Friday, August 22, 2008

Write Stuff

Anyone who's new to the game of submitting fiction to the markets would be well advised to check Ellen Datlow's little rant about her pet peeves concerning submissions. Ellen is one of the best editors in the business and reads a lot of manuscripts for her anthology projects. Heed her wise words (there's lots of good stuff in the comments, too).

Goofs like these aren't just found in submissions by new writers by the way. My partner is an editor at a large publishing house in the UK. You'd be surprised - or maybe you wouldn't - at the number of Big Name authors who submit manuscripts printed in single-spaced ten point type, or with virtually no margins, or (and this is amazingly common) with dropped lines separating paragraphs, and no indentations. Maybe the latter is something they learned as journalists, but when it comes to making a book out of the manuscript, it means that someone has to insert hundreds of proof marks in correction.

In the UK, the Writers' and Artists Yearbook, updated annually, has all kinds of useful information for published and would-be writers, but oddly enough has nothing at all about the important matter of formatting your precious submission. So take Ellen's comments to heart, and if you're sending out short stories do check out magazines' submission requirements. And don't turn page 3 upside down, clip pages 4 & 5 together, or leave a hair between pages 6 & 7 to test whether or not your submission gets read that far. Editors know all those tricks, too.

Here endeth the lesson. Go forth and do good.

I've just passed the Xeno's paradox stage of the second draft of the ongoing, if you're interested. All the stuff I neglected to include first time around is in, more or less. Now all I have to do is go over the last three chapters, and then write the real ending (the last few books, out of what I hope is practicality rather than superstition or laziness, I haven't tried to get it absolutely or even approximately right until this stage, when I know exactly what the secret of the book really is).


Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts