We’re often faced with the following questions: How do I get it all done? How do I make myself write? In that vein, I’ve compiled a few tips for creating or maintaining productive routines to better face the trials of working in publishing.
From the beginning, the goal for Odsburg was to make this book unique, successful, and as beautifully odd as the story it contained. We all had similar ideas about where this book should end up; getting there, however, was an entirely different matter.
The Bad Sex in Fiction Award teaches us several things: first, many novels contain profoundly cringeworthy sex scenes; second, even great writers often flounder when they try to write about sex; and finally, there are plenty of editors who (perhaps begrudgingly, or perhaps because they too are at a loss for how to approach this subject) are letting these giggle-inducing scenes sneak through to publication. This state of affairs might lead us to wonder, Why is it so hard to write about sex? And, more importantly, what can editors do to help?
Is it really that surprising that our generation is cynical about any analogue workflows when we’ve seen several outmoded in our lifetimes? Unfortunately, it is that exact disillusionment that causes some genuinely useful pre-Y2K skills to be overlooked. Case in point: hand-marked editing.
Everyone has different ways of understanding the world around them, and in order to draw that out for a keen audience, it is necessary for an editor to make all those red lines and to work with the writer to help them dig out their own unique voice.
During my time at Ooligan, I have been told by multiple people that XML coding is the portion of the Ooligan workflow that they are most unfamiliar with and therefore most anxious about volunteering for. It’s not hard to see why XML seems daunting or confusing: the work is done by the editorial department, but it requires coding tags one would expect to see in the digital department, and the product is used exclusively by the design department. It’s easy to get lost in all of that. If the work requires coding, why isn’t it done in the digital department? If the product is only used by the design department, why don’t they do the work? To help clarify, here’s a crash course in XML.