Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Aurora Award Voters' Package available until Sept.

The Prix Aurora Award 2017 voter package (e-copies of most of the nominated novels, short stories, etc) is now available at http://www.prixaurorawards.ca/auror…/voter-package-download/. The package is free to members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association so they can read nominated work before voting.(Seems like a pretty sensible idea to me!)

Membership in CSFFA is $10/yr and open to any Canadian, and includes the right to nominate and vote for the Auroras.

My short story, "Age of Miracles", was nominated for a 2017 Aurora in the short story category, so is included in this year's voters' package. I'm really pleased because that means more people will likely have the opportunity to read the story, though the anthology it's from, Strangers Among Us is a good one (six aurora nominations in all!) and well worth buying.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Essential Edits at When Words Collide 2017

Essential Edits will be at When Words Collide at the Calgary Delta South August 11-13, 2017. Elizabeth McLachlan has had to cancel, but Robert Runté will still be making the Essential Edits presentations and sitting on various panels. Below is Robert's schedule, updated with rooms and times, as of July 5:

Scheduled talks:

Friday 1 PM: Live Action Slush - Early Bird Edition (Panel) in Fireside room

Friday 4 PM: Common Manuscript Problems (Panel) in 1-Parkland

Friday 6 PM: Writers’ + Editors’ Speed Mingle (Interactive) in A-Waterton

Saturday 10 AM: Pantsers vs Plotters (Panel) in 2-Bonavista

Saturday 11 AM: Managing Sustained Writing Projects (Presentation) in 9-Rundle

Saturday 1 PM:Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and the Experience of Writing (Panel) in B-Canmore

Saturday 2 PM: Five Rivers Publishing Presents (Book Launch/Social) in Fireside room

Sunday 10 AM: Live Action Slush – YA Edition (Panel)3-Willow Park

Sunday 11 AM: The Publishers Panel: Novels (Panel) in 2-Bonavista

Sunday 2 PM:Working with an Editor (Presentation) in Rundle

Sunday 3 PM: Blue Pencil (Workshop) 6-Heritage

At 750 attendees, WWC is already sold out for this year. It's always a great writers' convention, so I highly recommend it to anyone for next year.

If you have a membership and are coming, let me know and maybe we can get together in the evenings or between panels (when I have more than a five minute break).

Monday, June 19, 2017

Will Social Media Kill the Novel?

Fascinating article in the Guardian by Andrew O'Hagen on the end of private life, that asserts, "Writers thrive on privacy, not on Twitter" and asks, "What does a world in which our interior lives are played out online mean for the novel?"

link to article

I have certainly seen authors get so caught up in the myth that one has to promote oneself on Twitter and other social media to succeed, that they end up having no time to write. (Or, more prosaically, just end up procrastinating on social media because getting likes is more fun than working on one's book.) And I'll concede that for some, telling their online audience the events that might have otherwise found their way into the novel could be depleting. But on the other hand...I have not infrequently had to edit out long passages from a novel that don't belong there and told the author, "stop venting! If you need to vent, go on Facebook. Rant all you want on social media, but keep this off-message rubbish out of your novel." When the space-suited hero puts down his blaster mid-battle with the alien hoards to complain about how the grade 3 teacher is assigning too much homework to his kid, I feel we may have allowed the intrusion of extraneous material...

Though, that's probably not the novel O'Hagen was referring to... :-)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Interesting review essay on the role of the editor in a book's success:

Red Pens and Invisible Ink by Colin Dickey.

Essential Edits takes the stand that we work for the author, so do our best to follow and bring to fruition the author's vision. We will from time to time, point out issues that might impact the book's commercial success—such as scenes in a YA that might be objectionable to teachers and parents, or content that might be negatively reviewed—but our job is just to flag potential issues, not to censor them.

This is different than the role of acquisition editors and agents, the people to whom one is trying to sell the book if not self-publishing: the job of the acquisition editor or structural editor at a press is to alter the book to fit the vision of the press, which usually translates as 'make it more commercial'. There is nothing inherently wrong about that, because they usually won't buy a book unless it is already (mostly) consistent with the publishers vision of its books; and most authors have no objection to making changes that will increase sales. Most publishers will not initiate the complete rewrites spoken of in the article above, because it is too time consuming and expensive for them...they will just look for another manuscript closer to their own needs.

Still, authors sometimes feel editors have gone too far. If you are an author and you are unhappy with the changes the editor is asking for after you have made them, then there is something wrong. Every author naturally hates making changes insisted upon by their editor—it's just human nature to resist the effort and ego-bruising that changing even a comma implies—but usually, after the author has calmed down enough to actually fiddle around making the change, they come to see that the editor was right, and that this revision is in fact way better. If you don't feel that way, you are either working with the wrong editor or misunderstood what the editor was asking for. (Or, I suppose, there are who simply do not believe that there is a single flaw in their writing, and that every editor who fails to recognize their genius is an idiot, in which case they probably haven't gone to an editor in the first place. Self-publishing has its share of those.) If you like your book less in the edited version, then stop, go back to the original. The freelance editor works for you and does not get to dictate their vision. A good freelance editor can help you realize your vision for the book. It is okay for them to make suggestions, and it is usually a good idea to at least give it a try to see how that would look, but if the editor/agent is telling you to change the gay character to straight, the black character to white, or to add pointless sex or whatever, time to walk away.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Essential Edits at When Words Collide

Here is a tentative list of workshops, presentations and panels by Essential Edits staff at the When Words Collide writers and readers festival in Calgary, Alberta, Aug 11-13, 2017.

Essential Edits Presentations

  • Managing Sustained Writing Projects, Robert Runté and Elizabeth McLachlan
  • Working With an Editor, Elizabeth McLachlan and Robert Runté

Workshops (requires advance sign up)

  • Blue Pencil Workshop with Elizabeth McLachlan
  • Blue Pencil Workshop with Robert Runté


  • Live Action Slush - Early Bird Edition with Robert Runté, Michelle Heumann (EDGE SF), and TBA
  • Live Action Slush - Young Adult Edition with Robert Runté, Jennifer Estep (NY Times bestselling YA author) and TBA. Amy Totten (reading)
  • Common Manuscript Problems with Robert Runté, Michelle Heumann (Editor, EDGE SF), Samantha Beiko (Editor, CZP),and Sam Hiyate (Literary Agent)
  • Pansters vs Plodders with Robert Runté, Timothy Gywn (author), C.C. Humphreys (author & swordsman), and R. J. Hore (author)
  • Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and the Experience of Writing with C.P Hoff (author & Leacock Medal nominee), Aviva Bel'Harold (author), Robert Runté (editor), and Elizabeth McLachlan (editor)
  • The Publishers' Panel: Novels: with Robert Runté(Five Rivers), Samantha Beiko (CZP), Kelsey Attard (Freehand Books), and TBA
  • Writers and Editors Mingle with Calgary Association of Freelance Editors

Book Salon

    Five Rivers Publishing Presents: with Senior Editor, Robert Runté, authors Timothy Gwyn (launching his YA novel, Avians); and C.P. Hoff (author of the Leacock Medal-nominated, A Town Called Forget) and brief readings from Michael Skeet's Poisoned Prayer, Ann Marston's Diamonds in Black Sand, and Joe Mahoney's A Time and a Place.

There are only 74 seats (out of 750) left, so if you are thinking of going, you need to register now.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Aurora Award Nomination

Dr. Runté poses with cover of Strangers Among Us anthology which garnered six Aurora Award nominations on the 2017 ballot.

The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association has released the Aurora Award Ballot for 2017, and I am honoured to be included on the shortlist for one of my short stories, "The Age of Miracles".

"Age of Miracles" was published in the anthology Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, edited by Susan Forest and Lucas Law. The anthology's theme was speculative fiction addressed to issues of mental health, and my story looked at how someone with schizophrenia might navigate the world of the near future. (It plays on the idea that if we see someone on a corner talking when there is nobody else there, how do we know whether they are crazy or just talking on their cell phones?)

I'm pretty pumped that my story made the ballot, because humour is often a hard sell, especially when up against excellent serious stories, and the Strangers Among Us anthology alone had a number of outstanding stories, let alone the rest of the field this year.

The CSFFA makes available a voter package with the nominated stories/books/comics/artwork (or as many of those that publishers permit) for all CSFFA members, so voters can base their decisions on actually having read/seen the nominated works. Membership in CSFFA is only $10 a year, so the voter package is a great opportunity to see the best of Canadian SF&F, as nominated by CSFFA members. Additionally, again this year Kobo Canada has donated a Kobo for a prize draw for one randomly chosen voter to encourage voter turnout. So $10 buys you the right to vote, the right to read some great Canadian SF, and a chance at a free ebook reader. Join here.

Here's the 2017 ballot:

The 2017 Aurora Award Ballot

This ballot is for works done in 2016 by Canadians. The Aurora Awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. The top five nominated works were selected. Additional works were included where there was a tie for fifth place.

Best Novel
Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
Company Town by Madeline Ashby, Tor Books
The Courier by Gerald Brandt, DAW Books
The Nature of a Pirate by A.M. Dellamonica, Tor Books
Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada
Stars like Cold Fire by Brent Nichols, Bundoran Press

Best Young Adult Novel
Day of the Demon by Randy McCharles, CreateSpace
Door into Faerie by Edward Willett, Coteau Books
Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun, Harlequin Teen
Icarus Down by James Bow, Scholastic Canada
Mik Murdoch: Crisis of Conscience by Michell Plested, Evil Alter Ego Press
The Wizard Killer - Season One by Adam Dreece, ADZO Publishing

Best Short Fiction
"Age of Miracles" by Robert Runté, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
"Frog Song" by Erika Holt, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
"Living in Oz" by Bev Geddes, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
"Marion's War" by Hayden Trenholm, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
"Seasons of Glass and Iron" by Amal el-Mohtar, The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press
"When Phakack Came to Steal Papa’s Bones, A Ti-Jean Story" by Ace Jordyn, On Spec Magazine

Best Poem/Song
No award will be given out in this category in 2017 due to insufficient eligible nominees

Best Graphic Novel
Angel Catbird, Volume One by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillian, Dark Horse Books
Crash and Burn by Kate Larking and Finn Lucullan, Astres Press
Earthsong by Crystal Yates, Webcomic
It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
Weregeek by Alina Pete, Webcomic

Best Related Work
Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction edited by Dominik Parisien, Exile Editions
Enigma Front: Burnt, managing editor Celeste A. Peters, Analemma Books
Lazarus Risen edited by Hayden Trenholm and Mike Rimar, Bundoran Press
Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media
Superhero Universe (Tesseracts Nineteen) edited by Claude Lalumière and Mark Shainblum, EDGE

Best Visual Presentation
Arrival, director, Denis Villeneuve, Paramount Pictures
Orphan Black, Season 4, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions
Killjoys, Season 2, Michelle Lovretta, Temple Street Productions
Dark Matter, Season 2, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, Prodigy Pictures
Murdoch Mysteries, Season 9, Peter Mitchell, Shaftesbury Films

Best Artist
Samantha M. Beiko, cover to Strangers Among Us anthology
James Beveridge, covers and poster art
Melissa Mary Duncan, body of work
Erik Mohr, covers for ChiZine Publications and Company Town for Tor Books
Dan O'Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press

Best Fan Writing and Publications
Amazing Stories Magazine, weekly column, Steve Fahnestalk
BCSFAzine #512 to #519, edited by Felicity Walker
The Nerd is the Word, articles by Dylan McEvoy
OBIR Magazine #4, edited by R. Graeme Cameron
Silver Stag Entertainment, edited by S.M. Carrière
Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Organizational
Samantha Beiko and Chadwick Ginther, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Winnipeg
R. Graeme Cameron, chair, VCON 41, Surrey, BC
Sandra Kasturi and Angela Keeley, co-chairs, 2016 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium
Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, executive, Can*Con 2016, Ottawa
Randy McCharles, chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, and Nicole Lavigne, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa
Sandra Wickham, chair, Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, BC

Best Fan Related Work
Ron S. Friedman, Villains and Conflicts presentation, When Words Collide, Calgary Comic Expo, and File 770
Kari Maaren, Concert, SFContario
Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

Best of the Decade
This is a special category for this year’s awards for works published between January 2001 and December 2010. Note: Items in italics are for multi-volume works. Multi-volume stories were considered if they began prior to 2001 but ended before or close to 2011. We defined a multi-volume story as one with a continuous narrative. Finalists were chosen by an eight-person jury from across Canada. The winner will be chosen by our membership’s votes.

Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson, Tor Books
The Blue Ant Trilogy by William Gibson, Berkley
Malazan Book of the Fallen, Steven Erikson, Tor Books
The Neanderthal Parallax, Robert J. Sawyer, Tor Books
The Onion Girl, Charles de Lint, Tor Books
Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada

The Aurora Awards Administrator, Clifford Samuels, shows off the new design adpoted in 2016 for the Aurora Trophy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Canadian Science Fiction Fantasy Academic Conference

Of possible interest to SFeditor.ca clients:

I've presented at this conference three or four times (including as one of the two Keynote speakers in 2013) and it is always a very positive experience. What I like the most about it is the sense one gets of the next generation of Canadian SF&F scholars who are doing some excellent work, documenting and analyzing the Canadian version of the genre.