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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

ASIM 60 And First Go At Editing

Actually, I have edited before, apart from the individual stories I did for two multi-editor ASIMs. I've published a few lovingly-crafted media fanzines. And that was before I owned my first computer. Everything was typed on a typewriter - my electronic whiz bang typewriter Merlin(because it was a w(h)iz) with the snazzy daisy wheel that let you change fonts, and that allowed you to check a sentence before printing it. We didn't have email in those days, so all my edits had to go back and forth by what was not yet known as snail mail and some of my writers were overseas. I edited a couple for other people, such as a convention I was involved with, but my own three were Tales from New Wales(Blake's 7), Trek Tales From New Wales and my Robin Of Sherwood zine, Under The Greenwood Tree. These are worth a post of their own and will get one at some stage (the ROS one got about eight awards!)

The thing is, it was a similar process, but not the same. I had to do my own layout and that just involved making it look as nice as possible, and neat. No InDesign or any such thing. And even with all the care I took, there were typos, and my choice was to fix them with liquid paper, making it messy, retyping the whole page with the potential for more errors or leaving it as was.  Not a problem now. The authors were mostly invited, as I knew they could do what I needed, and their "payment" was a contributor's copy. When it was time to print, I had help from a friend who did photocopying for a living and an overseas friend who got a master copy and printed it for me and sold it there, refusing so much as a single cent towards her dealer's table.

With this one, I am learning as I go. The stories have, so far, been mostly taken from slush, though I did ask to see a story by someone who writes the kind of fiction I needed for balance, but didn't have at the time. She is currently rewriting and has a friend who is one of Australia's best writers in that area to help, but it's a good story and will work. Our slush wrangler, Lucy, has been kindly sending me stories that have just made it to the slushpool with good scores and kept in mind the balance I needed.

And you do need balance - fantasy, SF, horror, though as I'm not a horror fan I have gone for stuff that is not too gruesome - it won't be shortlisted for the Stokers, but it will fit nicely. You need some poetry - I have three poems, one space-y, one fantasy and one Steampunky.

I am being careful with the SF. My knowledge of science is limited to what I read in New Scientist and what I read when I was researching my book on women in science. My physics knowledge is almost nonexistent! But fortunately, we do have some members of ASIM who do science for a living. I got one very beautiful story that depended on physics for its premise and, just in case, sent it on to a member who knows more than I do. He came back with a report that said there were some glaring errors. Turns out the author knew, but hadn't been able to think of any other way to express it. He thought of something else, went back and fixed it. And it's now, I think, ready to publish!

With standard mediaeval fantasy I'm on safer ground, as history is something I know better, or at least know how to look up, but I didn't have any - none that I wanted to publish, anyway.

I'm just a small way into the editing and have discovered we have some first sales here. ASIM loves first sales. It will be nice to see how these writers go in future, or if they will even come back to us when they're getting paid more than we can. Some do. In Australia, anyway, there are a lot of well known writers who do small press.

Only a few thousand words more to buy!

I will have to decide which of the stories I have to use as the basis for a cover and which artist I will ask to do it. There are some wonderful artists out there and we have some of them on our books. Which to ask?

A long way to go yet!


Lan said...

I forgot that you edit for ASIM. It must be very fulfilling doing something like that. Who do you get to do the cover artwork?

Sue Bursztynski said...

We have a pool of artists on our books. I'm the ASIM art director, so they email me samples of their work and when the time comes for a cover the editor of that issue asks me to contact the artist they feel is best suited to the story they want illoed, both for the cover and for internals. They choose him/her from a special online gallery which can only be accessed by members. Sometimes, of course, they just know someone whose work they like and make their own arrangements. When you've been around SF fandom for long enough, you tend to know a lot of artists. :)