Tags: editing


Current editing note: "How many times have I said that things must happen for a logically consistent reason WITHIN THE STORY, and not just because the author needs those things to happen?"

Link part 2: on browsing

Sure, I write that, and then I find this article on browsing: "Why Browsing Is So Important to Content Discovery" by Laura Larsell. She's going on about the same thing I was mentioning in my commentary on that previous link.

However, while I find her article worthy of attention, it brings up yet another problem I have with the web these days: the lack of editing. There are several missing words in this piece, most of which I was able to read around, but they reminded me yet again that editors are necessary. I started reading her article because of a link I received: the topic looked interesting. I didn't even notice what site was hosting the article. But after the third missing word, I was thrown out of the article, and went to see where I was on the web. Was this a random, self-published piece, or a feature article from a big-name periodical? Turns out it's on Mashable, an "independent online news site," one from which I expected better editing. But then I wondered "Is it just me?" I am an editor and writer, so I tend to pick up such failings, whether I'm looking for them or not. But what about the rest of you, those who aren't professional editors and writers? Do you care about typos, missing words, punctuation problems, and the like in your news articles?

Do we need electronic indexes, electronic browsing ability, and good editing, or can we get away with just the first two?

You call that reporting? That's just the questions, not the story.

We just watched the local ABC News programs "special investigative report" about a spate of marriages that took place in Harrison, New York. Apparently five times as many marriages as usual in the space of a month, and all of them men with middle eastern names and women from New York City, and in the months just before September 2001. Sounds fascinating, doesn't it? We heard the teasers several times in the top of the newscast, and stayed for the story. When they finally got there, however, we were horribly disappointed. Jim Hoffer, the investigative reporter, didn't tell us what was going on or why. So I just sent him a little expressing my disappointment, and decided to share it with you.

I was a reporter (well, I still am, but I'm working in a far more limited field these days). As a reporter, his story wasn't finished. And as an editor, not only wasn't it finished, but it wasn't even started. Had he presented that report to me as an editor, I would have said "Okay, great. These are some fascinating questions. Now go out and find the answers; that's your story." But what we got was just the initial questions. I felt my time had been wasted, waiting for that story and then watching it.

The letter:

Text of my letter to the reporter below this cut.Collapse )


Had a nice day writing and editing. Most of it on the deck, enjoying the nice day (though I still have to figure out some kind of glare filter for this laptop, or a way to make the screen brighter).

Now, of course, I'm back indoors, taking a quick break, but thinking of what's to be next weekend. On Saturday, there's the opening of the BWAC Art Show (1-6PM). Kit and I will be there, though Mom, who's also exhibiting, will be out of town. And for you sf fans, I know Alan Beck also has work in the show. Then, on Sunday, there's the Brooklyn Book Festival, at which I'm not on the program this year, but we'll be walking around to see what there is to see.

Hope you all had a pleasant weekend.

Because I didn't have enough to do

I've just gone public (although it was pretty much an open secret, whatever that means): I'm taking on a new gig. I'm now an acquiring editor for Wilder Publications' new sf/f imprint Fantastic Books. SFScope remains my main focus, and also my writing (I'm working on the sequel to The Presidential Book of Lists: got two more chapters done last night), but now I'm also acquiring books as an editor. More details in this article on SFScope, but I'm not opening the floodgates to unsolicited manuscripts.

If you've got a book you think I might want to publish through Fantastic (remember, we're a PoD publisher: not much distribution, but for backlists, collections, things that have gone out of print but shouldn't, and so on), contact me, and we'll see what we can do.

And now, back to the news.

Well, I guess I'm still alive

I've been feeling guilty for ignoring this lj so long. Unfortunately, the guilt is going to have to grow. I've been keeping SFScope running, and though it feels like I'm working in a vacuum over there, occasionally I'll check the usage logs, and the numbers keep going up (slowly, but in the correct direction), so I feel better about it. I'm also editing for a couple of author-clients: I'm in the middle of one book, with another anxiously awaiting my attention. And then there's the writing: I was going pretty well on some fiction a while back, until I talked with my agent and he asked when he might expect the manuscript for the companion volume to The Presidential Book of Lists, so I've once again stopped writing fiction, and I'm working on the book. It's going pretty well, but I keep surprising myself by writing more prose chapters (as opposed to the straight lists that are in the first book). I'll just keep doing each chapter as it calls to me, and when it's done, I'll see if I have to wrench it around. And then, in my copious free time, there's another new gig, which I'll be mentioning on SFScope in the next day or two.

I did take time out to watch the tape of the Battlestar Galactica finale, and I was as disappointed as so many other opinions I've been seeing on the net, so there's no reason to go into it here. I've also got a DVD of the one-hour premiere of a new Comedy Central series—Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire—waiting for me, and I'm hoping to get a chance to watch it before it actually debuts (on 9 April, I think). Oh, and there's a seder looming Wednesday, with the concurrent visit by the sister, nephew, and niece, so that'll be a time-sink, too.

So, how's with you?

Too much work, a sale, an interview, and more fun stuff...

Today's been a day of ups and downs, and as you can tell by the time-stamp on this, it's turning into a very long day. I was trapped away from the computer by two freelance editing projects (both of which I finished, so if you're looking for a freelance editor, I have some time). During that time, however, I gave a twenty-minute phone interview with a reporter from the Deseret News. I think she said the piece is scheduled to run this Sunday. We talked (naturally) about my book and the Presidents and President-elect Obama. If anyone reading this actually reads that paper (it's in Utah), do please look through it and save the piece if you see it. By the time I finally got on-line, much later in the day than usual, my e-mail in-boxes were all full and crying for attention. There was an urgent "oops" for SFScope (not an oops on my part: a press release about this year's Philip K. Dick Award nominees was sent out before the jury realized one of the nominees was ineligible, so this was a correction to that). And lurking in my personal in-box was a note from the New York Daily News with edits for an Op-Ed piece I wrote which should be running on Friday. For this one, I'll probably be able to pick up a copy myself.

Now I have to get to today's usual work, and try to get it done before I try to start on tomorrow's. Oh, and somewhere in there, I'm hoping to get some sleep (it wouldn't do to let myself get run-down in the next few days, since I'll be spending this weekend in the cold and crowds of Arisia.


"A Book in Need of a Good Editor" by Cynthia Crossen: a paean to the underappreciated, increasingly underused editor. And while Crossen places the blame for the current dearth of editing on publishing houses trying to save money, I think, from time to time, some of that blame must also be shared by increasingly big-name authors who don't realize how much editing they need, and won't allow it.

"Markets Declare Truce in Copyright Wars" by L. Gordon Crovitz: I'm still not sure letting Google buy its way out of trouble for posting so many books online is a good idea, but reading this article, the numbers finally stood out clearly for me. Google's proposed settlement, which everyone is trumpeting as huge, is $125 million… but it covers 5 million books, meaning the actual settlement works out to $25 per work, or the price of one hardcover copy. Hardly painful numbers at all as a means of punishing the web behemoth for multiple copyright infringement.

Today's radio appearance is still available

I appeared today on Jim Freund's radio show Hour of the Wolf.... Well, I was scheduled to appear on the show on Saturday morning, which is its regular time slot. But Jim is being pre-empted this Saturday, and the regular hosts of Cat Radio Cafe, which was to air today at 2PM, were away, so Jim filled in, and did his show Monday afternoon instead of Saturday morning.

I seem to recall, way back when, the fear that as computers took over the world, we would lose the permanence we have with paper and books and such. A book sitting on a shelf will last for decades; an electronic file is seemingly so ephemeral. And yet, in a piece of cognitive dissonance today, I realized that radio used to be the ephemeral medium: you broadcast a live show, and it's gone. Today, however, with computers, it's still around.

Thus, through that circuitous reasoning, I get to say: If you missed my appearance on Jim Freund's version of Cat Radio Cafe (which was a show about the blue moon that will be this Saturday), you can still hear it. It's archived on WBAI's web site at archive.wbai.org/pls.php?mp3fil=12693. The program runs one hour. I make my first appearance about ten and a half minutes in.

We talked about blue moons, what they are and why they're important, and then branched out into the Artemis Project, my publishing of Artemis Magazine (which is no more), my current work with SFScope, my history in science fiction, and I read a story ("You Gotta See This," which appeared in the December 2002 issue of Analog).

It was a good time for me, and I hope it was a good time for the listeners. Jim opened up the phones for the last five minutes or so, and we took several calls, so someone was listening.

Anyway, if you're interested, check it out. I don't know how long the show will be archived, but it will be there far longer than it was on the air.