November 2001 Archives

11/28/01

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At this point you're probably wondering, how much can this chick write about herself in one day? Well, I've got a month to catch up on! Unlucky you, having to slog through it all just to find out what the status of VRT is. So let's talk about something besides the book for a minute.


First and foremost, the cards are being printed! !!! Someone from Llewellyn's art department is in Belgium right now doing the press check. (I wonder if she felt uncomfortable about traveling to Europe, the way things are right now? In one sense, it might be the safest time of all to travel. Because everyone's paying so much more attention.)


Anyway, I hear that the cards look great! I can't wait to see proofs. I'm not sure how much actual input I'll get, but still, it will be fantastic to see the actual cards on the actual paper stock, the way they'll actually look in the actual deck. (trivia question: Has anyone got a copy of The Rutles? What's the name of that reporter played by Eric Idle who says "actually" over and over?)


In other news, the deadline for the book illustrations is bearing down on me. Yes, I know I promised I'd talk about something besides the book. But since these are illustrations that go inside the book, it doesn't really count.


I had done a bunch of scans some time ago, for these illustrations. And I sent a CD with a few samples to Hollie. She wrote back and said that they were very concerned about their ability to print them, so I should hold off and not do any more until they figured out what to do.


And so I turned my attention to other things, and like an idiot, never noticed that weeks had gone by and I hadn't done those illustrations. Didn't think about them at all in fact, until Joanna wrote just before Thanksgiving to say that I should go ahead and do what we had talked about. And then she wrote again this past Monday, to remind me that the book goes to the printer on December 6, and how were those illustrations coming along?


So now I am in a bit of a spot. I'll have to finish them this weekend, to send to Joanna on Monday. That will only give her two/three days (depending on how early Monday she gets them) to make sure they work and drop them into the book. I had intended to put the files on a CD and FedEx to her, but there won't be time for that. The files will be huge, too big to email, so I will probably end up posting them on my ftp server for her to download.

11/28/01

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Now where was I? Oh right, the book.


I wanted to be a "good author" and not add too many complications to the process. One thing Georg had warned me about was adding new material. He worked in production at Raven, and authors would sometimes add new paragraphs or more, about entirely new ideas, when they were only supposed to be copyediting. Apparently this was a problem for them because it would throw off the page-count and just make their life difficult in general.


We had been asked to add some material -- like Notes on Sources -- that probably did increase the page count. I'm not sure how much of a problem that really is, and they did ask for the additions. So I just wrote a note to Joanna that she could omit them if the additional pages are a problem.


However, I couldn't restrain myself from also adding lines in a couple of places that were entirely new. I know, I wasn't supposed to do that. I just couldn't resist! I was in the library, looking for a citation I had neglected to write down. I wasn't even sure what book the quote was from, so I had pulled out a stack of books from our bibliography & was scanning them all. Tedious, eh? That'll teach me to write down sources the first time around!


Turns out that the reason I hadn't written it down, was that it was from the same page of the same book, a biography of Edward VII, as the quote immediately below it. I guess I had assumed that they "went together" so I didn't need to cite both. I hate the way that looks -- to have two footnotes together, from the exact same place -- so I looked up the source that my source had used.


That book, a biography of Queen Mary, was much earlier & cited original letters rather than another biography (what's the term for that? a more primary source?) so I thought it was a good addition. Best of all, the Duke library had it, so I could get it out and look up the quote for myself. That way I can honestly call it a "work cited."

The other additions I shouldn't have made were to the King of Wands and Swords, based on Disraeli and Gladstone, respectively. You see, while I was looking for the biography of Queen Mary, I discovered that the library had several other volumes in the series of letters between Queen Victoria and her daughter Vicky (Empress Frederick of Germany). I had used one volume extensively, so I was kicking myself for not having found the others over the summer when we were writing.


I couldn't help but take one and browse through it, even though I should have finished my work on the book and gone home. Reading through, I found Victoria's letter telling her daughter about Disraeli's death and how much she would miss him. And another letter in which Victoria complained bitterly that Gladstone was the most tedious man who could ever be Prime Minister. It was exactly what we had been writing about, so I just had to include it.


Unfortunately, adding two books to the bibliography may have increased the page count. I hope not, but the bibliography got rearranged so much that it's hard to tell. I'm not really sure how serious a problem it is to add a page. I hope not too much.


In the "learn something new every day" department, while working on these edits I learned that I am overly fond of commas. Almost every sentence in the proofs looked like it needed a comma, maybe two or three. I'm sure the sentences I originally wrote had tons and tons of commas in them. I'm not even sure who removed them, Georg or Joanna. In any case I restrained myself to suggesting a couple here and there.

11/28/01

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It was kind of funny to be lugging this box full of paper halfway across the country. I found myself hugging it close, "my book! my precious book!" As if there was any chance I might forget and leave it behind in the hotel room. Like Gollum and his "precious," except not as evil I hope.


It had been a long time since I had used proofreader's marks, and I never had as much practice with them as Georg, who worked for Raven-Lippicott (whose name I have probably spelled wrong) a few years ago. I've had to decipher incomprehensible changes from clients often enough; I didn't want to do that to anyone else! So I found a page of proofreader's marks online, printed them off, and kept the page next to me as I worked. I printed a page for Georg too, but I don't think he needed it.


I knew some of the marks (like one underline for italic, two for small caps, and three for upper case) from graphic design. But some of the marks are a bit arcane & I found myself wondering, is she really going to know that a dot inside a circle means a period? But I guess the whole point of a symbol set like that is that they work as long as people use them. Joanna mentioned that our changes were clear, so I guess it was worth the effort.


A bit of trivia: did you know that stet, which means "ignore this change, leave the text as it was originally," is Latin for "let it stand"? Learn something new every day I guess.

11/28/01

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It's been a long time since my last entry. And, as always when I've let it go for so long, I have a lot to catch you all up on. I'll try to split up the information into multiple entries so it's a little easier to read.


We have returned the book to our editor, Joanna. In my grand tradition of getting things done almost on time, we got it to her the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, two business days (four actual days) after our deadline. Most of the edits went fairly quickly; in fact we took the book with us and worked on it on our vacation in Austin, TX last month. I even got a couple of photos of Georg working by the pool at the groovy Austin Motel, which I highly recommend to anyone staying in Austin.


Poolside writing interludes aside, there were some changes that required more work. For example, I had messed up the citation on a couple of quotes. Those required a trip to the library. And there were several places where a whole paragraph needed to be rewritten.


Also, we had gotten the pronouns inconsistent in the "Card in Your Life" section of the court cards. If I recall correctly, we used "We" in the number cards: "We can learn from the ... but we must take care to ..." that sort of thing. But in the Court Cards, we started out with "you," and then after a couple of cards we switched to using the pronoun appropriate to the card. In other words, if we were talking about a Prince or King, we wrote "he," but we wrote "she" for the Princesses and Queens.


I think what happened was, I wrote a couple of those court card interpretations ages ago, for the Comparative Tarot mailing list. I had used a casual writing style, because I was just writing for a few friends (the list wasn't so big back then). When we finally got to writing the book, we were handling the pronouns differently, but in the rush we didn't notice the inconsistency in the earlier material.


This issue was actually our only disagreement with the editing. For the most part it was excellent; all the changes improved our clunky grammar or clarified ideas that weren't expressed well. However, it was requested that we change the pronouns to "s/he", "him or her," etc., in the court card interpretations.


I see what she's getting at, but I think it flows better if the female court cards are referred to as "she" and the male court cards as "he." We did include a paragraph in the introduction explaining that the presence of male and female images on the court cards doesn't imply that only men can experience the energy of Kings and so forth. We even have a woman -- Princess Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse -- on the Prince of Swords.


In any case, we wrote a note explaining why we thought it should stay the way it was. Joanna wrote back yesterday regarding the edits & didn't mention the matter. Which I hope means that we made our case effectively.


OK, I think that's enough for one entry. I'll write more on editing the book later today.

mini-event

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Had a great time in Delaware over the holiday. Got together with Bill Stevenson (driver of Top Cat and Whimsy), Dragonfly (driver of Shlow Mo), and a friend of Dragonfly (named Jim I think) for lunch in Newark, DE. They were much fun & full of advice.

angry monkey

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What a luxury to have the day off after returning from a vacation. I spent my day yesterday hanging out with my dogs, who were desperately happy to be home, and attaching my new booty to the car. Finally got the mah jongg players up, plus a few things on the roof, and the trunk is really shaping up.

dia de los muertos

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Just got back from a fantastic vacation in Austin, TX. My friend gave me a mermaid Barbie who lights up, has a mermaid baby, and lives in a shell that lights up too. It's amazing! I also bought some fish (a lobster, some big koi and a glow-in-the-dark jellyfish) at a store called Toy Joy.

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