the feysand modern au with more cliches than should be allowed
Feyre Archeron is pretty sure there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed when it comes to conduct with the authors whose books she edits. But when you take what should have been a normal flight to Paris and add a tuna sandwich, a red pen, and a smirking stranger, lines can get a little blurry.
the one where feyre accidentally trash talks a novel to its author and then they kinda fall in love
She could see her through the aquarium in her office.
Apparently, all the interns had to take the desk for a couple of hours everyday, never mind how impressive their portfolios were. Marinette could accept that. Today a designing internship. Tomorrow a scholarship to ESMOD. Day after that, her very own label. She could suck up taking desk calls, staring at spreadsheets, sending emails, and following the heels of her idols for the summer.
Besides. The view wasn’t half bad.
She checked the directory outside two mornings ago and found out that the office across from theirs was an online magazine. If she peeked around all the Rosy Barbs and Angelfish meandering around the long aquarium tank stretching along the wall right across from Marinette’s desk, she occasionally saw people bustling by with manuscripts and cover proofs. But that wasn’t even the best part.
By far the most interesting about the office was the beautiful girl who worked the front desk.
They looked to be about the same age, so Marinette assumed she was also an intern. She spent her days staying at her desk – probably sending emails and working on projects – and only leaving to run off to meetings or go to lunch. Marinette honestly didn’t mean to stare, but sometimes there was nothing to do at her desk other than wait for the phone to ring. Her eyes would drift up and see that gorgeous girl, hair piled up charmingly on the top of her head, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose every few minutes, and yawning in front of her computer screen while she multitasked on her cellphone.
Marinette really wanted to ask her out to lunch, but she could never catch her outside the office. She sometimes meandered around the elevator during her lunch hour in the hopes that the girl would come out at the same time so that she could strike up a conversation, but their schedules never melded. Marinette tried to do the same at the end of the work day, but one of them was always staying late and finishing projects. All she had was her view through the aquarium tank.
One of the models who worked for the label, Adrien, was about the only person who stopped by her desk everyday to have lunch with her and ask her about her day. It didn’t take him long to pick up on Marinette’s little hobby. He stopped by her desk one morning and poked her in the cheek when he caught her staring through the tank again. “You know, you could just make an excuse to go over there and talk to her.”
Marinette snorted. “And say what? ‘Hi, I’m Marinette, I think you’re cute and I’ve been creepily staring at you for the past two weeks. Wanna get coffee?’”
Economy of the Manga Industry; or, Why I don’t care that Togashi does whatever he wants
I’ve casually mentioned before that I think people who go around saying “Manga writers work under horrible conditions! Oda Eiichiro doesn’t ever sleep!” are twisting reality and kind of maybe sort of need to take a step back. This is not because I believe manga artists have it great, and they’re just whiners who need to cry more into their piles of money. Quite the opposite. I say this because if your knowledge of “how the manga industry works” boils down to “Oda Eiichiro only sleeps 4 hours a day and rarely gets a day off”, your knowledge of the cruelties of the manga industry is fairly shallow and it’s probably better you didn’t bother. I know that sounds rude, but there it is!
Here are some realities about the manga industry: (The usual disclaimer: I am not a manga industry insider, just an accountant who reads a lot of junk. There are many sides to every issue and it’s impossible for me to cover them all in a short tumblr post. Please post your own opinions about this topic, the fandom needs more opinions. Etc.)
!!! Because the demand for detail in manga art has increased exponentially since the Tezuka days, the majority of manga artists need to employ assistants in order to meet the demand of manga magazines.1 These assistants need to be paid, and this money needs to come out of the manga artist’s pocket. Other expenses that need to come out of the manga artist’s pocket: food for the assistants, stationary and other materials, travel expenses, rent for the production office, reference books, and other such necessities. Reality for the majority of manga artists is this: the money they get for turning in their manuscript will not cover these expenses, and they are running a manga production office at a loss.
!!! Publishers expect the manga artists to cover this loss by selling a lot of tankobon. However, manga publishers do not guarantee that a manga featured in their magazines will get a tankobon release. The only thing a manga publisher guarantees its artists is the initial payment for the production of the manuscript they ordered.2 If they judge that a tankobon release will not turn a profit, they are under no obligation to publish it,3 and they are in fact often very hesitant to publish tankobon.
!!! The money a manga artist gets for turning in a manuscript is calculated by the page. The majority of manga artists (and other people working for Japanese publishers) are not informed of the price of their manuscripts before they get paid. This is a long-standing tradition in the industry, and I would wager a guess that it stems from a traditional Japanese ideal of being stoic about money, especially when you’re an artist, and that it hasn’t gone out of style because it’s convenient for the corporations. What this results in is a new manga artist being asked to finish a manuscript for publication, paying for all expenses out of pocket, and then realizing after the fact that they worked at a loss, or that they might as well have flipped burgers.
!!! What this results in for most up-and-coming manga artist is this: They’re offered to serialize a manga. You might think this means they’ve made it big, and the manga artist probably thinks so too. They accept, and hire assistants and buy all the necessities. Every week, they produce a manuscript at a loss. This loss accumulates. Their series is canceled, and no tankobon is released – or it is released, but doesn’t sell enough to cover their loss. All they are left with after a serialization is debt.
!!! There are no formal procedures for negotiating the price of manuscripts. Sometimes, the price just rises – and the artist is informed by noticing more money in their bank. If an artist negotiates to have their price raised, they will often be told that higher manuscript prices will mean less offers, so they should retract their demands.
!!! I need to be fair and also illustrate things from the publisher’s point of view. The reason publishers are so hesitant to release manga tankobon is this: Japanese bookstores do not buy the books on their shelves. They “borrow” them, and are free to return them to the wholesaler, who are free to return them to the publisher (but usually do not; the publisher pays the wholesaler for their warehouse). Any tankobon (or magazine4) not sold is a direct loss for the publisher.
!!! Paradoxically, this is also the reason Japanese publishers need to keep publishing books and magazines even when they know most of them will not turn a profit. This is a bit complicated, but in simple terms, the relationship between the wholesaler and the publisher works like this: The wholesaler pays the publisher for the items the wholesaler circulates to bookstores. This usually results in a debt for the publisher, because there is no actual sale until the items have reached the end user (the bookstore customer) – until then, there is the potential that the publisher must buy back every single item (this potential = debt). In order to cover this debt, they must pass on more new items to the wholesaler. Because if they do not, then they need to pay their debt and take back their stock, and that means the publisher will likely go bankrupt.
!!! Another reality about manga publishers: the Japanese publishing industry has been in a recession for a long time, and to be quite honest, magazines do not sell. I’m not sure if Japanese publishers are still possessed by the ghost of times past when weeklies sold like hot bread and there was an increased circulation and an increased revenue with every issue, but whatever the reason, Japanese publishers are currently publishing manga magazines at a constant, accumulating loss, and do not seem to have any intention to stop. Weekly Shonen Jump (with its 2 million issues per week) is an exception, not the rule. Just like its artists, manga publishers expect to cover this loss with tankobon sales. And because the profit is bigger if you sell a million copies of one item, compared to a million copies combined of 10 items5, publishers are constantly on the lookout for the next One Piece and refuse to let go of any property that’s covering their losses.
!!! Which leads me to Togashi Yoshihiro. I often hear people speak of how Togashi needs to “do his job”. However, this is a misnomer. Togashi is not an employee of Weekly Shonen Jump, or Shueisha. Togashi (just like the vast majority of manga artists) is an independent subcontractor. The only guarantee Jump offers him is to pay for any manuscript he produces which they choose to print in their magazines. Jump is under no obligation to 1) cover his expenses, 2) guarantee that he has a job next week or even tomorrow, or 3) publish his manga as tankobon. Jump chooses to do all these things. Why? Because Togashi’s manga sell enough to cover some of their accumulating losses.
In the vast majority of cases, the facts I described above mean that Jump can fuck over any subcontractor they want to. But fact is, Togash is in the rare position to have Jump by its balls rather than the other way around. He doesn’t have to play by the publishers’ rules to make a living as a manga artist.
Now, you might disagree with what I’m saying. You might be of the opinion that these are just free market forces at play, and if a manga artist can’t survive under the system as it is now, then that’s just social Darwinism at play and they need to find another job6. You are free to think so! I disagree, and I don’t know of any other industry where independent subcontractors are hired without a signed contract or a budget that both parties agreed to, but you’re free to your opinions about how the market economy should function7. But you need to stop telling manga artists to “do their job” without any knowledge of what doing this “job” actually entails.
1. Sometimes, especially monthly shojo series can be drawn by one or two people depending on how fast the manga artist is. Ikeno Koi, for example, rarely utilized assistants. If you want to make a normal living as a manga artist, this is probably the ideal.
2. An exception is magazines paying artists an “exclusivity fee”, which a lot of Shueisha magazines do, including Jump. This is a fee they pay their artists and potential artists in exchange for the artist never drawing manga for any other magazine, and the reason you will see a lot of Jump manga advertised as “Jump is the only place you can read manga by Kishimoto-sensei!”
3. To be fair, the reverse is also true. If a manga artist wants to take their manuscript to another publisher to get a tankobon released, this is the artist’s right.
4. The “circulation” number of magazines that Japanese publishers use in their advertising is the number printed and circulated to bookstores, not sold. Since bookstores can return everything that didn’t sell, the actual sales might be as low as half the circulation.
5, Because of initial publishing costs.
6. Which most of them do.
7. Though it’s worth noting that the relationship of Japanese publishers, wholesalers, and bookstores does not follow the usual rules of a free market economy at all. For example, this relationship is why you never see bookstores mark down the prices on books the way you often do with English paperbacks (and also the reason some tankobon don’t sell as well as they might have – but that’s another complicated topic).
Sources: Manga Binbo by the artist of Black Jack ni yoroshiku is a great central resource for this type of information, but this is all things that have been discussed in a lot of different places. Another book I read recently which also mentioned details about manuscript prices is Satonaka Machiko’s Manga Nyumon. A book which goes into details about the costs of publishing and the structure of the Japanese publishing industry is Fukkan.com funsenki by Sadano Wataru.
Chakrasamvara Mandala. Thakuri early Malla Periods, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. 1100.
This ritual diagram (mandala) is conceived as the cosmic palace of the wrathful Chakrasamvara and his consort, Vajravarahi, seen at center. These deities embody the esoteric knowledge of the Yoga Tantras. Six goddesses on stylized lotus petals surround the divine couple. Framing the mandala are the eight great burial grounds of India, each presided over by a deity beneath a tree. The cemeteries are appropriate places for meditation on Chakrasamvara and are emblematic of the various realms of existence. The lower register contains five forms of the goddess Tara, a tantric adept at left, and two donors at right. This mandala is one of the earliest surviving large-scale paintings known from Nepal. Stylistic features relate it to Nepalese manuscript covers and to eastern Indian palm-leaf manuscript illustrations of the twelfth century.
We do! You can find info on how to submit manuscripts in our FAQ. Here are the basics:
We have an open submissions policy and consider tens of thousands of projects a year. Every proposal that reaches us is reviewed by at least one member of the editorial staff. We apologize in advance for replying primarily with form letters; unfortunately, there’s no other way to handle responses in a timely manner.
We do not respond to queries; please do not send them.
Your submissions packet should include:
1. The first three chapters of your book, prepared in standard manuscript format on white paper. (If your chapters are really short or really long, or you don’t use chapter breaks, you may send the first 40-60 pages of your book, provided you stay under 10,000 words.)
Standard manuscript format means margins of at least 1 inch all the way around; indented paragraphs; double-spaced text; and Times New Roman in 12 pitch. Please use one side of the page only. Do not justify the text. Do not bind the manuscript in any way. Make sure the header of the ms. includes your name and/or the title of the book as well as the page number (on every page).
2. A synopsis of the entire book. The synopsis should include all important plot elements, especially the end of the story, as well as character development for your main characters. The synopsis should run between three and ten pages in standard manuscript format. The first page of the synopsis and the first page of the text should also include your name and contact information and the title of the manuscript.
3. A dated cover letter that includes your name and contact information and the title of the submitted work. Briefly tell us what genre or subgenre the submission falls into and mention any qualifications you have that pertain to the work. Please list any previous publications in paying markets.
4. A self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope for our reply letter. We understand that writers living outside the United States may not be able to supply International Reply Coupons. You may submit regardless; please send a self-addressed, business-size envelope for our reply. We recycle all proposals in accordance with corporate sustainability directives and local laws. If you do not include an SASE, you will not receive a reply.
Please send only one proposal in each submissions packet. If you have written a series, send a proposal for the first book only. If we like what we see, we’ll ask for the rest.
Address submissions as follows: Acquisitions Editor, Children’s and Young Adult Division. Note: We publish books for the chapter book, middle grade, and young adult audiences. We do not publish picture books.
young witches they are new to an old tradition, tracing again over the path drawn by their sisters, mothers, grandmothers. they pour over aging manuscripts in poster covered bedrooms, weave good luck charms into friendship bracelets. they learn, they grow.
Bonaventure de Bagnoregio (circa 1217−74), the great Franciscan theologian also known as “the Seraphic Doctor,” began writing Legenda major sancti Francisci (The life and miracles of Saint Francis of Assisi) in 1260. He compiled documents and testimonies from former companions of Saint Francis who were still alive. This manuscript in small format is an anonymous translation of this work from Latin into French. The name of its recipient is unknown, but it is known that she was a private individual, most likely a lady from high society, as folio 91 verso seems to indicate. The manuscript is well written in a bold bastard script, 25 lines to a page, on 143 leaves. It is magnificently decorated with 14 large and beautifully painted miniatures (two with borders) illustrating the first part of the manuscript, covering the life of Saint Francis, and 49 miniatures in the second part, illustrating his miracles. The two large miniatures with borders show Saint Francis giving his clothes to a beggar and Saint Francis receiving the stigmata. Before him kneels the figure of the lady for whom the book was executed. A piece has been cut from the lower margin of each of the leaves, apparently removing the coat-of-arms. The illumination was done in Anjou. The work is reminiscent of the Beaussant family altar piece, which can be viewed in the treasure room of the Angers Cathedral.
”Avec plusieurs Instruments” (For variety of instruments)
Dated March 24, 1721 and dedicated to the margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg. The image above showcases the manuscripts’ cover page of J.S. Bach’s (1685-1750) Six Brandenburg Concerto’s.
The Brandenburg concerto’s were revolutionary for a couple of reasons: use of instrumentation, ensemble roles, and Bach’s uptake with the concerto series. By the time Bach completed the Brandenburg concerti, other composers such as, Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) had refined the genre. The evolution of the genre began with at the most 3 to 4 musicians playing and eventually evolved into a back-and-forth solo instrument verses ensemble exchange comprised of three-movements in a ritornello form. The platform of the concerto interested Bach enough to conceive his own. The most notable is the 5th Brandenburg Concerto BWV 1050. The importance of this concerto is the transformation of the harpsichord from a continuo instrument (accompanying instrument-to the first time in history) to a solo instrument with a cadenza section. In addition, the 5th Brandenburg concerto utilizes the traverse flute, which is a wooden relative of the modern flute. The exchange of instrumentation and roles that the instruments played within this concerto placed a new dialogue and may have ignited Bach’s interest in writing later harpsichord concerti.
Writing the first draft of your manuscript is only the beginning. You know that you’ll have to return to the pages and make some changes, but where do you start? There’s a lot more to revising than checking for typos and grammar errors (although, as you’ll find out, it’s important to fix those too). Here is my list of fourteen things that you can (and should) revise in your manuscript before you consider it done:
Is there enough backstory in your manuscript? Is there too much? Backstory is one of the trickiest things to get right, because it’s so easy to cross the line of over-sharing information. Information dumps can ruin a manuscript, but not telling the reader enough about your characters’ pasts can lead to plot holes and confusing conflict.
Revising Tip: Highlight all the background information in your manuscript and make sure there’s a healthy balance between it and the “current” story. Unless flashbacks are used as a narrative device, your backstory should take up no more than 25% of the total text. #2. Character Development
Your characters should grow throughout the pages of your manuscript. Your story should show how a character has changed from the beginning. How do the events of your story impact the characters’ feelings and actions? A character’s personality needs to jump off the page, and the reader should have a good sense of who that character is (why they do what they do, how they act, what they look like) at the end of your story.
Revising Tip: To find out if the description of your characters on the page is how you envision them in your mind, ask your beta readers and critique partners to send you photos of celebrities that look like your main characters after they’re done reading the manuscript. This should help you determine whether or not you’ve accurately described your characters. #3. Conflict
The main conflict of your story needs to be explicitly clear—the earlier in the book, the better. Hook your readers right away by letting them know what they should stick around for. The conflict is the central part of your story, so it’s important that readers know what to expect. Make sure the events leading up to the big reveal hint enough at high stakes to keep readers reading. #4. Description
Readers like books because they transport them to another place (and maybe time). Don’t underestimate the power of description. You don’t need lengthy paragraphs of prose, but using a few, select words to describe your characters, your setting, and the object in the environment will make your story come to life. #5. Formatting
This one is important if your manuscript doesn’t follow a traditional format. If your manuscript isn’t divided into regular chapters, or you have unusual things like pictures, time stamps, etc., now is the time to make sure everything is smooth. #6. Dialogue
This can always use revising. Dialogue is difficult to get right because we hardly ever write exactly how we speak. Make sure every section of dialogue sounds authentic. You also want to make sure the dialogue you’re including moves the story along—pointless conversation about the weather does not need a place in your novel. #7. Grammar
Now is a good time to check for silly grammar mistakes. You can do a closer copy edit later on, but don’t pass over any mistakes you notice just because you plan to “get to it later.“
Does your novel move too quickly? Does it drag for a few chapters? Fix this. Your manuscript should have a consistent, quick pace to keep readers interested and move the story along.
Revising Tip: Have someone new read every draft of your manuscript. Don’t tell them anything about the story, and ask them afterwards if they struggled getting through any of the chapters. #9. Plot Holes
This is probably the most important element to double check during early revisions. Does your manuscript cover all the little details? You don’t want to have any plot holes remaining at the end of the story (unless you intend to write a sequel that addresses whatever is missing). If you finish reading your manuscript and there are questions lingering, then you need to re-work your ending or take out some subplots that you don’t have time to complete. #10. Repetitive Words
After you take a break from your manuscript, you’ll notice little things about it that drive you crazy. Repetitive words will be one of those things. You’ll most likely use the word “just” more often than necessary… and you’ll find your own writing quirks that need to go. Be aware of how often you’re using similar words next to one another.
Revising Tip: Use the search function to find common words and delete them from as many sentences as you possibly can. Your prose will sound much better without them. #11. Typos
Similar to checking for grammar mistakes, now is the time to fix any typos you notice while reading through your manuscript. A closer copy edit will inevitably catch even more mistakes later on, but don’t ignore the ones you spot now! #12. Voice
The voice of your manuscript should jump off the page. If you read a paragraph that sounds drab, consider re-writing it to show off more of your voice as the writer, or the voice of your narrator. #13. Word Count
Your manuscript will probably benefit from losing a few thousand words. This is okay. Kill your darlings. Remove whatever does not benefit the story. Your novel will thank you for it. #14. Worldbuilding
The setting of your manuscript needs to be fully developed, even if you’re not writing a speculative fiction story. While fantasy and science fiction stories often require more worldbuilding than a contemporary story (for example), a believable setting is always necessary in a novel.
Revising Tip: Highlight all the worldbuilding elements as you read through your manuscript, then look at the information separate from the rest of the story. Is everything there that needs to be there? Have you shared everything with your readers?
1. Brush up on your grammar and punctuation. There is a sea of information about grammar and punctuation online. Research it, learn it, and practice it. Just make sure you’re getting your info
from reputable sites that know what they’re talking about. I recommend
Grammar Girl, Purdue’s OWL, and—for the most part—GrammarBook.com. You
can also check out the latest blog series of mine, The Grammar Grind,
for short but information-packed articles about grammar and punctuation
as well as additional tips and examples. I’ve included exceptions and
my personal style preferences in most of the articles.
2. Choose a style guide and stick with it. This one is extremely important for consistency. Chicago Manual of Style and Associated Press
are the two most prevalent style guides in the publishing industry.
Most fiction publishers typically use the former, and several nonfiction
publishing houses and publishers in journalism use the latter.
Whichever one you choose, make sure you stick with it throughout the
whole manuscript. Both cover issues on punctuation, style, and give
3. Cater to your audience. When editing your book,
think about the audience you’ve written it for. Make sure that the
content is age appropriate and that the plot elements are relatable to
the book’s audience. If you’re catering to a YA market, make sure you
include typical struggles of teens and young adults; they’re typically
“coming of age” stories. If you’re catering to an adult audience, don’t
focus on the characters’ inner realizations as much as the events going
on around them. In both cases, use dialogue and a style of narrative
that is fitting for both the story itself and your primary market.
4. Check for inconsistencies. If there is one thing
lovers of books can’t stand, it’s internal inconsistencies. Think
age/birthdays, time lapses, order of events, characters’ personalities,
environment, narrative style, dialogue—pretty much any place where you
could have a slipup. Use an outline or other guide to keep your story’s
facts and characters straight. I highly recommend a program called
Scrivener. You can use it to keep track of character traits, write
individual chapters, keep notes about scenes or characters, and pretty
much whatever else you like.
5. Take others’ comments into consideration. I know
this one is tough, but listening to others is an important step to
improving your writing. If all your beta readers are telling you that
they have a hard time picturing a setting or that they had trouble
getting through a particular scene, LISTEN. There’s a reason you’re
getting the same comment over and over. By the same token, if you get
one or two comments about a character or line of dialogue being off,
look into it, but make the decision yourself. If the vast majority of
your beta readers are okay with it, chances are it’s probably fine. And
if you’re the one giving the critique, be specific with your feedback.
Comments like “I really like this piece!” or “This scene didn’t feel
right,” isn’t very informative or helpful. Instead, say things like, “I
like the flow of the narrative here,” “This character is really witty!”
or “The dress she was wearing seemed a bit elaborate for the scene.”
6. Cut the fluff. I’ve mentioned this as a
writing/editing tip before, but if the scene doesn’t propel the plot or
spark a change in one or more of the characters, cut it. The secret to
writing a great book is crafting it in such a way that every piece of
information in it is useful. Readers will skip past the fluff, and if
there’s enough of it in your book, they could be discouraged from
7. Double check your work. Even for trained
professionals, it’s easy to miss a few things the first time around.
This is especially true for grammar and punctuation, but it’s also true
for fact checking, character development, and worldbuilding. Don’t leave
problems unsolved. Every issue should be resolved or at least heading
in a clear direction. The only exception to this is in the case of book
series, but even then, each book should be able to stand on its own.
8. Add layers. Books are like ogres, or onions—or
both! One of the biggest parts of the editing process is adding in
layers. Each time you revise a piece, add in elements that give
characters depth, enrich the plot, or add to the environment. But be
careful not to go overboard with it. There is a fine line between layers
9. Take your time. Rushing the editing process will
leave your book lacking every time, so just don’t do it. If you’re going
to take all the time and effort to write an entire manuscript, do it
right. Take your time going through it line by line and scene by scene
to make it as perfect as possible before publishing. The goal should be a
professional piece that is marketable.
10. Read, write, and research. The secret to
becoming a better editor is becoming a better writer. Do your homework:
read books that are well written; practice your writing skills; research
topics you’re including, even if you’re already familiar with them. The
more you do these things, the stronger your editing skills will become.
hello! this might sound a little silly, but which is the appropriate font size for writing? Some of my chapters consist in 24 pages, and I think that's too much (I use Franklin Gothic Book, size 14) With the appropriate font size, how many pages should I use for a chapter? I hope you get me, english is not my first language
Usually it’s Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double spaced, but it can depend on the publishing house. If you plan on submitting professionally, then I recommend:Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript It’s the best, covering different kinds of submissions, how to format your query letter, and how to get the specifics down. Everything from margin size, to typeface, to paper, to helpful submission hints.
Chapter length usually depends on who you’re writing for, a Middle Grade chapter is usually going to be shorter than an adult novel. Chapter breaks are basically just scene breaks, end them where they feel natural. Try to limit yourself to fifteen pages a chapter, about 4,000-7,000 words in an 80,000 word novel. The goal is to make sure you have a pace which keeps the story moving and end each chapter in a place where it wraps up something but also leaves a question which encourages your reader to keep turning the page.
Chapter breaks, really, are something to hammer out when you’re revising. When you’re writing the first draft, don’t worry about font, or size, or line breaks, or what size the margins should be, or anything else. If writing in Franklin Gothic 14 pt font is where you’re most comfortable, go for it.
Sometimes, I write in times new roman, 12pt, single spaced because it’s less intimidating than something that looks official. I can’t write in any program other than Word. I import the pieces of my novel into the Scrivener and use that for formatting scenes into chapters, but not for my first drafts.
When I’m revising and want to rethink where I’m breaking my chapters, I read each one and pay special attention to when I start to getting tired or bored. Now, I’m Type 1 ADHD, I have a really short attention span. But there are plenty of times in my writing where I just keep going, I’ve ended up with 10,000 and even 15,000 word chapters. However, when I edit, I try to read like a reader not a writer. I ask myself: if this was another author’s work, would I be getting bored? Skipping ahead? Tired? When my brain goes ‘ugh so long’ and I don’t want to keep going, that’s when I know it’s time to break the chapter.
Finishing a chapter feels like an accomplishment. Each chapter has it’s own beginning and it’s own end, even though it’s part of a larger story. Each one a reader completes should feel like they’re making progress in the story and keeps them eager to turn the page. I feel like I need to get the end of that chapter and I can put the book down, I hate stopping in the middle. I do this with RPG questlines too, my brain goes “need to finish this quest!” because each quest is it’s own little story inside the bigger one and if I don’t finish it I’ll lose track.
There is no real rule of thumb for how long a chapter should be. You have to go with what feels right. (And then find out if your beta readers agree with you.)
My biggest personal theory that I bring to the table with revising is this: I do not believe I owe my time and attention to anyone when it comes to my entertainment. If I get bored with a book, skip ahead in a movie, get tired with a game, then I put it down. I’m a huge completionist when it comes to stories that grab me. If I find a show I like, I’ll binge watch all the episodes. I read the Spellsong Cycle and Protector of the Small at least once every year. I own several different copies of each book in the Wheel of Time because I perpetually lose them and need a complete collection, okay? When I love a book or a series, I’ll hole up on a weekend and finish it that weekend. I speed read, I can read 600 page books within 6 hours. If I love it, I don’t put it down. Or if I do, I always pick it up again.
However, my Steam library is full of games I tried but didn’t click with me. There are seasons of some of my favorite shows I’ve never watched because I lost interest. My shelf is full of books I never got past the first twenty pages on or only managed to force myself to the halfway point. Many of those are books which sell well, are very popular, and have legions of fans but I didn’t find I cared. So, I stopped.
I don’t owe my time to anyone just because I bought, borrowed, or rented it. This includes my own writing.
When I revise, I take that attitude in with me. I read it like I would if I were reading it for the first time and the beauty is that I get to change it. When I revise, I create the book that holds my attention. The one I want to read.
SARASVATI Mahal Library in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, is one of the few still operating medieval libraries in the world. It holds a collection of centuries-old palm leaf manuscripts and reference books covering a wide range of topics – science, astrology, indigenous medicine, music, language, literature, philosophy, art and architecture – comprising over 60,000 volumes.
Time to RECOGNIZE: Talking with the editors of a new anthology for bisexual men
Get to know Dr. Herukhuti (also known as H. Sharif Williams) and Robyn Ochs – two vibrant American bisexual activists with a groundbreaking new anthology for bisexual men.
Sarah from Bisexual Books: There has never been a bisexual men’s anthology like Recognize before. Where did the idea come from?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: Robyn edits the Bi Women Quarterly, a free publication she promotes at her speaking engagements. Over time, numerous men approached her to ask whether there an equivalent publication for men existed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t. So Robyn decided to do a one-time issue of Bi Women for men so that at least one resource would exist. She put out a call for submissions and that was the seed that eventually turned into this book.
BB: How did you two come to collaborate on this project?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: Dr. Herukhuti saw the call for submissions and contacted Robyn. After a few conversations, we agreed to became co-editors. The anthology introduction shares the entire story of our experience together.
BB: Why do you think it’s important for bisexual men to tell their stories in anthologies like this?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: One of the contributors told us a story recently that speaks directly to your question. He had left his copy of the anthology in a local venue he had been frequenting for years. When he returned, one of the employees approached him and handed him the book. He knew it was his book because the contributor’s picture was on the cover. After some conversation, the employee told him that he not only recognized him on the cover but chose to browse through the book, found the contributor’s essay and read it. The employee told our contributor that the essay brought to the surface questions that he might be bi*, but being married
to a woman and having four children, he had never done more than fantasized about it. The anthology created the opportunity for these men to recognize each other, their shared experiences as well as the ways in which they were different. It opened up a space of the contributor to provide support for this man in his journey to live his truth.
That’s what makes it important for bisexual men to tell their stories.
BB: How did you come up with the title and cover pictures?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: We spent a long time trying to come up with a title. We searched through the manuscript for keywords and themes. We looked at the titles of other books. We looked at the chapter titles of other books. We talked and talked and talked–trying to come up with a title that we both liked and that would work for the marketing of the anthology. Finally, after much effort Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men emerged.
We asked the contributors to submit photographs of themselves that we could use for the manuscript. Our cover designer, Jewel Hampton, went through the album we had of all the contributors and chose the photographs that are on the cover. Early in the process, before we had worked with Jewel, we thought about having all the contributor photographs on the cover but to get them all on the cover would require them to be so small you couldn’t recognize anyone. Well, obviously not being able to recognize anyone in their photographs would not work for an anthology titled Recognize.
BB: Bisexual men is such a broad label, covering men of all different races, sizes, abilities, and gender identities. Can you tell us a little bit about the diversity in this anthology?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: It was important to both of us that the anthology include a diverse set of contributors. Diverse in all senses of the word. We did a lot to make that happen. We extended submission deadlines. We shared the call for submissions in spaces where we expected men from various backgrounds would see it. We leveraged the diversity of the editorial team to demonstrate a commitment to diversity. With all those efforts, we still would have liked to have had contributors from each continent.
BB: This anthology is being published with the proceeds going towards the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC). How did that partnership come along?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: The Bisexual Resource Center published Robyn’s previous books (Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and The Bisexual Resource Guide), and this new anthology was in close alignment with the organization’s educational mission.
BB: What else are you two working on?
Dr. Herukhuti and Robyn Ochs: Dr. Herukhuti is working on his second book, a follow up to his first book Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality, Volume 1. The second book will explore how non-monosexual culture can be created to build more socially just and ecologically healthy intentional communities. He is also developing a speaking tour to engage audiences in the critical examination of race, gender, class and sexuality.
In addition to continuing to edit the Bi Women Quarterly, Robyn is working on getting a Spanish translation of VisiBIlidad: Bisexuales Alrededor del Mundo, a Spanish translation of Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World, out in 2015.
5 Ways to Choose an Amazing Title for Your Manuscript
The title of your book is incredibly important. Even though a title will inevitably change through the publishing process (books are rarely called the same thing during the drafting and publication stages), having a great title can make your book stand out at every step. I’ve personally requested material based just on titles alone, so I know a great title is a powerful thing.
Here are five ways to choose an amazing title for your manuscript:
1. Picture the cover image in your mind. You’ve spent a lot of time writing your manuscript, and there’s probably a specific book cover image that you picture whenever you think about seeing it published (even if you know there’s a good chance it will look completely different in reality). Come up with a title that matches the image in your mind.
2. Evoke a feeling. How do you want readers to feel after reading your book? Happy? Sad? Whatever it is, set that emotion and come up with a string of words to evoke that feeling. This sets the tone for your story before the reader even turns the first page.
3. Use your character’s name(s). You’ve already spent a long time thinking about the name of your protagonist, so why not turn that name into your book’s first impression? The Adventures of X. The Sorrows of X. The Whatever of X. This system often works great for series.
4. Highlight key phrases in your manuscript. If there’s an important moment or section of dialogue in your manuscript, highlight one-, two-, or three-word sections that stand out to you. Pulling key words from your manuscript is an easy way to find something that represents the entire book.
5. Choose one word to summarize the book. Pull out a piece of paper and brainstorm single words that describe your story as a whole. Pick the best one (that hasn’t been used multiple times before—check Google) and run with it. A thesaurus will also be helpful.
By popular demand here’s part two…. dedicated to @lalawo1 who asked for this in the first place.
usually filled with the rambunctious energy of her often sleeping pupil.
Normally Thea could be left to sleep until the sun was at its highest peak in
the midday sky…that was yesterday. Today Thea along with the few occupants of
the home were up before Felicity had time to bemoan her drawn drapes. She was
awakened to the barely contained squeals from beside her bedside
table. “Lissy come on….he’s here, he’s actually here!”
Felicity rolled her eyes from beneath closed
lids, “Thea don’t you normally choose to rise around say noon!” she yawned
before attempting to bury her head beneath her spare pillow.
“Lissy! He’s home for the first time since he
took me in…and…”
Thea let the and hang there like a rain cloud
until Felicity caved and rolled onto her back. “I’ve created a monster…”
she moaned before giving her a pointed glare. “Finish your thought or say
hello to another four English lessons per day!” Felicity threatened tiredly
which made Thea clutch at her sides in amusement.
Felicity continued to glare as the younger
woman’s head fell over her stomach. Her body warmed with affection despite her
irritation as she lightly let her fingers trail through her hair. “Stop
shaking me with your giggling and tell me why you’re really so excited
Thea’s head shifted so Felicity could see the
mixture of warmth and unrestrained affection within her chocolate brown
eyes. “He was my brother’s best friend, he’s the last piece of my
family…” Felicity caught the sadness of the young woman’s past shadowing the
happiness of the moment.
“Hey…” she nearly purred while placing a
hand over her warmed cheek. “No sad thoughts okay?”
Thea nodded against her belly and smiled
brightly, “So in honor of Ollie’s homecoming can we skip our lesson for
Felicity caught the cheshire smile and once
more glared, “You’re going to school Thea…” her tone sounded clipped but
Thea’s smile just grew. “What am I missing?” Felicity groaned.
Thea adjusted her head so her chin was near
the top of her covered belly button and simply stared at the oddly drawn
curtains. Felicity followed her line of sight and
sighed, “Snowstorm…perfect…” but followed up with, “That just
means I’m the teacher today…”
Thea’s smile fell instantly and within moments
Felicity’s grew. “Sadist…” Thea groaned as Felicity simply patted her
“Move it Merlyn…”
Thea glared, “I truly loathe you…”
Felicity winked and then giggled herself as Thea’s head left the hallow of her
stomach. Felicity let her sulk towards the door as she moaned, “Horrible,