Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why Your Great Big 90s Comic Book Collection Ain't Worth Much

I feel oddly vindicated by this article: I never felt my comics collection was going to have future value. I always collected stuff because I wanted to have whole complete storylines available for my reading.

Nowadays my 90s comics -- runs of Spider Man and The New Mutants and Dr. Strange -- suffer from poor storage and the occasional attacks of my children, who can't seem to put them back. When I started collecting again after college, I stuck almost exclusively to trade paperbacks and graphic novels, which have the virtue of fitting neatly on a shelf. Today I only keep the comics that fit on a single tall thin bookshelf, and periodically purge the ones I don't think I'll reread.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Holly Lisle's one-pass editing method

I think this Holly Lisle article deserves some review:

I got to it on a tip from Rebecca Schwarz. I'm trying to iterate over this process right now, but it's taking me a while.

My first reaction to it is to point out that one-pass is a misnomer. It's really two passes: a heavy editing/markup pass, and then a complete retype.

Nothing wrong with that. I see that one-pass is a catchier concept. And the actual method fits how I work very well -- I've done this before: do a hardcopy markup and then, instead of entering the markup in the prior version, type a new version from scratch, incorporating the markup as you go. It frees you to use completely new language, but the markup serves as a roadmap. It's great.

However, my writing process for the past couple of years has involved MANY complete retypes of each story, which I now see needs to change. I used to pride myself on that, now I see it as indulgent. I'll have 10 such drafts sometimes.

So far this is what I've learned from trying this out:

1. I've gotten away from marking up hardcopies at all, but it remains super useful. I'd begun to use it only for proofing, but it's a great way to do high-level revision. You can't beat the ability to flip back and forth and mark on the text.

2. Lisle says she can use this process to edit a book in two weeks. I assume she has no other job. Me, it's taking me more than two weeks to edit a 10k-word short story.

3. The main thing that distinguishes this, I think, from other processes is a focus on resolving ALL of your issues with the story in the one editing pass.  One of the reasons I end up with man passes is that I'll put off some issue to a later draft, preferring to isolate it and handle it. That's good in terms of splitting a project into small tasks, but I've clearly taken it too far.

The Big Father Essay uses permutation to drive new language

The following piece, really more poetic memoir than essay, is both a moving read, and an interesting experiment in how to make prose:

The writer used a method of permutations of sentence types (which he describes in detail). This forced him to think about sentence structure constantly.

The result is the sort of prose-poem that I really like, with a dreamy, stream of consciousness quality mixed with beats that hit you like a midday hailstone.

Yeah, ok, it made me wanna get fancy. Check it out. You won't be disappointed. I believe I found this on Metafilter.