East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Leave a comment

Revision time

Tonight I spent about three hours revising my story Bottled Up, following the extensive notes I received a few days back from the project’s editors.
It was quite interesting, because revising took me almost twice the time writing the story had taken.
As I mentioned elsewhere, working with an editor is always a great opportunity to learn something new, and this was the case.

I cut mercilessly the excess text from the opening, and then expanded the action scenes, making life for my protagonist a little harder. In full agreement with the editors, I also shortened the sentences and clarified a few points. The only suggestion I did not follow 100% was about the ending. First, because the editors had reached a split decision about the effectiveness of that last half page, and second, because in my opinion it works and gives the story a nice symmetry.

And there’s not much you can do in 2500 words – but I actually cut 400 words and added 450 new words, so I am well pleased with what I did.
The short story is already on its way to the editors, and it will be out – hypothetically – this summer.

And over the weekend my Patrons will have a chance to see the opening paragraphs of the story, before and after the editing, with some of my observations.
Because it’s good to be my Patrons, or so the story goes.


24-hours vacation

1426741881.71Not much to show today – I spent most of yesterday’s night finishing my editing/cleaning-up/setting-things-straight work on a new novel.
The hard part was trying to make my Linux-based LibreOffice digest and show properly a MSWord document (the one my editor sent me).

But apart a few crashes and recoveries, it all went for the best.
Now, I’m relaxing a bit – and I just gave myself a big gift for finishing this big job.
I read wonders about Chris Willrich’s Gaunt and Bone series, so I got me the first volume, The Scroll of Years.
I love the Chinese feel of the artwork.
Now time to dig into it.


PS: I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but it looks like it’s snowing on my blog.
Apparently WordPress decided to get festive.


Swingy Thingies

One of the most entertaining and refreshing aspects of working with a great editor is sometimes you spend a whole night discussing swingy thingies.
Which disproves the old legend that authors and editors are often at odds, and engage in fiery discussions.
We were somewhat at odds, but we had a good laugh.

Consider the following contraption


This thing appears in one of the stories that will be published in the forthcoming Aculeo & Amunet collection – The Hand of Isfet. Continue reading


Learning Editing for the Wrong Reason

The Dawn Patrol (1938 film)

The Dawn Patrol (1938 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its’ very late (4 am) and I’m very tired, having spent the day editing two scenarios for a roleplaying game, for a total of 15.000 words.

My brother helped me – we traded texts so that we would not suffer from “copy blindness”, but it’s been tough anyway.

And while I edited, I started thinking about some weird stuff going on in the heads of the people around here.

Last week a guy selling his services as an editor (in a rather unprofessional way – in my opinion, but that’s another matter) claimed many of his clients are not writers, but actually readers, in search of an approach to narrative which will allow them to understand if the book they are reading is worth their time.

Now, this idea is so mindboggingly stupid that I still want to believe it’s just a plain lie.

But just think about it for a second – people learning editing (which is something that requires long time and extensive practice, and there’s not two editors alike anyway) to be able to decide if they like what they are reading.

Based on the same principle, I should take a flying licence to watch The Dawn Patrol or study direction and composition to decide whether I like Dave Brubeck‘s music or not.

It’s demented.

And yet, there is this feeling, a lot of readers out there are not reading anymore, but they wish to wrestle with the story, outwit the author, and probably show they are better than him.
As if it was a video game, in which you need to outwit the programmers in order win.
And yet, you don’t need to get adegree in programming to play Monkey Island and have fun.

Weird people.

Leave a comment

Copy & Content

My new ebook is ready to roll.

20246060-warning-sign-wrecking-crew-vectorTime to give credit to my editors.
While beta readers, artists and marketers are a relatively new thing, to me, I’ve been working with different editors for a few years.
And I learned to respect and appreciate their work.
And I ‘m finally learning to work with them – because it’s not something that comes to you straight away.

Now, there’s this strange theory, going around, that the editor rewrites your story.
Which is, to me, eminently dubious.
Oh, granted, I did work with editors that just went and changed my text straight away – in one case requesting a 10.000 words article and then arbitrarily cutting it to 6.000 because the available space on the magazine had “contracted”.
My reasoning then was, they could have asked me for the cuts – or for a shorter piece from the start.
And no, I’m not selling my stuff to that mag anymore*.

And yet, the practice of rewriting has become such, that one can actually recognize the editor’s style when reading the text.
The author is reduced to the role of content provider, not of text stylist.

In my experience, good editors point out the problems, and get me on the right track for rewriting my own stuff in a more efficient way.
The sort of professionals that can accept the fact that yes, it does sound weird, but it’s supposed to sound weird.noir-art-glen-orbik-fifty-to-one-via-anantoinetteaffair-tumblr

Anyway, I’m very lucky – not only I worked with great editors in the past, but right now I’m exploiting shamelessly some of the best editors – both copy- and content- – I ever met.

Which is why I’m taking some blog space to thank both Marina and Chiara.

Thank you ladies!

[yes, both my copy editor and my content editor are gorgeous, brilliant young women, and excellent writers in their own right – it’s one of the perks that come with writing pulp fiction]


* In another case I worked with one editor that was so enthusiastic about my work, he did not see a number of problems – causing me to withdraw my ebook after publishing it, in order to insert the corrections suggested by my (paying) readers.
It was awkward.