Editing for Beginner and Professional Editors

06 Sep 2023
Dr Helen Moffett
06 Sep 2023

 Editing for Beginner and Professional Editors


Date(s): Wednesdays from 4 October to 22 November 18:00 to 20:00 (SAST)
Course fee: Full fee R3 600; Staff and students R2 000; FOSS members R3 240
Booking is through Webtickets

Dr Helen Moffett

This course focuses on editing skills that freelance or in-house editors need as they prepare manuscripts for publication. (It is not geared to authors who would like to edit their own work, although they may well find this course helpful or interesting.)

One way of looking at professional editing is to consider the hard skills, broad skills and soft skills it requires. This course will cover all three.

Hard skills involve detailed, accurate knowledge of the 'correct' use of vocabulary, syntax and idiom in the language in which one is editing. (I'll assume that those who attend this course are editing manuscripts in English, but many of the skills covered apply to editing in any language.) They also include specialist knowledge (such as familiarity with referencing conventions when editing academic essays and monographs), how to use or compile style guides, how to brief an indexer, and much more.

Broad skills include insight into the overarching aspects of editing, and the different forms it takes: development editing, structural editing, copy editing, technical editing. They also include intimate knowledge of the editing/publishing ecosystem, and understanding of the role of others in the book production team.

This series of eight two-hour seminars will cover the following:

  1. What are the different kinds of editing? How do I know which kind is needed, and which is suited to me?
  2. The politics and ethics of editing.
  3. Getting going: how to read and assess a manuscript as a publishing professional.
  4. Ensuring correctness (a lifelong quest); and consistency (the importance of style guides).
  5. Working with a team, both in-house and as a freelancer. Who are the different role-players, and how does the editor interact with them?
  6. The requirements of fiction, including how to edit different genres.
  7. The requirements of non-fiction and academic publications: referencing conventions, converting Masters and PhD theses into published pieces or books.
  8. The trickiest (but most rewarding) part of the job: author management.
Image removed. Bio: Helen Moffett is an experienced editor, author, academic and poet. She has lectured as far afield as Trinidad and Alaska. She has authored, co-authored, or collated over 20 books, ranging from university textbooks to poetry to literary fiction. She has worked in publishing for almost 30 years. In 2016, she was named one of the top ten literary editors and curators from the African continent.

She has been training African writers and academics in writing, editing and self-editing skills since 2000, and for four years, she headed the Short Story Day Africa Editing Mentoring programme, an initiative to identify talent and provide training and support to younger editors working for African publishers and on literary platforms. 

For further information, please email ems@uct.ac.za or phone 021 650 2634 (office).

If no reply, please WhatsApp 060 487 9719 (messages only).