Red Pencil Conferences

Red Pencil conferences are hosted biennially by the Northwest Editors Guild as a learning and networking forum for its members, colleagues, and friends in the editing community. It is the largest conference on the West Coast specifically for editors.

Check back here for information on our next conference once it’s scheduled, and read on to find out more about our past conferences.

Red Pencil: Voice & Voices

Our most recent conference, Red Pencil: Voice & Voices, was held in September of 2019 on the campus of Bastyr University, and featured keynote speaker Viniyanka Prasad, executive director and founder of The Word, A Storytelling Sanctuary—a nonprofit promoting diversity in literature.

For the first time this year the Guild offered a scholarship for the conference, funded partly by donations from members and prioritizing editors connected to communities currently underrepresented in the Northwest Editors Guild, those attending the conference for the first time, and those who would find the cost of registration a significant barrier to attending.

The Guild recognized the contributions of social media volunteer, former board president, and past conference committee leader Jill Walters at the closing ceremony of this event.

Logged-in members can find all the handouts from the 2019 conference, including a few presentations and a couple of other goodies, here.

Highlights

  • Viniyanka Prasad‘s keynote presentation, “The Power to Hear Another’s Truth,” addressed “recognizing the central and essential in stories told from another’s perspective and embracing our capacity to provide structure without redefining.”
  • Macros 101: Work Smarter, Not Harder with Amy J. Schneider.
  • Holding Space: The Importance of Helping African-Americans Heal Through Storytelling, with Christy Abram.
  • Taxes, Licenses, and Banking in Plain English, with Jenny MacLeod.
  • Tweet This, Not That: How to Write and Edit for Social Media, with Alysha Love.
  • Technical Editing for Science and Engineering: The Art of Translating Technical Topics Into Clear Language, with Jennifer Koogler (moderator), Hannah Garrison, Kristen Legg, and Marcy McAuliffe; Mike Maisen (organizer).
  • Retaining the Narrator’s Voice: The Push & Pull of Correct & Respect, with Julie McDonald Zander.
  • Proof Your Health, Performance, and Finances: Wellness for Editors, with K. Aleisha Fetters.
  • Ergonomics, Posture, and Managing Those Workplace Aches & Pains, with Jordan Proudfoot and Lee Welton.
  • Working with Independent Authors, with Tanya Gold.
  • How Many Words in a Picture: Editing Graphic Novels, with Christina Frey.
  • Many Authors, Unified Voices, with Laura Cameron.

View the full 2019 conference brochure for more details about speakers and sessions.

Viniyanka Prasad giving her 2019 keynote presentation. Photo by Betsy Berger.

Red Pencil 6: Tracking Changes in Editing

Red Pencil 6: Tracking Changes in Editing

Held in September of 2017 on the campus of Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, our sixth conference was attended by more than 200 editors, approximately 65 percent of whom were also Guild members, and we welcomed several guests from affiliate editing organizations Editors Canada and Editcetera.

The Guild gave special honors to Beth Chapple for her extraordinary contributions to the Guild and the editing community. Attendees used event hashtag #EdsGuild2017 on social media to record the events of the day. We also introduced our popular mascot, the Giant Pencil!

Highlights

  • Keynote presentation by Karen Yin, writer, editor, and the force behind AP vs. Chicago, a guide for anyone who gives “a dollar sign, ampersand, exclamation point, and pound sign about style,” and Conscious Style Guide, the first website devoted to mindful and inclusive language. A fellow of the Lambda Literary Foundation, Karen is also an award-winning fiction writer as well as a screenwriter and filmmaker.
  • Academic Editing, with Joanie Eppinga.
  • Proofreading 101: Tips, Tools & Advice, with Jennifer Karchmer.
  • Publishing Project Management, with Rebecca Brinbury, Em Gale, Andrea Leigh Ptak, Karen Upson, and Amanda M. Vail.
  • Boost Your Career with a Mastermind Group, with Laura Poole.
  • Ecommerce Editing, with Devon Gualtieri and Mark White.
  • Not Just Superheroes: Editing Graphic Novels as a Medium, Not a Genre, with Kat Kruger, Justin Norman, Amanda M. Vail, Kristy Valenti, and Jen Vaughn.
  • Copyediting Fiction for Traditional Publishers, with Amy Schneider.
  • Editors Canada: Not Just for Canadians! with Wendy Barron and Anne Brennan.
  • Working with Independent Authors: Challenges and Rewards, with Barbara Fuller.
  • Our exciting final session, Introducing Chicago Manual of Style’s New 17th Edition, with Carol Saller, author of The Subversive Copy Editor.
  • Professional headshot mini-sessions were available from Renard Williams of Killa’s Photography. Many of these sessions were purchased ahead of time, but Renard was also able to offer limited walk-up sessions.
  • After the conference proper, our friends at 9 Yards Brewing hosted us from 5:15 to 7:15 for our second biennial conference after-party, with free appetizers and dessert, with additional food and brews available for purchase and word-nerd-riffic door prizes!

View the full 2017 conference brochure to see detailed descriptions of panels and workshops. Logged-in members may also download handouts and presentation files from the conference here.

The Editing for Comics panel at the 2017 Red Pencil Conference
The Editing for Comics panel at the 2017 Red Pencil Conference. Photo by Erin Cusick.

Editing in the 21st Century: Beyond the Red Pencil

Our fifth conference was held in October of 2015 at the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington. Nearly 200 editors from the Pacific Northwest, Canada, California, and other locations ranging from Maryland to Florida, attended the fifth biennial Editors Guild Conference. Approximately 65 percent of attendees were also Guild members, and we welcomed several people from affiliate editing organizations Editors Canada and Editcetera. Attendees used event hashtag #EdsGuild2015 on social media to record the events of the day.

The Guild gave special honors to Andrea Leigh Ptak for her extraordinary contributions to the Guild and the editing community.

Highlights

  • Keynote presentation by Steven PinkerNew York Times best-selling author, linguist, cognitive scientist, and chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. Discussion and book signing from his latest work, Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.
  • From World-Building to Happily-Ever-Afters: Editors Explore Genre Fiction, roundtable session with Beth Jusino, Anne Mini, Christy Karras, David Downing, and Kyra Freestar
  • Client Profile: The Self-Publisher with Katherine Pickett
  • Delivering Difficult Feedback with Jason Black
  • Pricing Strategies for Freelance Editors with Laurie Lewis
  • Roundtable Discussions: Four Kinds of Editing (Academic, Corporate, Developmental, and Games) with Laura Poole, Kathleen Walker, Karalynn Ott, Elisa Mader, and Nancy Burkhalter
  • Additional session topics, including financial planning, typography, ebooks, and project management
  • Creative icebreaker prompts to use during networking time and breaks
  • The Conference Committee, with support from Book Publishers Northwest and Seattle Writer Grrls, hosted its first onsite after-party, complete with appetizers and live music by Seattle cellist Rebecca Evans.

View the full 2015 conference brochure to see detailed descriptions of panels and workshops.

Members Carrie Wicks, Rebecca Brinbury, and Jennifer Hager at the 2015 conference.

Red Pencil in the Woods 2013

Held in October of 2013, on the campus of Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington, the fourth Red Pencil conference was attended by nearly 200 editors from Canada to California. The honoree for extraordinary contributions to the Northwest Editors Guild and the larger editorial community was board vice president Kyra Freestar. More than a third of the Guild’s 306 members attended the conference.

Highlights

  • Keynote address and follow-on session by Bay Area independent editor and publishing insider Alan Rinzler, whose 50-year career in the book business has included editing and publishing the works of Northwest luminary Tom Robbins, Hunter S. Thompson, Toni Morrison, Clive Cussler, and others.
  • Nuances of Editing for a Global Audience, with David B. Schlosser
  • Editing for the (New) Web, with Niquette Kelcher
  • Creating and Maintaining a Sustainable Editing Business, with Beth Jusino and Ina Chang
  • Advanced Line-editing Immersion, with Jason Black
  • Advanced MS Word Editing Tools, with Bill Thorness (handout)
  • Discussion groups featuring experts on collaborative editing (Kyra Freestar and Connie Chaplan), working as a managing editor (Kerrie Maynes), editing for social media (Amanda Vail), editing food writing (Kris Fulsaas), and editing for STEM concepts (David B. Schlosser)
  • Fiction Editing, with Ingrid Emerick and Leslie Miller of Girl Friday Productions
  • IT Help Desk for editors, with Tim Hannon
  • A fun spelling bee, with Randy Hilfman

View the full 2013 conference brochure for more information on speakers and sessions.


Red Pencil in the Woods 2011

Held in late September of 2011, the theme of the Guild’s third biennial conference was “educate, connect, and inspire.” Though most attendees were from the Seattle area, we welcomed editors from as far away as Vancouver, B.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The honoree for extraordinary contributions to the Guild was Anne Moreau, our longtime administrative pooh-bah (2005–10), with recognition also given to Guild co-founder Sherri Schultz.

Highlights

  • Keynote address by Carol Fisher Saller (who headed up the copyediting team for the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style) on “Finding Our Way: Writing and Editing in the New Publishing Landscape”
  • A panel on e-books, with Kate Rogers, Judith Dern, Bob Mayer, and Waverly Fitzgerald
  • Discussion groups featuring Northwest experts on topics from collaborative editing to legal issues for freelancers
  • Twitter for Word Lovers, with Catherine Carr
  • Marketing for Freelancers, with Frank Catalano
  • Technical Editing, with Robin Adair-Marshall, Audree DeAngeles, Karen Kurt Teal, and Tina Loucks-Jaret
  • Self-Publishing, with Mi Ae Lipe and Robyn M Fritz
  • Writing and Editing for Video and Board Games, with Angela Taylor Hylland, Shanon Lyon, and Wynn Rankin
  • Book Proposals, with Kerry Colburn and Jennifer Worick
  • “Subversive Copyediting” with Carol Fisher Saller

View the full 2011 conference brochure for more details on sessions and speakers.

The 2011 conference committee with the conference banner.

Beyond the Red Pencil No. 2

The second biennial conference hosted by the Guild was held in March of 2009 on the campus of North Seattle Community College. Though most attendees were from the Seattle area, we welcomed editors from as far away as Vancouver, B.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area. Of the 124 editors who attended, about half were Guild members. More than a quarter of the Guild’s 220 members attended.

Highlights

  • A keynote address by Sheila Bender, an author, developmental editor, and founder of www.writingitreal.com, a website that focuses on the personal essay. She spoke on the working relationship between editor and writer.
  • The Big Picture: Structural Editing of Longer Manuscripts, with Barbara Sjoholm
  • Taking Control of Microsoft Word, with Hilary Powers
  • When Work Becomes a Pain in the *#$, with Sevak Kroesen, D.C., and Jain Rutherford
  • Back to the Future: Editing for Online vs. Print Publications, with Anne Dujmovic
  • Dealing with Problem Clients, with Michelle Goodman
  • Marking Up the Screen: Acrobat for Editors, by Wendy Katz
  • Rigid Rules vs. Gentle Guidelines: Taming Miss Thistlebottom, by Kim Runciman
  • Two discussion sessions in which editors talked informally with volunteer facilitators:
    • Tooting Your Own Horn,” with subtopics on methods of self-promotion
    • Wearing Many Hats,” with subtopics on different roles editors play
  • An opportunity to meet and network with other editors, look at editors’ materials, participate in a spelling bee, and browse word-related books at the University Book Store’s table.

View the full 2009 conference brochure for details about sessions and speakers.


Beyond the Red Pencil

Our first-ever conference was held in March of 2007 on the campus of North Seattle Community College.

It was attended by 140 editors from cities throughout Washington and Oregon, including Bellingham, Kent, Olympia, Port Townsend, Portland/Vancouver, Redmond, and Seattle. Guild membership numbered 189 at this time.

The Guild’s co-founders, Sherri Schultz and Phyllis Hatfield, were honored with special gifts commemorating the Guild’s 10th anniversary.

Highlights

  • A keynote address on career development by Amy Einsohn, author of The Copyeditor’s Handbook.
  • Workshops by Guild members and other noted editors: Kathy Bradley, Beth Chapple, Kris Fulsaas, Ann Gosch, Phyllis Hatfield, Niquette Kelcher, Rosanna Mattingly, Karalynn Ott, Barbara Sjoholm, Jon Stahl, and Julie Van Pelt.
  • Discussion sessions moderated by experienced editors: Amy Smith Bell, Nancy Burkhalter, Janet Epstein, Waverly Fitzgerald, Brie Gyncild, Susan Hodges, June Ireland, Priscilla Long, Paula Rudberg Lowe, Debby Nagusky, and Andrea Ptak.
  • An opportunity to meet and network with other editors, peruse other editors’ materials at the Editors Showcase, participate in a lunchtime spelling bee, and browse word-related books at the University Book Store’s table.
  • A celebration of the Guild’s tenth anniversary, including a cake in the shape of The Chicago Manual of Style.
  • A closing social hour.

View the full 2007 conference brochure for details about sessions, speakers, and more.