Island Editor: December 2017

In this bulletin:

Mark your calendar 

  • December 13, 2017:
    PEAVI Christmas Party 
    at Fran Aitkens's lovely home: 
    2023 Meadow Pl, Victoria.
  • January 24, 2018: Member meeting

Member meeting location: Community Room, Greater Victoria Public Library, 735 Broughton Street (between Douglas and Blanshard).  FREE PARKING in the parkade underneath GVPL 

Next meeting — Annual Christmas party

Date: December 13, 2017
Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
Place: 2023 Meadow Pl, Victoria. 

The annual PEAVI Christmas party for editors and friends is a highlight of the year, a not-to-be-missed event. The party is at Fran Aitkens' lovely home. Fran provides a meat chili and vegetarian chili, plus a non-alcoholic punch. PEAVI provides a splash of wine. Bring food to share: a salad, some finger foods, a dessert. Bring a wrapped gift for our fun gift exchange: a new item from $5 to $10 or a re-gifted item.
  • To join fellow PEAVI-ites simply click the button below and fill out the poll.
  • Let us know if you have difficulty with stairs.
  • More than one coming? Submit the poll a 2nd time. 
Christmas party RSVP

Saturday morning gatherings

Come down to Ogden Point and join our Saturday coffee get-to-know-you sessions!

Who: PEAVI members and those thinking about becoming members.
Where: Breakwater Cafe
When: Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. 
Why: Delicious breakfasts, the best views in town, and excellent company.

Coming? Need a ride? Contact

Member news

New member
Welcome to new member Marianne Sorensen. We look forward to meeting you at one of the monthly member meetings.

Your news
Rowena Rae usually edits and writes non-fiction materials for adult readers, but over the past few years, she’s been involved in writing and publishing a children’s fiction book. She teamed up with her sister, Elspeth, a teacher of kids with dyslexia and other learning challenges, and together they wrote a book of short stories specifically for kids who are learning to read at ages 6-9. The book uses a shared reading approach to give these kids a chance to read stories at a low reading level but a high interest level.

Rowena and Elspeth worked with several editors, an illustrator and book designer, and other publishing professionals to produce and self-publish A Duck in a Sock: Four Phonics Stories, which is Book 1 in the Meg and Greg series. The book was launched in November.
As an editor, Rowena learned a great deal about being on the other end of the manuscript, and she now thinks that every editor should experience having something they’ve written—and that’s near and dear to their heart—professionally edited. PEAVI members who critiqued, edited, or proofread part or all of the book are Veronica Knox, Lenore Hietkamp, and Trevor McMonagle. If you’re curious about the book or want to find out where to get a copy, please go to

Do you have a story to share about an interesting project or a new job? Has a book you edited recently been published? We'd love to hear your editing news

Profile series: PEAVI's founding members

Two years ago PEAVI celebrated its twentieth anniversary, and last month Island Editor began a series of profiles featuring the founding members. This second profile provides a fascinating window into Georgina Montgomery's long and successful editing career, which will come to an end when Georgina retires in a few weeks.

Georgina Montgomery

You joined PEAVI when?

In its getting-started days. Jean Layland, in last month’s newsletter, puts the time at 1995 in her living room. I wasn’t at that gathering, but attended earlier meetings at others’ homes when the notion of an Island professional organization, separate from the national association, was hatched. 

Why did you want to join a professional organization?
I was already a member of the Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC; now Editors Canada) and often went to Vancouver to attend the BC branch’s workshops. Although I was also fairly well established as an editor by 1995, I knew I needed as much professional development as I could get. The prospect of being part of a new group based in Victoria, where we could indulge in shop-talk, learning, and mutual support, was very appealing. I was living on Pender Island at the time (1990–2001), which made staying professionally connected more important to me than ever.
How did you and editing come together in the first place?
Circuitously, a common tale for many editors, especially those of us who began before post-secondary editing programs and certification arrived on the scene.

I was always drawn to writing, and through school loved learning the “rules” of the English language. However, editing as a field of study never occurred to me. At university, first in Montreal and then Victoria, I looked to planning as a career. 
Only after two co-op terms in planning offices (in Victoria and Ottawa) and a year as a consultant to several management firms (including Lavalin and what is now Stevenson Kellogg) did I start to wonder whether I was in the right line of work for me. I might have plugged on had a six-month travel diversion, followed by a return to Canada in economic recession, not intervened. Newly emboldened by great adventures, yet also newly unable to pick up consulting work, I turned to freelance writing. The pay was pathetic, but chasing down small assignments taught me to hustle and to think of myself as a small business. Thankfully, I also landed a job at Munro’s Books to supplement my income.

Three months along in that chapter, a friend came into the store one day to seek me out. He managed the research publications section at the Ministry of Forests and knew of my interest in subject-verb agreement, spelling, and punctuation. He was looking for someone to review and edit several series of reports and bulletins that the Research Branch was putting out at the time. Would I consider being that someone—creating style guides to improve the quality of the publications, and editing every manuscript? 

If ever there was a case of “what you seek is seeking you,” that was it. Editing found me and I never looked back.

But how did you actually learn to edit?
I read everything I could get my hands on related to grammar, usage, and style, for writers as well as for editors. I built up a reference library (yes, kids, this was the pre-internet, pre-Google days). I combed through publications in the sciences, and coffee-stained every page of my Council of Biology Editors Style Manual. I met with scads of forest research people—biologists, ecologists, soil scientists, silviculture technicians, statisticians, and more—to hear what they had to say about the quality of what they read and the challenges of what they wrote. I joined EAC and went to as many workshops as I could. Soon, I was finding other EAC members in Victoria. And then came PEAVI, adding a whole other level of enrichment. 

After a few years and an expanded client base, I was asked to start teaching in-house editing and writing workshops. That’s when my learning was really put to the test.

What are some highlights of your time editing?
Being invited to join West Coast Editorial Associates  (WCEA). Meeting so many interesting clients and colleagues. Being able to work from home without any professional disadvantage for pretty much my entire career—including from locations well outside Victoria. Receiving the Tom Fairley Award from EAC for my work on an autobiography, Raffi: The Life of a Children’s Troubadour. Being part of a few big, multi-year projects, such as development of the Forest Practices Code of BC. Getting to travel much of BC while giving writing and editing workshops. Getting to work with some clients onsite in other parts of Canada. (Of those trips, my visit to Inuvik stands out, not least because I narrowly escaped from a fully engulfed tent fire on the Mackenzie Delta. Turns out that paper cuts aren’t necessarily the greatest on-the-job hazard for editors.)

Where are you now in your career?
As it happens, at the close. I’m taking the sign down on December 31. I’ve loved this run in every aspect, but it’s time for some new pursuits.

This photo is taken from my empty office in our house in Cowichan Station, after we sold in June 2016 to move back to Victoria. The doors closed, doors open part of this stuck with me. Felt symbolic then, and does even more now as I prepare to exit my editing life.

What do you think makes a good editor?
Knowing grammar, usage, and style conventions is unquestionably important, as is having a mind for detail. But being a good editor involves a lot more than that. There’s always a context, a bigger picture, to think about. Who’s the intended reader? What, at a minimum, does the client/writer want to get across to that reader? And what will it take to make that connection work? 

So much of the editor’s job is essentially about being a perceptive interpreter and an astute, sensitive translator. Delivering work on time and on budget is a definite plus, too.

Any suggestions for editors just getting started?
There are the obvious things: check out workshops, courses, and webinars; join PEAVI and Editors Canada and volunteer in whatever capacity you can manage; subscribe to online editing resources; go to conferences. 

But the best advice I can think of for anyone setting out in editing now: pursue certification through Editors Canada. Preparing for the tests will hone your skills, and earning the certification will give you an important credential. No, CPE (certified professional editor) behind your name won’t guarantee that you’ll land editing contracts or positions, but it’s rapidly becoming an edge—a highly regarded standard akin to those in other professions.

Congratulations, Georgina, on your achievements as an editor, and best wishes for a happy and fulfilling retirement.
Island Editor

Thank you, Lenore Hietkamp for the idea for this profile series and Jean Layland for coordinating.

Volunteer corner

Book reviewer 
Love to read?  We would like to include a monthly book review in Island Editor, so if you would like to review a book you recently read or are currently reading, let us know.

Christmas idea

for yourself or the editors in your life:

20% off Editing Canadian English 3 and Editorial Niches (print editions) from Discount code: BRRR

Interesting reads

Chris Banner sent a link to this blog post about the guilt associated with editing fiction (although it could apply to other book editing, too). It's an excellent read.
Lenore Hietkamp sent the following:
  • "Becoming an Editor" (YouTube video):
  • "Learn the secret behind three award-winning Canadian books," by Bruce Demara. A story in The Star about the editor of three books that recently won the Giller Prize and Writers’ Trust awards:

On the lighter side

  • Words to add to our vocabularies (or not). Whatever your decision, they're worth perusing! Thanks to Sally Jennings for sending the link:
    "New Words and Slang," Merriam-Webster, The Open Dictionary:
  • NY Times Quiz: Copy Edit This!

Language quote

Confucius is believed to have said, in his discourse on "the rectification of names"
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything..
Thank you, Lenore Hietkamp, for sharing.

Ideas? Content? Feedback?

Do you have content, ideas, or feedback you'd like to share, an idea for a monthly meeting topic or a suggestion for a particular speaker? We're all ears!

Please contact Lynne Graham at

Island Editor is coordinated and compiled by Lynne Graham and copyedited by Dave Henry. PEAVI members provide the content.
Copyright © 2017 Professional Editors Association of Vancouver Island, All rights reserved.

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