May 2nd, 2007

plugging away

Writing aids and standards

Tonight's the "code freeze" for the May issue, i.e. we're finalizing the story documents for upload. If I asked for beta edits and/or rewrites and you're not yet done, your story will appear in the next issue instead (or whenever you decide to resubmit). A week-long grace period isn't enough time for rigorous, multi-round beta editing, it turns out, but the point of the exercise is that all of this should be taken care of before the submission is handed in the first time. So... now you know. ^^;

I tried to give specific, detailed feedback to everyone I thought needed it, instead of a vague "grammar mistakes, get it beta-read," because the least I can do is let you know what issues you and your beta(s) ought to work on. But now that I've done it once, I'm not going to keep on doing it, unless you're a newbie. XD Shousetsu Bang*Bang is not an English class! Nor is it a fiction writing workshop! I am just being nice! The aim is to arrive at the point where I receive the story, read it once, fix the odd typo as I scan the text, and fire back an email saying thankee muchly for submitting, THE END. That is because this is all I (and Erin) have time for. If all goes well maybe the two-week lag between the submission deadline and the issue upload can be reduced? SHOCKING, I KNOW.

In short: I still love you all, and if I said you need to get your writing betaed, you need to get your writing betaed. Yes, this means you'll have to finish writing and have your story edited by a third party (possibly more than once) before the submission deadline. If you don't, I'm liable to bounce it and leave you to draw your own conclusions. The beta reader pool is here to stay, of course, though (as with illustrators) you'll have to sign up separately to each issue with the commitments you're willing to handle. To avoid blind-leading-the-blind situations, I ask that you volunteer as a beta reader only if you yourself are confident of your spelling, grammar and syntax, and that words mean what you think they mean when you use them in sentences. XD Everything else - style, plot, and characterization - is gravy.

Oh, and REMOVE SMART QUOTES (SINGLE, DOUBLE AND APOSTROPHE) FROM YOUR FILE BEFORE SENDING IT IN. Half of you didn't do this, hence the all-caps bold. I have to send your story back and ask you to do it, which wastes everyone's time. Sometimes I fire it back saying please rewrite such-and-such and remove smart quotes, and the file returns to me duly rewritten and still filled with smart quotes. And so on.

This post will be linked from the community profile. The following are resources that might prove useful:

* Things to Look Out For, by dipping_sauce and petronia (yr editors). Needs updating.

* All the punc that's fit to ...tuate, by ladysisyphus. The essentials of English punctuation.

* Common Errors in English. Everyone should read through this once.

* Turkey City Lexicon. For use in SF writing workshops, but many of these points apply equally to all genre fiction writing (or all writing, period). Though I thunder that SSB*B is not a workshop, I do think that whatever scene(?) it's part of could use an analogous document.

* How to Write a Sex Scene, by resonant8. Genre-specific help. XD