Conspiracy Of Shadows: Update From The Editor
Phyllis Irene Radford
Or: Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Here I am looking down the throat of my first official gig as editor of an anthology saying “gulp.” What did I let myself in for?
Fortunately I have our Editor In Chief Laura Anne Gilman looking over my shoulder making sure I don’t screw up too much. And I’m learning there is more to this job than just reviewing the stories as they come in, asking for revisions and tweaks to make sure they all fit into the shared world, and then passing them on the formatter.
There is an accepted procedure in the publishing world and Laura Anne is making sure we follow it, more or less. Certainly BVC is a new paradigm in publishing. But we have to play nice with the established paradigm as well.
So first up, the “committee” spent a few weeks brainstorming, coming up with a bible and a premise. Then Laura Anne went off into her corner and turned our coherent and good statement into spectacular ad copy. Some of it may very well turn up as the traditional back cover blurb. The statement as a whole we will put together with our play list of authors and thumbnails of their stories as a proposal for whatever venue we choose for publication, print or electronic.
Now here’s the enthusiasm, or lack thereof part. Some of our authors had their thumbnails to me in a matter of hours and wanted me to start editing their completed stories within days. Hold back your glorious prose, please. Edit and tighten the text, or just let them sit and simmer a bit. Since this is a shared world, we want all the thumbnails in place and posted in a secret location so that the authors can see what the others are doing, steal ideas, borrow characters, or shift to make consistent with the world. We will tweak the bible at this point if someone has introduced a wonderful new concept or character.
Other authors I may have to get out a cattle prod to get one paragraph of premise out of them by the deadline. We all have lives and careers to work around. I understand. But please, one paragraph is all I ask at this point.
As editor that’s part of my job: to herd these wild cats and keep the material flowing at a steady and reasonable rate in the order it’s supposed to flow.
What about my own story for Conspiracy Of Shadows? Shadow Dancer by Irene Radford. I’m stealing writing time between other projects and responsibilities. And then I started up an email chat with Judith Tarr over her story thumbnail, we started brainstorming and lo and behold our stories mesh perfectly. We’ll be trading characters back and forth and have several potential sequels set up and raring to go.
But for now I have to curb my own enthusiasm, write my story when I can, and remind a few authors about their deadline. Again.
So that’s where we sit for now. Next week, if she can steal time from her schedule, Laura Anne will talk about the next phase of this process.