September 28, 2010

Editorial Domination: Book 1

The month of October will see my name in commercial print for the very first time. Here's a quick peek at the Queensland Food & Wine Touring Atlas, the product that I got to cut my editorial teeth on. Check it out:

And, just because I'm a nerd like that:

I came to Hema when this book was being laid up by design, so much of my contribution was that of a proofreading/fact checking nature. I learned a lot of editorial lessons while doing this.

1. Consistency is key: knowledge of house style is pretty crucial in creating a readable product that jumps out at a reader in the right way. So my strong feelings concerning issues such as 'and vs &' and whether or not long numbers should have commas in them have all FINALLY been validated.
2. Never leave multiple book proofs lying scattered willy nilly on your desk: you will get SUPER confused about what changes have been made and which haven't. And a confused editor is not a happy editor.
3. Chocolate is truly the best work incentive.
4. Editing a book with lots of little pictures and maps is a great way to develop chronic neck cramps, but it's all worth it when you have the final product sitting on top of your desk.

September 11, 2010

Book Review: Linger

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
YA Urban Fantasy

It's been a loooong time since I blogged. It's been a rough couple of months. And when times get rough, I get reading. And watching period films. And, recently, Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons 1 - 3 (something about 90s fashion and bad vampire makeup seems to sooth me).

I'm going to be upfront and say that when I eagerly picked up Linger I was already in love it. I had already read Shiver, the first book in this series, and am a regular reader of Maggie's blog. I have a huge aspiring writer's crush on her. But still: this book lived up to all of my expectations.

I loved this book for the same reasons I loved Shiver.

First, because of the strength of the story's tone. The book oozes longing - the longing for connection, for permanence in a crazy world, for escape - it pervades every sentence, every beautifully constructive phrase, hanging over the story like a good soundtrack. The mood is satisfyingly palpable, and you can see how the four POV characters mirror that longing in different ways.

I was captivated by the strength of each characters' individual voice. All four character's voices are very distinct: you could crack open the book to any page and know who is narrating. Because of this, you get a story made richer for experiencing it through very different sets of eyes. These characters become mirrors for each other, reflecting a new and surprising truth with every change in point of view. I love that the same scene would sometimes be narrated by more than one character and would bounce back and forth between two perspectives. This book is a good example of how the 'always keep us in one character's head' rule can (and sometimes should) be ignored.

Third, the unabashed grit in the story. This is not just a 'boy and girl in love vs the world' YA story. It contains emotionally ugly, raw, and sometimes uncomfortable truths. I love that these four characters all said and did things that made me feel frustrated and disappointed. I like that Grace's parents were horrid in such a believable and unsightly way. I like that this book leaves frayed edges exposed, refusing, as many other YA books like to do, to tie up all the loose ends and make everything neat and tidy by The End. This story is emotionally jagged, and all the more enjoyable for being so.