Tag Archives: editing

Jeff VanderMeer talks about the best of 2009

And he says such NICE things

"Little Books with Big Hearts" of particular interest included Peter M. Ball’s Horn Ball’s novella-in-book-form from my new favorite indie press, Twelfth Planet, combines noir and faery in a hardboiled structure that plays knowingly with the tropes of both subgenres; he is without a doubt one of the best of the up-and-coming writers in the field.

Among collections by relatively new writers, I found Deborah Biancotti’s A Book of Endings, Eugie Foster’s Returning My Sister’s Face, and Cat Rambo’s Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight the most compelling. None of these collections were perfect, but each was lively and willing to take chances.

Four other original anthologies provided an entertaining read…New Ceres Nights, another Australian creation, edited by Alisa Krasnostein & Tehani Wessly [sic.], comes to readers from the excellent Twelfth Planet Press, and might be the sleeper anthology of the year. It’s consistently lively and interesting in developing its shared setting. Contributors include Stephen Dedman, Kaaron Warren, Aliette de Bodard, Angela Slatter, and Dirk Flinthart.

He mentions a few other books too 🙂 Well worth reading!

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Two days at home

After a number of very social days in a row, we’ve just spent two almost entirely at home. By 5.30 this afternoon, I was VERY ready for the children to go to bed and encouraged them as quickly as possible through baths and dinner – Master Seven was not at all ready for sleep though and was (most unusually) up and down for an hour – he’s apparently lost the sleep battle now though.

While I didn’t really feel like I did much, it appears I’ve crossed a few things off the jobs list. All the baby clothes I could find are now sorted and washed (some still on the line as I couldn’t FIT everything! Too many clothes…). In between laundry, I’ve managed to read a complete novel, read to and play with kids, do dishes, keep house reasonably clean, go to second-last GP appointment, play lots of Scrabble online (and winning a fair bit too, improving my average!) AND, most astonishingly, edit a massive swag of the stories for Worlds Next Door! I’m really delighted with this, because I’d love to have the edits done prior to baby, but really didn’t think I’d get there. The meet-up with   on Saturday seems to have jogged my editing brain though, and I’m on a major roll.

In all, I’ve got 25 stories at this point. I’ve now got 12 (that’s almost HALF!) ready for layout, 1 still out for rewrite (from way back), 4 edited and back with authors, and only 9 as yet untouched. Sure, they happen to be the LONGEST nine of the lot, but most of them are also only going to need very light edits. Is wonderful!

So I’m pretty pleased with myself. Seems that lots can be accomplished when you’re not rushing about 🙂

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Musing on different things I do

Out of the blue this week I was asked to critique a story for someone I really only know through frequenting the same reviewing circles over at ASIF!. When I queried why she’d made this request, the response was because I’m insightful in my reviews. Now, first of all, I am flattered 🙂 However, it got me to thinking, because to my mind, there are very different methods involved in reviewing, critiquing, and editing and I wonder if others find the same thing. While some of the skills are similar, you are really doing very different things, and I’m not sure being insightful in one makes you good at another…

For me, reviewing is made up of a few different parts. Firstly, I am not working for the benefit of the author. While many authors do seek out an read reviews of their work, I sincerely doubt many of them are going to read any criticism I might make of their work and decide to completely change that aspect of their writing! That’s not what it’s about. Reviews are for the benefit of other readers, essentially, and I think my job as a reviewer is to try to articulate what I liked or didn’t like about the book in such a way that gives the potential reader the option to agree or disagree with my opinion and make an informed decision about whether to seek the book out for themselves, or not.

Critiquing IS of course for the writer. But it’s a very different beast to editing. When I’m critiquing someone’s work, my goal is to point out areas that don’t work for me as an informed reader, and to applaud bits I really like and that make the story awesome. In a critique, I may suggest that I find a section overlong or dense, but I won’t make specific suggestions for changes. When I’m editing though, I’ll draw red lines through words, lines and sections, and ask for rewording of specific bits that bother me. I think the main difference for me is that in a critique, I’ll make general suggestions to offer guidance to the writer of where I see problems with a story, but when I’m editing, I’m working with the author to tweak out the best possible story for the publication I’ve already bought it for, and therefore I will be far more specific and definitive about what changes I want. It’s still a give and take situation, but it’s far more concentrated and detailed, for me.

I think I use a similar skillset for these things – of course spelling, grammar, punctuation and the like are important for all, as is an educated idea of what makes a story work. But they are distinctive disciplines to me.

I’m interested to know if others look at these three things differently as well. Of course, we all review, critique and edit differently, but is there a correlation between them for you?


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Spec Fic for Kids has a Table of Contents!

Well, almost. So I’m not sharing it yet, but all stories have been read, accepted or rejected or rewrite/resub requested (except for one, which is under special consideration), and the TOC has shaped up very nicely. There’s a broad range of style, genre and age target, which is what I was aiming for! Science fiction proper is a little light on, but sadly that seems common in the Australian spec fic scene, and I’m glad I got the quality subs I did in that area. There’s a lot of darker stuff, some great fun stuff, and I’m really pleased with the stories the authors have contributed.

Slushreading for this was hard, because the standard of submissions was really strong. I had a couple that I felt didn’t meet the age range, and one or two that simply weren’t spec fic in my eyes, but I was impressed with the quality overall.

So as it stands, I have 23 firm acceptances, one story being reworked at my request, and another two pending resubmission (plus the special consideration one – sekrit!). This is a lot of stories! But because of the word count of around 3500 words or less, it’s still within my desired word count, which is good 🙂

I also have some great illustrators already on board, and a couple more in mind to approach. Now to start editing!


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Reflecting on ASIM #37

After the delight of seeing Dirk Flinthart’s "This Is Not My Story" tie for Best Short Story at the Ditmars on the weekend, I was contemplating my final issue of ASIM. I am very proud of the issue, and feel it was the best magazine I did with Andromeda Spaceways. Partly this was the benefit of experience, and of a wide circle of author and artist associates I could call on to submit for me. I worked very hard to make ASIM 37 reflect the ideals that Andromeda Spaceways started out with (Australian content, humour, giving new authors a publishing opportunity, among other things), and while slush machine breakdowns around the time I was selecting stories meant that not all the stories in the issue came from the very excellent slush-o-matic system, many did (including three of the most recognised). I’ve always thought the issue turned out pretty well, and it’s very gratifying to see my authors and their wonderful words recognised as being pretty darn good by others as well.

While I’ve not found many reviews of the issue, those that are out there have been positive. The Fix Online said very nice things about the stories and the issue as a whole, concluding with: An excellent issue, worth a thorough reading.

Dirk’s story from the issue made the ASIF! 2008 Recommended Reading List, and was frequently listed in the various Last Short Story Recommended Reading lists for 2008, including their overall Best of the Best list.

"This Is Not My Story" was also shortlisted for the Young Adult category of the Aurealis Awards and shortlisted for the Best Short Story category of the Ditmars, sharing the winning of the Ditmar with Margo Lanagan (good company!).

The novella length story "Night Heron’s Curse", by Thoraiya Dyer, was also shortlisted for both awards, in the Fantasy Short Story category of the Aurealis Awards, and the Novella category of the Ditmars.

We gained another win with Grant Stone’s "Under Waves and Over", which took out the Best Short Story at the New Zealand Sir Julius Vogel Awards last weekend. We also made the shortlist of the Australian Shadows Awards, with Jason Fischer’s "Rick Gets a Job", and the Tin Ducks, for Best WA Professional Production.

In all, I think I’ve got a right to be proud of my last effort as ASIM. It’s pretty, it’s a great read, and I’m not the only one who thinks so, so that makes me really happy. I know this issue was a hundred times better than my first issue with ASIM (#4, way back in 2002/2003), and I hope I can keep learning and getting better at what I do in my future projects. Cos I love doing it, and I love it when other people love what I bring them too.

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