What Editors Want. (Time Machines, Genius Talent and Awesomeness.)

In Vancouver, New York and Zurich, they have Creative Mornings, a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types who can get up early.

In Whistler, we’ve got The Point.

It’s a slightly less hi-fi version of the urban hipster creative klatches. But well worth putting on your radar, if only because the old Youth Hostel venue on Alta Lake might truly be one of the most [vocabulary falls short] spots in Whistler. [Genuine? Original? Stirling? Precious? Un-bogus? Spec-freakin-tacular?]

Take their pencils away and writers resort to speaking with their hands. Photo by Stephen Vogler


At least, that was the verdict from a gang of local writers and editors, who moved tables and chairs onto the dock for Thursday night’s Freelance Writers Symposium.

“The panel”, magazine editors Feet Banks (Mountain Life), Mike Berard (Coast Mountain Culture), Adam Levitt (SBC Wakeboard) and Kate MacLennan (BC Business) gave no-holds-barred insights on what editors want.

Here’s an unofficial post-mortem of the top 10 insights, scribbled down in between moderating duties and laughing my ass off.

Life as an Editor

1. As an editor, I just can’t get enough… “time to fix up your shit,” says Feet Banks. So, make your deadlines.  “I can always fake your shitty talent, but I can’t go back in time.”

2. Brutal truth? Grammar and punctuation aren’t as important as creative thought. “I can make your writing better. It’s harder to think of a good idea,” says Adam Levitt, SBC Wakeboard’s one-man-writing-editing-blogging-photographing-show.

How to Get Your Big Break

3. Put yourself out there. Make your own opportunities. Make friends with wordpress. Better, yet, learn to code. Then you’ll never be out of work.

4. Know what makes a pitch. That would be an insight. A fresh angle. A story. A hook. A reason to care.

This is an example of a non-pitch:

“I’ve got an idea for an article. Crankworx.”


5. Know what kind of writer you are and play to your strengths.

6. Be Google-able. (See #3.)

How to Stay Off the Black List

7. “Learn the difference between there, they’re and their.” ~ Feet Banks

How to Get on The Gold List

8. “Packaging is everything,” says Kate MacLennan.  Send a pitch with sidebar ideas, suggested pull-quotes or a vision for the image, and you’re gold. And PS, write your own headline. “It drives me crazy when writers don’t even try to put in a headline. Yes, headlines are hard.” (Adds Berard: Headlines are mostly what we get in fistfights about at CMC.) “But at least try.”

9. Every magazine today needs more… “intelligence” “air-brushed naked chicks” “features” “illustrations.”

10. “The only rule: make everything awesome all the time.” ~Mike Berard

The Bonus Round: Advice for PR Peeps

Never call an editor. Email, email, email.

“Unless I’ve seen you naked, don’t call.” Feet Banks

Thanks to The Pointman, Stephen Vogler, for the hospitality, ketchup chips and for all the work you’re doing to incubate and house Whistler’s creative mojo.

The Symposium was the brain child of Stephen Vogler and Feet Banks and kicks off a summer of juicy culture events taking place at the Point. You could call them Creative Lazy Saturday Afternoons, a much more Whistler-esque approach to creative networking.

Workshops are also kicking off this week on Tuesdays (improv theatre sports) and Thursdays (kick-starting your creative writing).

Support them. It’s a magical place to hang out. (If we don’t, the muni will abandon the pilot project. Who knows what could happen to the space. It’s not as if there’s an abundance of opportunities or FREE spaces for creative people to get together in Whistler, make stuff, soak in million dollar views and jam.)

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Stephen Vogler says:

    Nicely summed up Lisa!

  2. Kristen Wint says:

    Thanks for the top 10, Lisa. Gonna try to make the next one.

  3. Don’t know who makes me laugh more, Feet Banks for saying it or Lisa Richardson for quoting it: “Unless I’ve seen you naked, don’t call.” Feet Banks

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