Month: August 2019
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[untitled] is almost ten years old. Just on a conceptual level, it’s been around since late-2008. It wouldn’t be until early 2009 that we discussed the form it would take, and what we’d name it. And then on 10 September 2009, the first issue of [untitled] found its way into the world.
Back then, we were oblivious to what we were getting into. We wanted to personalise every rejection to authors, but then the workload grew overwhelming. (Apologies to the author who commended us for personalised rejections, only to receive a form rejection later on.) We wanted to release two issues a year … but, well, same problem.
Running an anthology is a lot of work. Often, you’ll see anthologies who do two or three issues, and then disappear. Enthusiasm fuels those early issues. When that runs out, you’re left with the realities. There’s lots and lots of reading, liaising with authors, editing, proofreading, layout, cover design, more proofreading, organising the printing, and the launch at the end of it all. Anthologies don’t make money either. They run at a loss. They’re passion projects.
In part, we used [untitled] as a training ground for interns to get practical experience in reading (and appraisal), editing, and dealing with authors. We’d always oversee what was happening, but interns were given that responsibility. This was a much better way to learn than listening to theory in class.
Our process was simple: two readers would read a story and recommend whether it should go to a content meeting. If it did, then everybody on the editing team read it and discussed its merits, and whether it would be accepted or rejected. These discussion were another fantastic forum for interns to learn the precepts of good storytelling.
And that’s what it was about: good storytelling. We didn’t care about genre. We accepted contemporary fiction, satire, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, experimental … well, it just had to be a good story – the sort where you want to read just one more page, only to stay up late and read the whole thing.
Along the way, we’ve published the likes of Ryan O’Neill (winner of the 2017 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Their Brilliant Careers), A.S. Patrić (winner of the 2016 Miles Franklin for Black Rock, White City), acclaimed playwright Emilie Collyer, best-selling YA author George Ivanoff, best-selling poet and performance artist Koraly Dimitriadis, acclaimed short story author Laura Elvery, revered mentor and author Laurie Steed – well, this list can go on.
Did we discover these authors? Well, no, but we’d like to think we played a part in their development and journey as writers. That’s the beauty of the anthology – it offers an apprenticeship that contributes to the author’s evolution, while giving them exposure, and no doubt offering motivation and encouragement. And that was our main reason for starting [untitled]: to promote new and emerging authors.
After a two-year hiatus, [untitled] is back with issue eight, launching just two weeks shy of its tenth birthday.
Come join us for a night of merriment, celebration, and accomplishment.
2/118 Para Road
August 15, 2019
We have a new website! It’s been a long time coming, but here it is!
One of the reasons we felt we needed a change is because we’ve just got so much going on. Between publishing our own books (under our imprint of Pinion Press); helping authors to get their own stories out there through self-publishing; individual services such as manuscript assessments, editing, proofreading, etc.; workshops; retreats; Open Mic Night; blogging; and so much more, our old website had begun to buckle under the strain of trying to accommodate, promote, and deal with it all.
Every time something new came up, we either had to work out where it fit, or rejig the whole website to give it a home. For example, our blog went from its own page, to sitting under Author Resources. The reason? Because we wanted to give away Freebies, such as pdfs to Map Out Your Book and Test Your Book Concept (with more to come). This blog itself tries to be a resource in educating writers. There’s also the subscription to our newsletter. So instead of those things being individualised, they were grouped together.
Our new website has been designed to incorporate everything we offer, from books to services to events. There is omnipresent immediate access to all the important stuff. And it’s aesthetically prettier than the old website. With our old website, we were winging it ourselves, doing the best we could. With the new website, we’ve retained professional web developers.
However, this new website isn’t entirely finished. A lot the copy was transferred across from the original website, and some punctuation characters came out weird, appearing as Ð, Õ, among other things. Some images came across fine. Others became blurry. These are all little teething problems that we’re aware of, and will work to correct in coming weeks.
But, because of this, we’re extending the deadline of our Eggcellent Manuscript Assessment Competition. Unfortunately, when we were transitioning from one the old website to the new, the competition page was lost, so writers couldn’t find the competition details and the entry form. We now have a new page up, along with a new entry form, and the new deadline of 15th September.
Seeing you’re here, have a look around. Let us know what you think.
We’ll be officially recognising the website as launched at Open Mic Night this Wednesday, 21st August, beginning (as always) at 7.00pm.
We hope to see you all there!
August 1, 2019
Authors often comes to us, asking what means they could employ to improve their manuscript.
There’s editing, which would look at the manuscript in terms of structure or copy (or a combination of both).
There are also workshops, although they’re designed more to improve the writer’s skills, which they will then apply to their manuscript.
A lesser-known but equally valid means is a manuscript assessment.
Usually, the authors stare blankly back at us. We try to explain that the assessment is like a book report. Usually, they still frown at us.
Here’s a basic breakdown of what you’re going to see in a manuscript assessment:
- A look at the title: does it work? Does it encapsulate the book? Is the title too common? Is it already in use? You may not have considered any of this, married to a title you thought was perfect. Or you might have a placeholder, and you’re unsure what title would encapsulate the book.
- Point of View: does your manuscript’s POV work? Are you flitting in and out of different POVs? How do POVs work anyway?
- Plot / Content: if it’s a novel, how does the plot work? Is it sound? Does it build the story as intended? Does it introduce stakes? If it’s nonfiction, does the content communicate its message? Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, does the writing achieve what it sets out to do? If not, why not? What can the author look at in terms of improving it?
- Structure: is the information delivered in the best way possible? Could it work better a different way? Is it underwritten or overwritten? Does it build logically?
- Punctuation, Grammar, Spelling: self-explanatory – a look at what you might be doing wrong and an explanation on how to correct it.
- Characterisations: in regards to a novel, a review of the characters. Are they well-formed? Are they believable and motivated?
- Market: where does your book sit in the market? If you haven’t considered this, the assessment can help you identify where you should be pitching your manuscript, or how to reframe it so you can place it in the market.
- Conclusion: summing up your manuscript.
Now, obviously, the assessment won’t cite every single instance of an issue. For example, if your POV is jumping around, the assessment won’t list every place it’s happening. It will explain how it’s jumping around and give you a handful of examples, educating you on what to look out for. That’s the same case with anything that might be occurring regularly.
The plot/content and structural feedback will be much more specific about what a manuscript needs. It can also open an author’s eyes to what they’ve been – or become – blind to. But that’s understandable. After working on a manuscript for so long, it’s normal that authors will lose objectivity. That’s where fresh eyes help.
And that’s why a manuscript assessment is invaluable. It’s great to get feedback from family, friends, etc., but a manuscript assessment is written by somebody who is trained to spot these issues and articulate methods to correct them.
A manuscript assessment is a priceless and an inexpensive insight.
Postscript: Don’t forget that our Eggcellent Manuscript Assessment Competition is on!