Tag Archives: PANK Magazine

Hi there! Remember me?! | 06.30.12

To say it’s been a while would be a complete understatement! Life gets busy even when you wish it’d slow down. . . .

I don’t have a lot of new writing news, though I did land a sweet gig managing most of the visible web content for The Lit Pub, and I got to review Matt Bell’s truly excellent novel(la) Cataclysm Baby for [PANK] Magazine recently as well. If you haven’t read this book (or anything else written by Matt Bell) you should totally do so, ASAP!

HBO’s Game of Thrones just wrapped up its second season and it was honestly just as fantastic as its debut! Our crack reviews “team” (i.e. Dustin Luke Nelson and I) at InDigest Mag compiled a list of our likes and dislikes about the show’s deviations from the book. I was actually pretty happy with what we came up with when all was said and done!

Speaking of Game of Thrones, I recently finished reading book 5 of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, A Dance with Dragons, and it was simply epic — almost as good as book 3, A Storm of Swords (just ignore the middling Amazon reviews; trust me). Now the only real problem is waiting for G.R.R.M. to finish writing book 6. . . .

Though, problematically, finishing all five of the “Song of Ice and Fire” books in such quick succession has left a significant, nigh gaping sci-fi/fantasy-tinged hole in my reading life; a hole I’d forgotten existed since reading Tolkien in high school; a hole I’ve been trying desperately to fill for the past month. So like most anything I do, if I’m going to do it right (i.e. “all out”), I research the hell out of it and then hit the bookstore.

Here are some of my latest acquisitions:

I sort of went “no holds barred” on this venture. We’ve got series, standalone books, sci-fi, steampunk, fantasy, and everything in between. Lord of Light was recommended to me by my “go to” man with a plan, David Atkinson. As soon as he started describing it to me[1], I didn’t need any further coaxing — I was definitely sold. Acacia by David Anthony Durham[2] actually got some really great praise from George R.R. Martin, himself, which was good enough for me.

And American Gods was written by Neil Gaiman, which in and of itself should be fairly self-explanatory.

Moving down the stack is The Difference Engine,[3] a book by two more authors who probably need no introduction: William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. I highly recommend the 20th Anniversary Edition with a great intro by Cory Doctorow and some really interesting commentary at the end from the authors. Sandwiched in the middle of the four books that are part of their own series is Arkady and Boris Strugatsky’s Roadside Picnic, called by many readers and critics alike “the best Russian sci-fi novel ever written” (and also spawned the STALKER movie(s) and video games).

See? I told you I did some research.

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Adventures In Freelancing! (Editing)

OK, forget what I said about posting here once a week for a hot second. I’d like to rephrase it as “I will post here 1+ time(s) a week.”

I’ve been offering freelance editing services for a while now but am still fairly new to the enterprise. Most of my work has come by referral (thanks KB!), and none of it has been what I’d consider “easy” editing. I’m not going to go into detail about previous edits, but I’d like to recount my last experience, omitting/changing the client’s name.

Needless to say, this has all certainly been a “learn as I go” kind of endeavor.

I would argue—and perhaps one of Specter and [PANK] Magazines’ contributors/editors, Alicia Kennedy, can maybe confirm or deny this—that every editor has their own unique editing style, just as every writer has her or his unique writing style. Or, more specifically, every editor has her or his own unique style of initially approaching a new manuscript.

My latest project was one I was indeed excited to work on. After a preliminary read through of “Mr. Smith’s” manuscript, I thought: OK, here’s a chance to finally utilize most of the implements in my editing toolkit. By which I mean that it seemed like Mr. Smith was looking for the kind of feedback and editing advice a writer typically gets when workshopping her or his piece. Having previously attended a large number of these workshops and earning an MFA along the way, I felt confident I could offer Mr. Smith exactly what he was looking for.

However, this turned out to be…how should I put it…incorrect.

I think it came down to my editing style not being compatible with the desired results Mr. Smith had envisioned for his manuscript. This is fair—different strokes for different folks, and all that. A mistake perhaps made on my part was offering to be as communicative as possible throughout the whole process, in order to give Mr. Smith a full sense of involvement in his project. That seems like it’d be a really good thing, however, I can testify that the reality of such author involvement is “not always.”

Mr. Smith, from the get-go, wrote very long and detailed expectations of what his thoughts were, i.e. what he had questions about, what other editors had told him previously, what he was ultimately going for, etc. I subsequently set out with the information of that first email and dove into the manuscript. My style of editing for a first read through is to ostensibly do a line edit as I go and provide a running commentary by asking questions, pointing out word choices that don’t work, identifying awkward or clunky phrasing, and other edits along those lines. Pretty standard stuff. I also try to keep in mind what the client has asked for and address it in addition to my own edits.

However, by offering to keep the lines of communication open, Mr. Smith would send three or four emails during every phase of the process, which made it extremely difficult to address all of his questions, at least in any kind of order other than chronologically. One of the more difficult obstacles I’d encounter was when Mr. Smith would invariably decide items he’d asked about earlier were no longer as important as new questions he’d come up with (after I’d already addressed them earlier in the manuscript). It became difficult to go back and address each new comment/question and also have the resulting “fix” make sense with subsequent comments or edits I would make (of course, after the fact) that referred back to the changed comment (does that make any sense, or am I explaining this poorly?).

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