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Out-to-Lunch Sessions - not to be missed!
The Centre for the Book continues with its mission to provide information to authors. This happens in different ways such as workshops, consultations, conferences, book discussions and also our popular Out-to-Lunch sessions.
Why do I need an editor? - Cape Town
Another exciting Out-to-Lunch session took place on 30 April 2014 at the CFB. The topic was ‘Why do I need an editor?’ directed by Ms Nelisa Lunika. The attendees were welcomed by Mr Mandla Matyumza who emphasized the importance of editing. Ms Brenda Burgess, director of ‘Write Away’, and also a reviewer and editor, presented the session. She conducts writers' workshops in Durbanville and is studying at Unisa towards a BA degree in Languages and Literature. She has edited and published books and magazines and has also contributed articles to magazines.

Ms Burgess’s presentation covered the following:
  • Why writers need editors: She encouraged writers to read through their manuscripts at least four times before they contact freelance editors as it was impossible for writers to spot all their own mistakes.
  • What editors do: Editors check story issues/structure/characters/point of view/facts/tenses. The editor reads the manuscript with a 'clean eye' and suggested improvements in plot or characterisation while maintaining the integrity of the writer's work.
  • Deadly dictionary: She said that a dictionary can be a great help, but could also cause a lot of trouble. A writer might find a word that seems to be the translation of the one he is looking for, but either the word might have fallen out of normal use, or could it be off the mark.
  • Self edit: She believes that ‘reading your manuscript four times is not too much’. She further suggested that writers also gave their manuscripts to their friends and relatives for their honest opinions.
She wrapped up by highlighting the aspects that editors check e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation, word usage, plot resolution, plot problems, consistency in tone, style, word choices, point of view and pacing. The session was kept alive by robust discussions as a result of the interesting questions raised by the attendees.
Why do I need an editor? - Pretoria
On 28 May 2014 an Out-to-Lunch session on the same topic, 'Why do I need an editor?', was held at the NLSA Pretoria campus. This time the presentation was done by Mr Samuel Mphahlele Mathe, a journalist, writer and publisher. He worked for different newspapers and magazines as a contributing editor, entertainment writer, copy editor, specialist writer and sub-editor. He is also a co-author of 'South Africa's Greatest Entrepreneur' (2010) published by MME Media and 'Brenda Fassie: I am not your Weekend Special' (2014) by Picador Africa. Mathe is also an author of 'From Kippie to Kippies: Portraits of South African Jazz Heroes'. He is currently an editor and a publisher ofJazz Life Magazine based in Johannesburg. Although Mathe's career is focused on newspapers, magazines and journals, he has been editing fiction as well.

The Out-to-Lunch session was directed by Community Publishing Programme (CPP) Coordinator, Ms Nelisa Lunika. The session was attended by established writers and potential writers. Mr Andrew Malotle welcomed all the attendees and encouraged them to participate and share their views and experiences.

Mr Mathe discussed the serious problem of spelling and punctuation errors, saying that these errors disrupted readers. He cited the use of wrong words such as 'loose' and 'lose'. He also emphasized fact checking by the editors to ensure authenticity of content. He appealed to writers not to pass drafts to be considered for publishing as completed work and encouraging them to review and revise until they were completely satisfied. 'Editing your own work' was strongly emphasized.

The session was closed with indepth discussions about editing skills. The attendees recommended the formation of the budding and potential writers forum, to share and discuss the difficulties they encounter while writing.

Please contact Ms Nelisa Lunika for information about upcoming Out-to-Lunch sessions.

Click here to view photos.

Nelisa Lunika, Centre for the Book



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