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We are more than half way through November and I have not written a blog post. Life goes on as usual: Mondays and Tuesdays I teach dance. W...

About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops. Book two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

Inner Peace Blog
Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

Fabulous Blog Award

Fabulous Blog Award
Awarded by Kathryn Warner. Click on the pic to check out her Edward II blog!

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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Once I thought I'd like to be an editor

Here's another post recycled from my old WordPress blog.

As I wrote the title to this post, I thought it sounded vaguely familiar. Then I remembered a silly little song my father taught me when I was five years old, which began, “Once I thought I’d like to be a cricketer”. I can still remember the words, so just for fun I put them up here.

But this post is not about cricketers, but editors. How does one become an editor?

I suppose it’s not unlike the way one becomes a cricketer or anything else: you watch other people doing it, then maybe you get someone to teach you a few things, and from then on its practice, practice, practice. That’s certainly the way I learnt, but that was twenty years ago. Things are a bit different now, in that there are tertiary courses devoted to editing and publishing and the Institute of Professional Editors has set up a qualifying examination. But a lot of people, even today, just fall into it, as I did.

I was at Edith Cowan University and had just started to write for Music Maker Magazine, in which I had my own column. Fellow students, therefore, thought I might be some kind of expert and they would often ask me to check their work for spelling and grammatical errors before they passed it in. I soon realised I was, in fact, not bad at copyediting. After all, I come from a generation that had the Rules drummed into them from an early age. It horrified me a bit to realise that in my French classes there were young people fresh out of school who literally did not know a noun from a verb. The lecturer was in despair. ‘How can I teach them French grammar,’ she asked, ‘when they don’t even know the rules in English?’ I sympathised completely, and I felt sorry for the students, who had never had chance to learn the beautiful intricacies of our language.

If our own young people cannot understand English grammar, what hope does a foreigner have? So when a few years later a student from Nepal asked me to help him learn to speak and write better English, I was happy to help. Jaganath (who has since become a friend) somehow persuaded his university that they should pay for his English lessons. The university responded by sending me more students, and it didn’t take me long to realise that they didn’t want conversation practice nearly as much as they wanted help with their assignments.

In some countries, styles of writing differ considerably from the linear point-to-point-to-conclusion logic that we are used to in English. Rather, scholars there prefer a rather more circuitous approach. This difference puzzles a lot of students for whom English is not their mother tongue.

What’s more, academic English, especially in the sciences, still prefers a formal style with a preponderance of Latinate words rather than plain Saxon-based ones. Formal written English is almost a different language. Naturally, lot of students, not all of them foreign, find this really confusing. Formal English uses Latinate words for historical reasons – after the Norman invasion of 1066, the ruling classes, who made and enforced the laws, for several centuries did not speak the same language as the predominately Anglo-Celtic people they had conquered. When I explain this to students it’s a joy to see comprehension dawn in their eyes, and some of them get the hang of the different “feel” of the two forms of English very quickly.

And so it was that I fell into editing quite by chance. As more and more students were awarded their degrees, so my confidence grew. By this time I had become interested in writing fiction, and other writers would ask me to critique their work. At first, I would only copyedit their offerings, but here, too, I gradually became bolder and more confident and as my expertise grew I took on more and more complex editing jobs and felt I could charge a reasonable fee for my work.

If you feel drawn to editing and would like to learn more, find your state’s society of editors (There’s a list on the Society of Editors WA website.) If you live outside Australia, try an internet search for society+editors+Antarctica, or whatever other country you live in. The internet is full of wonders and you’re sure to turn up something!

Of course, if you’re young enough to want to make this your career, you can enrol in a formal course either in journalism or editing and publishing. But a lot of freelance editors are older people like me, who learnt formal English in school and who may have some journalistic or teaching experience; who have read widely and taken appropriate workshops when they’ve had the opportunity, and who are willing to go on learning.

There’s room for all kinds of editors. Few freelancers make a full living from their editing activities, but that’s not a bad thing. Many people today depend on a portfolio of skills for their livelihood . If you love language and enjoy helping people, why not make editing one of yours?

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