new gender-neutral pronoun, ‘hen’, in Norwegian, and then a few weeks later we shared an OED panel discussion, ‘Language prejudice and the documentation of minoritized varieties of English’, and a response to it by CIEP member Robin Black.

Bringing new and inclusive language together, we posted an article explaining what it means to be ‘out of spoons’. Spoons have become a metaphor for energy, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty explained, which is particularly useful in helping people with a disability, condition or chronic illness explain what their lived experience is like; for example, they might start the day with only a certain number of spoons, and with every activity they might lose one or more of these spoons. Fogarty explored how the concept has proven so useful that it has become widespread, with a new self-named ‘spoonie community’ and the use of the term as a verb, as in ‘spooned out’.

Dashes, slashes and book stashes

Our social followers enjoy a quiz and we’re only too happy to oblige. During February and March 2022 we posted quizzes on dashes and slashes (both courtesy of CMOS), and book stashes: ‘How well do you know your library quotes?’ One notable quote that didn’t feature in this quiz was ‘Librarian, Happy Easter X’, a message that landed in a pink bag in Cambridge University Library, along with two priceless missing notebooks belonging to Charles Darwin, in March. After careful verification of the notebooks the story broke in early April, which is too late for our February and March survey but, a bit like Dillon Helbig’s home-made library book, it’s far too good a story not to include in our collection.


Join us again in June (after the Jubbly) for our pick of April and May’s internet gems, or if you can’t wait you can always follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. See you online!

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: fruit by Lukas, storm by Diziana Hasabekava, spoons by Vie Studio, all on Pexels.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Forum matters: References

This feature comes from the band of CIEP members who volunteer as forum moderators. You will only be able to access links to the posts if you’re a forum user and logged in. Find out how to register.

Mention to an editor that a project contains references and they are likely to envision a long list of citations that may or may not be appropriate or even needed, and that may be incomplete and multi-styled. A search on ‘reference’ brings up over 2,600 posts (about 400 specifically on citations/referencing) across all forums that cover (among other subjects) styles, references to, ways to reference people, using Word, PDF markup, definite articles, the Bible, information sources, languages, macros and the effect of being in different generations.

Essentially, Luke Finley summarised what browsing the forums can do for you in A fun moment courtesy of ProperNounAlyse: ‘I do like those moments when you can make copy-editing look like some kind of dark art.’

Citations

First to the pure business of citations, which is a core activity for all academic editors and for many works of non-fiction. If you are a regular checker of citations and a macro user then you may already have taken advantage of Paul Beverley’s CitationAlyse; if not, then have a look at Citation checking made even easier and its accompanying YouTube video.

If you are in need of reference management software then that is also dealt with on the forums. Although mention of a discount may be outdated by the time you read Using EndNote to style references, the information about its features, new approaches and the subsequent discussion is well worth a read. There are also threads about Word’s Reference tab (see Word Referencing et al.) and all sorts of macros – some of which become reference lists in their own right (Efficient PDF Markup).

Helpful pointers

Software or hardware updates can occasion glitches and if you don’t have your own IT guru or can’t find a solution via googling, then a quick share on the forums can often help you to keep on checking those references (see Copy & paste weirdness – new PC installation). For people to give you the best answers to many of these queries it can help to upload an example file or image, as demonstrated by the thread Macro for endnotes.

If you are still finding your way as an editor, the forums are a great place to sound out approaches to referencing, whether because of inconsistencies in styling, as in Serial commas in text but not citations, which leads to a steer on how to query; or whether it is helping students settle on the best approach, as in Academic copyediting: combinations of citation and style guides. Checking formatting is also dealt with, from problems with numbering in Reference indent query to addressing the titled in Full name or initials after ‘Sir’ in references. The latter thread leads from knights to the invasion of Grenada to indexing seven Sir Johns! Forum members seem well-versed in matters of etiquette, should you need advice, not just on lords but also on References to Professor/Doctor.

If you are seeking guidance specific to a publisher’s way of working then it is wise to put their name in the topic title, as in Palgrave Macmillan style guide. With the number of members who have signed up to the CIEP forums and their range of experience, you are bound to get a useful (and sensible) response that will help you do the best job for that (new) client.

If you are working with a non-fiction self-publisher then you are probably going to have to make many more decisions about how to style the references and be extra careful about checking them – which was the sort of advice sought in Best citation system? – while you will benefit from the sense expressed in Inclusion of the definite article in journal titles.

Specialisms

Thanks to the reach of CIEP recruitment, many language references can be checked with those who really know their etymology. German referencing issues leads to Ancient Egypt, while Dir. – French abbreviation opens up the world of job titles.

Referencing also comes up in fiction, as in references to Age appropriateness? and the place of violence in a children’s fantasy novel; and references to the 1980s in Exposition/First person POV and how different generations might be frustrated to allusions they won’t understand.

The broad church that is editing (and the CIEP) means that whatever your reference requirement you are likely to find an answer, whether it is on Where to check plant (fruit) species, Citing foreign language films in Chicago or ways of Quoting Whole Bible Chapters. This last led to a personal offer of help, which is not uncommon on the forums, as confirmed by the fulsome thanks in Shouting out about Janet!

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: beach by Anthony Cantin, bookshelf by Yury Nam, both on Unsplash.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

CIEP social media round-up: February and March 2022

In February and March we considered the importance of applying editorial judgement, promoted a new guide, and reflected on change: whether it’s small (the daffodils are out!), planned for (switching to editing a new genre) or hugely unsettling (Russia’s invasion of Ukraine), it’s something that’s hard to escape. 

All about editorial judgement

We shared some engaging new blog content from CIEP members in February and March with the theme of making editorial judgements. This coincided with the release of a new fact sheet on this very subject – free for CIEP members.

On any working day, an editor could be making several different types of decisions. At the most basic level, a common editorial judgement is deciding whether to make a correction or not. A more difficult decision can be whether something is good enough, which depends on client expectations, budget, time constraints, the needs of the end user and – as always – the context.

How important is the style sheet? Do we understand what the client wants, or are we second-guessing? What are the red flags to look out for before accepting or rejecting a job? The all-encompassing art of editorial judgement reveals itself in almost every thread on the CIEP’s member forums.

And we also have to guard against making unfounded assumptions, which might happen when a text you’re working on is outside your subject expertise or lived experience. Is the language inclusive, and how should we query it with the writer if it isn’t? Nicholas Taylor shared Alex Kapitan’s seven principles of editing outside our own life experiences.

Sue Littleford considered how the critical skill of editorial judgement could be applied to running your editorial business. Before you take on the work, you’re judging whether the text and the client are a good fit for you. What should you charge? How long will it take and will you be able to fit it around other work? Freelancers also need to make branding and marketing decisions. Sue’s article was a treasure trove of expert advice.

Can we rely on tech to help us in our judgements? We shared Andy Coulson’s considerations on the options available for automating style sheets. Computers are very good at following rules and recognising consistency, but editors have to make decisions based on those results.

In her Finer Point series, Cathy Tingle discussed how to navigate the nuances of title case in headings, and in the process discovered the importance of editorial judgement in these decisions. This was a popular post that really got our members debating and discussing capitalisation!

A new guide for science editing

We promoted a new guide on social media in February: Editing Scientific and Medical Research Articles by Dr Claire Bacon.

This guide tells editors all they need to know to help scientists get their research papers ready for publication, explaining how a research article should be structured and giving a step-by-step guide to editing each section, including tables and figures. The elements of scientific style are also explained, together with common problems editors may encounter and how to solve them.

Change

Change was a recurring theme in the CIEP resources that we shared on our social media channels in February and March. Any freelancer has to be prepared to embrace change and keep progressing in their work. We can hope the change is gradual and positive, but sometimes we’re presented with an opportunity that is less of a learning curve and more of a learning catapult. You at least hope for a soft landing.

A new direction

Advanced Professional Member Gale Winskill likes a challenge, and has changed direction in her own career. In a blog she talks of feeling the fear of fiction and doing it anyway! Gale also has some encouraging words for anyone wanting to switch to editing fiction: ‘If you can articulate your reaction to a piece of narrative prose, you can edit fiction!’ Gale has become a well-respected fiction editor and co-wrote the CIEP’s Introduction to Fiction Editing course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested in finding out if fiction editing might be for you, the CIEP also publishes a short guide that may help you to decide: Getting Started in Fiction Editing, written by Kat Trail. Kat herself has changed direction from journalism to fiction editing (and back again!).

Averill Buchanan works primarily as a fiction editor, and in February we shared a blog where she talks about her beginnings in graphic design and her decision to change direction and work as an editor. She explains how both skills have enabled her to help independent authors navigate the sometimes overwhelming process of self-publishing.

We promoted our Exercise Bank in February and March, and there are great resources in this collection to give you a taste of what it is like to proofread and copyedit fiction. One of them – a proofreading exercise by Jane Hammett – provides practice in proofreading a highly illustrated text, checking illustrations, checking layout and using Adobe Acrobat Reader DC commenting/markup tools. It is completely free for members.

Changing your processes for the better

How do you make your work more efficient? In an illuminating blog post, Margaret Hunter describes the process of streamlining workflow for regular and repeated publications such as journals and series. Before beginning she asks herself: ‘I’m going to have to do this again, so what will make it easier or more efficient next time?’ That’s a fantastic question. Before you begin any job it’s worth considering if there are any processes you can employ to speed things up for yourself, reduce drudgery and make the best use of your amazing brain by freeing up more thinking time.

Making sense of changing times

A new blog post from guest writer Rosie Tate of Tate & Clayburn listed five ways the English language has changed in the past two decades. It’s been an eventful 20 years, to put it mildly: words have come and gone, meanings have shifted, technical terms have become everyday, and the pandemic has introduced words and phrases from virology and medicine.

As certain as death and taxes

The most extreme example of change is something we don’t like to think of or talk much about … the subject of death. We shared this epically researched blog by Luke Finley and Laura Ripper which provides a practical and sensitive guide to what you should have in place for your clients and colleagues if you should pass away unexpectedly. Thanks for making us think about this subject.

Another subject we don’t like to think of or talk much about is … HMRC. Melanie Thompson described her experience of being inspected by the UK’s tax authority. The jolt of adrenaline from reading this was more than the effect of any double espresso, and had a lot of members asking for the number of Melanie’s accountant. We recommend you read it; it has a happy ending. You’re a trooper, Melanie.

And finally …

What if the change you are presented with isn’t a choice – and is life altering? How do you cope with that?

We’ve all had two years of getting used to a ‘new normal’, and now the world is experiencing another time of great uncertainty and worry. War is a constant fact of life for many people in our world, a fact that leaves many of us feeling rather helpless. One small way editors can contribute is through our work; to always challenge intolerance and disinformation where we find it.

Our most roundly supported social media post in February and March was the CIEP Council’s statement of solidarity with the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association, and support of a statement made by the Russian Alliance of Independent Publishers and Book Distributors.

Our CIEP social media output is the work of many hands. Thank you to the information team, the social media team, the writers, editors, proofreaders and everyone who takes time to engage with our posts.


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About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: blossom by Mitrey on Pixabay.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

What resources does the CIEP offer?

The CIEP offers a wide range of support and professional development material on proofreading and copyediting. In this post the Institute’s information team summarises the resources available to our members and to the public.

Here’s what we’ll be looking at in this post.

  • CIEP resources
  • guides
  • fact sheets
  • focus papers
  • the CIEP blog
  • newsletters and
  • what’s coming up in 2022

CIEP resources

Our information team works with experienced editorial professionals and industry leaders to provide trusted advice and practical knowhow on working with English language texts. These range from tips on getting started, gleaned from practitioners’ years of experience, to the fine details of editorial markup and proofreading etiquette, plus insights into evolving usage and when to recognise it’s an ‘it depends’ situation rather than a rule of grammar.

Guides

Our guides provide a basic introduction to the various skills and knowledge needed to work as an editorial professional. Digital versions of all the guides are free for CIEP members. They encompass such diverse subjects as editing cookery books, pricing freelance projects, working with self-publishers, and editing scientific research articles.

 

 

Fact sheets

Fact sheets are brief introductions to a topic or issue related to practical aspects of editing or proofreading, or working as an editor or proofreader. They aren’t comprehensive but give tips related to the topic and a list of further resources. There are currently over 20 factsheets and the number is growing; topics range from macros and gendered language to scope creep and emotional wellbeing.

Editors work on all kinds of text, from marketing materials, theses and reports to blogs and websites. However, a core area of work for many editors is still books, for print or online publication. All books are different, but many adhere to a standard basic structure. This helps the author and the publisher order the information, but more importantly it helps the reader navigate the finished book, making it a truly useful and accessible resource.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Anatomy of a book

As soon as you agree to take on work for a client, or to complete a task for a colleague, you are under an obligation to ensure the work is completed as agreed. But whether you are a business owner or an employee you will always have other tasks on your to-do list: juggling expectations and moving deadlines, managing yourself and others, chasing invoices and marketing your services, as well as coping with personal matters that may have an impact on your capacity to work. Do you have a plan for how to cope if disaster strikes?

MEMBER RESOURCE: Building a business resilience and disaster plan

Focus papers

Focus papers explore an aspect of the English language or editorial practice that:

  • challenges assumptions
  • offers a new perspective on, illuminates or addresses a problem
  • helps readers better understand the value of professional editing, either their own practice or as potential users of editorial services (or both!).

They are written by well-known and expert names in their field, including CIEP honorary president David Crystal, linguist Rob Drummond and editor Sarah Grey.

If only the whole world had a language in common, war could be avoided. Thatʼs what LL Zamenhof thought when he developed Esperanto in 1887. Esperanto wasnʼt meant to replace anyoneʼs home language, but it would create a common ground for people from different backgrounds. It would make communication easier and more direct, reducing the need for go-betweens like translators and interpreters.

FREE RESOURCE: In a globalised world, should we retain different Englishes? by Lynne Murphy

Serendipitously, just hours after the CIEP asked me to write about whom, an email landed in my inbox. It included this: ‘Patients whom have already received notification …’.

MEMBER RESOURCE: To whom it may concern, by Jeremy Butterfield

 

The CIEP blog

The CIEP blog aims to provide useful and entertaining articles for anyone interested in editing, proofreading, the English language, starting and managing an editorial business, and publishing more widely.

Whether it’s race, sexuality, gender, disability, religion or faith, socio-economic background or any of the other many ways we describe ourselves, as editors, we are going to come across texts that describe people who don’t share the same backgrounds and experiences as ourselves.

Editing outside your experience, by Nicholas Taylor

 

Editorial judgement calls for an understanding of context, for knowing your stuff when it comes to technical matters (whether that’s the finer points of grammar or the finer points of Word or the finer points of inorganic chemistry, if that’s your niche), for knowing when to press ahead and when to leave well alone, and for knowing what resources you need and how to use them. Each of these skills can also be applied to the way you run your business.

How can we apply editorial judgement to our businesses?, by Sue Littleford

Newsletters

We produce two bi-monthly newsletters: The Edit for members, and Editorial Excellence for anyone who wishes to subscribe. Both highlight new resources and blog posts on a particular topic or theme.

Coming in 2022 …

And there’s more to come … In 2022 we hope to publish guides on developmental editing, legal editing, and corporate and marketing communications. There will be fact sheets on keyboard shortcuts, editing LGBT+ content and medical editing, and focus papers by Laura Summers and other well-known names. No doubt the wise owls will appear more than once on the blog, alongside regular contributors including Sue Littleford and Andy Coulson.

Wrapping up: CIEP resources

Now you know what CIEP resources are available, have a look at the ones that are relevant to you. Don’t forget:

  • You can download free fact sheets and focus papers (and even more if you are a CIEP member).
  • Guides provide handy introductions to the skills and knowledge needed to work as an editorial professional.
  • The CIEP blog is updated with new content regularly.

Which CIEP resource has been most useful to you so far? Which one are you planning to read next? Let us know in the comments. If you don’t already receive our Editorial Excellence newsletter, click on the button below to subscribe.

I’D LIKE THE NEWSLETTER

About the CIEP information team

Liz Dalby, Cathy Tingle, Julia Sandford-Cooke and Harriet Power are the CIEP’s information commissioning editors. If there’s a topic that you think could be covered in a blog post, fact sheet, focus paper or guide, drop the team a line at infoteam@ciep.uk.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: man reading by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

CIEP social media round-up: December 2021 and January 2022

In our review of December 2021 and January 2022 we’re focusing on our friends and followers, as their feedback and chat was particularly entertaining during these two months. We gave something back to them, too, with a festive offer of a stonking 30% discount on CIEP courses.

In this follower-focused round-up:

  • Cantankerous creatures, plus coffee and cheese
  • Negotiating new words
  • Course enrolment stampede
  • Newsletters and new blogs
  • Gems from the archive
  • New year, new theories
  • Chatting among yourselves
  • Laughing at words
  • Signs of the times

Cantankerous creatures, plus coffee and cheese

There was a wide range of fun content to share in early December, from words to describe being irritable (illustrated with excellent photos of domestic creatures, wildlife and small children looking annoyed) to the question of whether the way you write runs in your family. ‘I think there is something to this’, replied an author on Twitter, whose son ‘writes in a very similar style but on completely different subject matter’. It was great to hear this view from a real-life writer in the absence of the Brontës, the Amises, and AS Byatt and Margaret Drabble to tell us what was what.

On 8 December we got our friends and followers to imagine what would happen if they knocked over their morning coffee as they leant over to consult their copy of Butcher’s Copy-Editing. With the spillage could they, like artist Giulia Bernardelli, create a picture of Botticelli’s Venus or the Eiffel Tower? One follower responded that they would more likely rescue their copy of the book (it’s not cheap), and another added: ‘Stuff the coffee – save Butcher’s and the computer!’ Over on Facebook, another editorial professional looked at a coffee-stained image of Madrid and commented ruefully, ‘Actually, my copy of Butcher’s is starting to look a bit like that …’

By 10 December we were turning our attention to the upcoming holiday season. We posted a @twisteddoodles cartoon entitled ‘Christmas food shopping’, with two excited-looking people in a supermarket having a conversation: ‘Instead of cheese let’s buy the “fancy cheese”.’ ‘Let’s buy a lot of cheese for no good reason.’ This certainly brought a lot of cheese lovers out of the, er, cupboard? Fridge? One follower confessed, ‘I have been told not to buy “too much cheese” on Christmases past. But can there be too much cheese?’ The responses came: ‘never!’ and ‘no, there can never be too much’. That’s that settled, then.

Negotiating new words

Sometimes our postings on new words and new definitions of existing words don’t cause too much of a stir, as with ‘A little birdie told us that it’s time for the OED December 2021 update’. This quarterly update included 750 new entries, ‘and almost as many fully revised entries’, with an emphasis on the bird kingdom. As ever, hats off to the OED team who try to cram in as many references to their new entries as possible in these updates.

However, not a week later, Cambridge Dictionary’s new words for 20 December 2021 were released. They included ‘resimercial’: ‘A resimercial office combines elements of “residential” and “commercial”, with comfortable furniture and design that makes it look more like a room in a home.’ We canvassed opinions: ‘We’re not sure we have the stomach for “resimercial”. What do you think?’ One response came in, short, sharp and unequivocal: ‘“Resimercial”? No.’ Oh. Well, luckily it’s not in the dictionary. Yet.

A month later, Cambridge’s new words prompted a similarly decided response. Encountering ‘clean inboxer’, ‘someone who reads and takes action on every email they receive when they receive it, so that there are never any unread emails in their inbox’, we wondered who these people could possibly be, and tentatively asked, ‘Are there any clean inboxers out there?’ Our call was answered by a single person, on Twitter, who offered a brief ‘Yes, big time.’ There’s someone who gets to the point, which probably explains the excellent standard of their email hygiene.

Course enrolment stampede

During December we launched a festive offer. We thought 30% off CIEP courses would rouse some interest, but even we hadn’t anticipated the massive response. During the week of the campaign in December we sold 470 courses, with many people buying more than one to set up their CPD for the year ahead. Enjoy all that learning, you editing and proofreading boffins!

In January we launched the CIEP Exercise Bank, to give editors and proofreaders real-life practice and confidence. Annie Deakins, who tested and proofread the bank, blogged about it for us.

Newsletters and new blogs

Did you know that all of our social media accounts have the sign-up details for Editorial Excellence, our external newsletter, pinned to the top of the page? When you join you get a welcome email pointing you to the newsletter archive so you don’t have to wait for the next edition.

Editorial Excellence, and our member newsletter The Edit, are full of the latest blogs by our members and friends, and some classics from the archive. There was an abundance of new blog posts in December and January, including: ‘Good communication is accessible’ by Sue Littleford; ‘What’s your favourite phrase or saying?’ by the CIEP wise owls; ‘The CPD in the work we do’ by Abi Saffrey; ‘Curiosity or destiny? The different routes to the CIEP’ by Alex Mackenzie; ‘Context is everything: How learning a new language shed light on my editing practice’ by Julia Sandford-Cooke; and a blog by Katherine Kirk about Jennifer Glossop’s top-ten etiquette tips for editors, shared recently with the Toronto CIEP group.

 

Gems from the archive

We reposted some great classic content in December and January. Blogs included pieces from Robin Black on why a professional editorial website encourages clients to pay professional fees; Luke Finley and Laura Ripper on plain English; and Kia Thomas on scammy and cautious editors. On which note, we reminded members of our fact sheet ‘Negotiating business contracts’, which helps you understand contract provisions and ways to negotiate the best possible outcome. CIEP members shared on video why CPD is important, and we reminded people about the CIEP Directory where top-notch editorial professionals in all specialisms can be found. We also promoted our popular course Word for Practical Editing, plus old quizzes and new. If you’ve missed any of the fun CIEP quizzes, you can find them on our website.

New year, new theories

In January our followers were back from their break refreshed and in the mood to respond to the latest scientific ideas on language. In ‘Our emotions and identity can affect how we use grammar’, Professor Veena D. Dwivedi explained how ‘emotional context affects how we understand and use language at the neural level’. Our LinkedIn followers were completely there for it: ‘I agree. Language usage, including grammar, has everything to do with social identity. Fantastic article!’ ‘Totally connect with this idea!’

A couple of weeks later we posted an article suggesting that dogs can detect differences between languages, which again drew interest and comments. ‘Fascinating!’ declared our followers, and one remarked: ‘This is true of cats too. Our cat responds to commands from me in English and my partner in Spanish. (Though being a cat, only when she feels like it!)’

Chatting among yourselves

Burns Night on 25 January was an occasion for a good old chit-chat. Immediately we posted an article from The Scotsman, Facebook responses went wild: ‘Lang may yer lum reek!’ (translation: ‘Long may your chimney smoke’); ‘It was always a big deal in my family!’; and, in response to a direct tag and question, ‘are you celebrating tonight?’, one follower responded: ‘OMG! I forgot! I usually have a gathering to read Burns’s poetry with haggis, neeps and tatties, sausages for the faint of heart. Thank you for the reminder. Must get shopping.’ We hope you got the Burns Night you’d planned. Or hadn’t planned, in fact.

Laughing at words

In the social media team we like to make people laugh, and often the content just goes ahead and does our job for us. This was the case with an article by Susie Dent, ‘From respair to cacklefart – the joy of reclaiming long-lost positive words’. A follower on LinkedIn testified, admirably using many of the words from the piece, ‘This article made me LAUGH OUT LOUD … I had to wipe the tears from my eyes with my snottinger, decided to stop being so crumpsy, and am making plans to visit my grandkids to feel some gigil. Words are so much fun.’

We got a great response with other long-lost words in Merriam-Webster’s list of polite words for impolite people, as followers and friends recalled their mums or grandmas calling them ‘flibbertigibbets’. Finally, apt for January, we posted Dictionary.com’s list of contronyms – words that have two opposite meanings – like cleave (to separate and also to adhere closely) and overlook (to not notice and also to supervise). LinkedIn followers responded: ‘I had a good laugh this morning over some of these’ and ‘Love this. I now know things that I didn’t realise I knew before.’

Signs of the times

This time last year most of us had never uttered the word ‘omicron’, which might explain the trickiness of the word the first few times we did say it in November and December 2021. We posted a couple of articles exploring how to pronounce it and why it was so difficult. In terms of the latter, it was partly because we are so used to words that start with ‘omni’.

And then, charmingly, the wordle, sorry, the world divided into those who know and love the word game Wordle, and those who don’t. An 11 January article giving some linguistics-based Wordle tips from David Shariatmadari provided some of our followers with the opportunity to express their love for the game, from ‘I am hooked’ to ‘I LOVE Wordle … I love the way it makes you think about how words are built’. But then in response to another Wordle article later in the month, another follower confessed, ‘I still have no idea what a wordle is …’ and got a ‘me neither’ in response.

On 14 January, content creator and marketer Emily Coleman (@editoremilye) commented on Twitter, ‘Wordle is the sourdough starter of Omicron.’ At the time of writing, that tweet has attracted 90K likes, 8,213 retweets and 983 quote tweets, most of which, it seems, said something like ‘What would your 2019/2020/summer 2021 self have made of this sentence?’ And that’s the inexorable march of language, friends. Who knows what new, old-but-obscure or just obscure words we’ll all be casually using by the end of 2022? In the meantime, keep your words coming, by commenting and chatting on our social media platforms. We love to hear from you.


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About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

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Photo credit: coffee by Jason Villanueva from Pexels.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

Forum matters: Efficacious, efficient, efficiently

This feature comes from the band of CIEP members who volunteer as forum moderators. You will only be able to access links to posts if you’re a forum user and logged in. Find out how to register.

We’re all on the lookout for ways to extend our skills and increase our income by working more quickly – and many members are happy to share their experiences on the forums.

Type ‘efficient’ into the forum search function and you get umpteen results, containing hundreds of posts. Try it! It’s a great example of how the CIEP forums offer editorial professionals an indispensable source of practical ideas, sound advice and general support on almost any topic.

Training pays dividends

The search found links to the Efficient Editing course. CIEP courses help you to develop good practices, to increase your knowledge and to improve your expertise. All this development helps you work more efficiently and more quickly, and your hourly earnings should go up. Did you know that if you can drum up the numbers then you can run a CIEP course just for your local group? One effect of the lockdown is that the CIEP is now running some of these courses, including Efficient Editing, via webinar.

Making the most of technology

Local groups – including the Cloud Clubs – often talk ‘efficient’ and share the benefits of specific macros or apps. Efficiency is also a big topic on SfEPLine, which is the best forum in which to discuss technological and practical approaches to some of the more mechanical aspects of proofreading in particular. Checking references is one such time-consuming task, and among the recommendations are Edifix and Recite, with much lamentation over the demise of ReferenceChecker. But contributors also share good suggestions for using more hands-on approaches to managing references, such as the ideal number of passes or the breakdown into single tasks (eg are all the full stops there/not there at the end of the line?). The consensus is that much depends on how your brain works and that therefore there is no ‘right answer’ – the most efficient approach is the one that works for you (the search term ‘references’ brings up over 1,300 posts).

Among the software recommended by forum members for improving editing efficiency are PerfectIt, the Editor’s Toolkit, ProWritingAid and text expanders. But they all come with the caveat that you do need to know what you are doing, or you could end up introducing many more errors – very inefficient, if not downright incompetent.

In praise of manuals

The world isn’t entirely technical, though, and manuals and dictionaries (hard copy and online) still have a role to play in upping your efficiency. Style manuals get a thumbs-up, particularly the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), although the first step is to get to grips with their highly organised layout so that you can find what you need without spending hours searching.

A false dawn?

Another hotbed of discussion is the impact on academic editing of project management companies. These sold themselves to publishers on the ‘efficiency equals cheapness’ premise by using pre-editing software that is supposed to give the copyeditor a head start by creating a manuscript that is consistent and formatted. They assume that the copyeditor will therefore need to spend less time editing, hence the job will be cheaper. The trouble is that algorithms aren’t (yet) language speakers, so copyeditors still need to check for sense and context. What has been sold as a time-efficient system can lead to increasing the work. Sometimes the manuscript can only be worked on using a project management company’s own software – and this sort of bespoke software may not work with a copyeditor’s treasured macros, which has the reverse effect on efficiency. There are a number of recent, and less recent, threads on working with project management companies.

Use your styles

A properly formatted manuscript is a diamond and indicates a skilful, professional producer. Too many writers don’t understand the impact of direct formatting on how the copy transfers from original manuscript to finished publication (direct formatting is, for example, when you turn a single word italic or bold using the symbols on the home page, or go through the laborious process of creating spacing with double paragraph returns or using tabs for indentations). Setting up and using properly defined styles benefits the whole production line – see ‘Losing italics from Word to PDF’. By stripping out direct formatting and applying correct styles, you are also increasing the typesetter’s efficiency.

Managing time, maintaining health

Social media is a cunning efficiency interrupter, and members are keen to share ways of avoiding information overload. This often comes down to time management, beginning with the simple task of spending the first few minutes of your day writing out a simple to-do list (and then sticking to it), to allocating specific time slots for looking at your social media, to signing up to time-tracking software or software that interrupts you every so often and tells you to move! One thread on ‘Difficulty concentrating’ drew out so many fantastic ideas on how to refresh your brain that it would be impossible to summarise them here.

Time to end with the oft-repeated mantra that it’s essential to maintain your health and wellbeing – and no amount of efficiency gain is worth compromising those (thanks, Sue Browning):

Last but by no means least, I find taking time to get some exercise, preferably in the fresh air, pays dividends in focus and productivity. Even when time is tight, a few minutes throwing a ball for the dog in the garden can refresh me for the next stint of work.


Photo credits: This must be the place – Tim Mossholder; dawn – M Mitchell; dog – Afra Ramió, all on Unsplash

Proofread by Mike Smith, Intermediate Member.
Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.