Saturday, May 31, 2008

Galley Stuff

In the last couple weeks, I have had the opportunity to look at the galleys of the magazines in which my stories will be appearing. The experience is a heady one. There are your words, and you didn't have to type them this time, and someone else has formatted and made them look pretty. Of course, it's a little tedious at this point because all you're doing is looking for typos and 'does that comma go there'? I'm pretty sure in one of the stories, the editor added in semi-colons. That kinda threw me, but it looked good so I didn't say anything (of course, I could have done that last minute too, after a while you're just not sure what's yours anymore...)

Now it has me thinking about book galleys and having to read through your whole book for little typo shit. My eyes cross at the thought! At work we get what are called ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) which are basically the same thing that the authors get to proof. It's the pre-final edit before the actual publishing takes place. And sometimes, whoa!, the mistakes that get made in layout.

I have an ARC of Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes. At some point there is a whole scene immediately repeated.

In the ARC of 20 Times a Lady there are multiple, painful misspellings (in one case a 'butt' for 'but'--could be slightly embarrassing).

The good news is that in a professionally formatted piece, the typos almost jump out at you. It's really hard to miss them. The consistancy of the publishing makes the mistakes twice as bad. Mistakes are easy to miss on loose-leaf, self-formatted paper (and one the computer screen).

So, here's to getting it right (hopefully! my eyes are tired).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May is Over, June is In

I didn't really set any goals for April or May. At first I decided that I would pat my back for things I got done and not worry about what I set out to do.

Apparently praise doesn't work for me. I didn't even do a decent blog session this month.

So, back to goal time (and there are a lot now...)
1. 50 pages of revision for FJR
2. finish critiques for the Underground Writers Project (the tentative new name for the Sunday Group)
3. Finish critiqes for the Creek Writer's Council (and while there are only three, there's a lot of paper, lemme tell ya)
4. 10 pages of The Guardian (part of my kids series)
5. and a stretch goal--yeah, because I need stretching with those other slacking goals--is to finish the first chapter of The Guardian for the UGWP.

Off to work on getting some check marks.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rejections are nice, but this is nicer...


My short story, "The Elegance of Things Once Living," has been accepted by Skive Magazine for publication in their June 2008 issue!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Round Story Action Time

Our round story is progressing nicely. We have a large quantity of pages and a lot of schtuff that happens. Right now it's my turn and I think I've decided what I wanna do--probably a good thing since it's due tomorrow.

However, I plan to propose a couple things relating to the story now that we're going into the third round...basically we're rounding the corner and writing straight for the finish line in this last segment. Because it's so difficult to control such a monsterous task as a novel combined with the monsterous task of getting eight+ people to agree on anything, I think we need to do the following:

1. Decide how it ends (my vote is that Oz winds up with Hannah and lives happily ever after in his mansion)
2. In addition to our submission, we write a small note at the end of our chapters showing the next participants where our head was at and what we pictured happening next (the person following doesn't have to listen, of course, but I think it would add some consistancy...the end of the book is about fixing complications, not adding more)
3. I made a binder filled with all the submissions thus far. This go round, I think on each person's turn they should write in what they think needs to be fixed/changed/rearranged for the editting process to continue.

Those are my ideas and I'll present them tomorrow. We're almost done.

Anyone else have any ideas on how to control both a monster manuscript and a group of madly creative people?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Quotes from Ancient Greeks

I was at work the other day and flipped through a book of "Ancient Wisdom." Inside there was a quote from some brilliant Greek philosopher (I think he was Greek) that went along the lines of this:

"If you want to be a good reader: read. If you want to be a good writer: write."

Now, before everyone thinks that I'm about to defend reading as a good tool for writers, let me ask a slightly different question:

Do better writers really write more? Does quantity count--because inevitably a writer will hit on something worthwhile, or because the lessons are learned faster with the larger quantity of words? Can you discover that one author is 'better' than another (more successful, more lauded) simply by looking at the amount of words they've put out over their lifetime--or lack thereof?

Monday, May 12, 2008


In front of me, I have a couple of books that I read a while ago. There are notes in the margins...and things like smiley faces for passages that I liked. Now, my question for today is: what do the notes you make in the margins say about you?

I'm not limiting this to novels or textbooks--some people don't mark those up at all. I would argue that not marking a book says that the owner was concerned about destroying the book, and the hard-earned money that went into buying it, or that there is an awareness that the opinions marked would change over time. For myself, I mark up a book because I interact with it...however, I always seem to stop in the middle. All of my 'marginalia' is at the beginning of a novel or story. After a while I just engage with the story and forget that I'm supposed to be 'studying' or 'having opinions'.

But I think marginalia includes 'notes to self' in notebooks, or half-finished stories, or sentences that were the spark of an idea (you wrote it down and then forgot about that brilliant little nugget). If, as a writer, you died today, what would your marginalia tell scholars? I don't date anything...they'd be lucky to decipher what I wrote when. And I skip between notebooks. The first part of my first 'under the bed' novel is written in one notebook, typed up in a seperate file, and the rest of it was written on random scraps of paper. So, I guess the future scholars will have to absolutely love me because I'm leaving behind one hell of a jigsaw puzzle.

How about you?