Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Galley Proofs

Reviewing galley proofs today -- the most tedious part of any editor's job. Basically, after a book has been typeset, a copy of the page proofs are sent back to the author and /or editor for a final check for mistakes. And there are always mistakes that have somehow managed to sneak through.

I hate finding mistakes by the typesetter. Why can't that person just leave it the way I had it and not introduce such obvious errors?! It's not their job to change things!

I hate finding mistakes I've made -- why didn't the typesetter realize I meant to put that title in italics and fix that for me, instead of leaving such an obvious mistake? Why can they never show a little initiative?!

I hate finding grammatical errors. Why wasn't that caught at the copy-editing stage? I find this especially irksome on books where I was the copyeditor.

Worst of all is how correcting galley proofs makes me fat. I can only stand the intense tedium of reading text letter by letter for an hour or so before I have to take a break. And sitting in my office, resisting the obvious siren call of Facebook and Twitter, the only alternative is the coffee shop downstairs. Damn them and their lattes and giant cookies!

800 calories later, and I'm still only on page 35.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tesseracts 17 Open for Submissions

And this year's editors are Steven Vernon and Colleen Anderson.

Colleen Anderson and Steve Veron

The theme is: Canadian SF Coast to Coast, i.e., regional representation of SF from across Canada--which translates out to a pretty open-ended theme.

I have to say that Edge has done a good job of continually appointing excellent editorial teams. Vernon and Anderson are both respectable names in the field; we have gender balance; reasonable regional balance; poetry and short fiction both well represented; and yet very different tastes, so presumably anything that they can agree on will have to be good enough to transcend particular subgenres. So I'm pretty pleased with the choice, once again.

The rotating editorship does seem, well, a pecularly Canadian approach. I can't think of any other on-going anthology series that switches editors every edition. I think that is one of the things that keeps the series so fresh, and gives it such staying power. You didn't like this year's theme or felt that it was not sufficiently representative of 'X'? No problem! Next time it will have a different theme, different editors, and whatever that perceived gap was, sooner or later, the series will get there. (E.g., not enough stories from Quebec? See TesseractsQ. Nowhere to publish your novella because its too long for an anthology series? No problem, they had one for novellas. I'm telling you, the Tesseracts approach is just brilliant!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Son of a Dwarf by Jeremy Mason

Attended a production of Jeremy Mason's Son of a Dwarf this evening.

The play is part satire of the fantasy genre, part decent fantasy adventure. Although there are a number of pure pythonesque moments, and some brilliant shots at basic fantasy tropes that scored well with the audience, the central story is allowed to retain sufficient sense that the story hangs together for its own sake. Indeed, this is one of the plays' strengths, since a common error of satirists--deftly avoided here--is to get so wrapped up in jokes and one-liners that the whole thing collapses under the weight of its own silliness. This got pretty silly, but allowed the characters to retain a central dignity that saw them deliver their dialog as if they meant it.

I have been following the work of Jeremy Mason for some time and am pleased to see him branching out from children's plays to, well, sophomore plays. The same principles of frantic action and comedic commentary that served Jeremy well when writing for 5 year olds kept the 1st and 2nd year university audience I was sitting with howling with laughter. My 14 year old laughed throughout even though she has only just started Lord of the Rings, has never engaged in fantasy gaming, and probably missed a third of the references. And even at my advanced years, I pretty much enjoyed the whole thing.

It's hard to know where Jeremy's writing left off and the inventive direction of the Accidental Humour Company took over. The creative use of multimedia screens required split second timing, but allow the production to include astounding special effects: an arrow shot at the evil wizard turns into a dove; magic mirrors talk back; tiny gnomes climb in and out of hero's backpack; forcefields shimmer to prevent the heroine entering the magic cave; explosions shoot from the wizard's staff; and so on. Great stuff for a live play! The battle scenes were fantastic: actual armies of--well, I might have missed what they were exactly, but they were very creepy in a hilarious sort of way -- evil minions threaten our heroes, as great choreography has the actors Harry Wooing across the stage in slow motion. Fabulous stuff!

I will absolutely seek out any future productions by Accidental Humour Company. Pure comic genius!

I give the play four out of five stars.

View the trailer here:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Creative Writing Grants (Canada)

Award-winning poet/author Helen Marshall, has posted an excellent "Practical Guide to Creative Writing Grants in Canada" on her blog, Movable Type. The article not only provides a great summary of available grants (particularly for Ontario; other provinces have their own equivalents worth seeking out, but this at least gives a sense of what might be available) and sensible guidelines for how to complete an application, but has the added benefit of providing a grant-winning sample. So useful! Highly recommended!