It all started when I won the spelling award in grade two...Perhaps I don't need to go back that far, but I have had a love for words, books, and science my whole life.

Many things happened since the second grade. I went on to study neuroscience and biology at The University of Toronto. I then worked in research at The Wellesley Hospital and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto for a number of years. After my children were born, I worked as a freelance writer in mostly the health and science fields. I then decided to immerse myself in the study of books and did certification programs in Publishing and Library Studies concurrently. I then went on to postgraduate work through Boston University in health communication.

Now I am a freelance editor based in Toronto. I edit what I read — everything — but my specialty is medical and scientific editing. I have copy edited hundreds of medical and scientific journal articles for both authors before submission and journals before publication. I regularly edit for a number of journals and have experience editing textbooks, dissertations, clinical practice guidelines, medical testing reports, books on health and nutrition, and magazine articles. Contact me for a list of editing projects that I have worked on.

I also have a passion for children's literature. I have edited, copy edited, and/or done the page design for a number of children's books and novels for young adults. I have also volunteered in local school libraries. I have chaired book fairs, organized author talks, coordinated a Reading Buddies outreach program, and designed a project using QR codes on library books and linking them to student video reviews (check out The Canadian Children's Book Centre if you also love children's books). I also had the pleasure of being a judge and chair for the Toronto Book Awards (2010–2012).

Characteristics you want in an editor

Editing is both a science and an art. It is a combination of training, experience, and natural ability. You should be comfortable with your editor and confident in her decisions. The following are characteristics that all good editors should have (and qualities I think I can bring to your project):

From Editors Canada

1. Broad knowledge base

A good editor has both wide-ranging and specialized knowledge to be able to pick up factual errors. She has to be a bit of a Renaissance person — and she is usually a really good Trivial Pursuit player.

 

2. Meticulous

A good editor has an almost infinite capacity for detail. She requires a great sense of quality and possesses high standards of accuracy. She questions everything and applies a critical eye to the tiniest detail in order to recognize patterns and locate inconsistencies. You could use the word obsessive, but I prefer meticulous.

 

3. Loves language

Not only must a good editor love the written word, but she must also have flawless knowledge of grammar and style. Or at least be able to look it up if she is not sure. She is often a bit of a grammar guerilla: tiny mistakes in the newspaper seem to immediately jump off the page. She has an appreciation for the Oxford comma and knows that despite what we were taught in school, it is not a mortal sin to leave a participle dangling. She also knows that when the right words are put together properly, they can be as beautiful as a work of art.

 

4. Diplomatic

Telling an author that there is a major problem with the manuscript that they have devoted months or years of their life to creating is like telling a mother that her child is funny looking. Tact is vital. So is humility. A good editor acts as a coach to her writers. She is able to be encouraging while still pointing out the areas that need correction.

 

5. Able to meet deadlines

Publishing is rife with deadlines. If you are late in one stage of the process, it causes a chain reaction everywhere else down the line. A good editor has to be able to estimate timelines and meet deadlines. She also needs to be flexible because there is an inevitable bump in the road with almost every project.

 

Reference material I use

Editors collect and cherish their dictionaries and style guides! The ones that I use for a specific project are either requested by the client or are chosen based on the intended audience.

  • Style Guides

    Style guides provide guidelines on such topics as use of hyphens, captilization, and reference format. Some of the books I use are: The Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition, AMA Manual of Style 10th edition, Scientific Style and Format 7th edition, Editing Canadian English 2nd edition, The Copyeditor's Handbook, The Canadian Press Stylebook with CP Caps and Spelling, MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing 3rd edition, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association 6th edition.
  • Dictionaries

    (Canadian) Oxford Canadian Dictionary or Gage Canadian Dictionary; (American) Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary; (British) Concise Oxford Dictionary; Stedman's Medical Dictionary.
  • Grammar, Punctuation, and Usage

    Here are some of my favourites: Grammatically Correct: The Writer's Essential Guide to Punctuation, Spelling, Style, Usage and Grammar; The Handbook of Good English; Miss Thistlebottom's Hobgoblins: The Careful Writer's Guide to the Taboos, Bugbears and Outmoded Rules of English Usage.