Open for business, and an invitation

This first Friday has come at a good time, as I’m about 30 pages from clearing the last manuscript in my queue. So if anybody has a manuscript that’s all but ready for publication, and wants to avail themselves of Margaret’s Volunteer Copyediting and Proofreading services, contact me at margaretball7 at gmail dot com. The usual conditions hold: if I’ve worked with you before, just send the manuscript; if I haven’t, please send me a ten page sample so I can decide if I can be helpful and you can decide if you’re okay with my editing style.

Now for the invitation: I am one of five members of an online book club meeting via Zoom. We read mostly history, economics and current events books that seem likely to generate interesting discussions; some of our past selections are The Road to Serfdom, The Dawn of Everything (dropped halfway through because we got sick of the authors’ weasel-wording), and The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death. We’d like more members; anyone who’s interested can contact me at the usual address, margaretball7 at gmail dot com. We’ve just agreed upon our next book – it’s Tragedy & Challenge: An Inside View of UK Engineering’s Decline and the Challenge of the Brexit Economy – so this would be a great time to start with the group. Better yet, Tragedy & Challenge is currently just $4.00 on Kindle.

15 thoughts on “Open for business, and an invitation

  1. I know my next two shorts are going to be delayed. They’re written, but while working on the last one, I realized, I haven’t filled out his character or motivations, so need to do that.

    Catch is, they have to come before the last three, so could cause changes or references in them.

    Plans… I used to have those….

    1. Plans is just a word for a series of things that definitely don’t happen. *grin*

      I have plans for Dr. Z. The conclusion is in sight. The heroes are gathered together. The strategy is roughed out. The complications and enemies lurk in the dark corners. There are events in the works off-screen that will impact the plot as well.

      And, as has happened in the past, a lot of these plans might get upended when The Unexpected occurs and I have to punt to run the plot in a different direction. That could happen, too.

      Will humanity finally begin to fight back against the zombies? Will the secrets of the biological/nanite virus at last be revealed? What will happen to all the sleepers, still locked away in stasis pods all around the system, still under threat of zombies and failing power on ships and space stations? And will humanity ever return to Earth to retake their home planet?

      At least some of these questions need to be answered in act III.

  2. I am still nowhere near publish ready. The grammar is mostly okay, I have a few readers that snipe typos for me here and there. Structure and formatting, flow, and cutting out the fat is going to be the issue in the first pass edit. I need to reinforce the themes, fill in a few early plot holes (maybe rewrite a few early chapters) and give the MC more purposeful direction, illuminate the flaws, and make the character progression more evident.

    It’s still a mess, but for some reason a couple of people like it. Like, five or ten on WP, eighty-some on RR with eighteen favs, which probably ain’t bad for a site that isn’t too focused on sci fi.

    The plan is to wrap up the plot sometime in June or July, start first pass edits and maybe pitch it to betas on goodreads and Reddit, maybe slush on Baen’s Bar for feedback, that sort of thing.

    Volunteer Copyediting and Proofing is saintly work, Margaret. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Good luck with your work, and may it be rewarding and gratifying when something you touched turns into a beloved book by the readers that find it.

  3. Right now I have about a dozen different characters wanting their stories told Right Now, so I’m bouncing between several different books and short stories — right while I’m in the middle of the busy season for conventions, so the retail business is keeping me hopping, and the home front is nuts. House is a mess, yard is a mess, need to get the garden in but every time I’m home between conventions, it keeps raining so the ground’s too wet to work. Right now I’m mostly reprinting older stories that I’d published in the days when traditional was the only game in town if you wanted to have an actual writing career.

    1. Currently Tuesday afternoons, 4:00 Eastern time, but that”s negotiable. What days/times work for you?

  4. re the book club and the current selection….in Brit-speak, the term ‘engineering’ seems to refer to any manufacturing business involving metalworking, not to the engineering profession or function per se. So the book is really about the decline of UK manufacturing, or at least a major part of it.

  5. I’m at 31K on the WIP, with bits of the next one attacking me. And the other book is with an editor-for-hire (he’s very good, and I need a tune-up. He’s excellent at spotting tics, like overuse of a word.)

    A good editor is a thing of beauty, if not always a joy at first. (Stage 1 “How dare you criticize my baby?!?” Stage 2 “I’m a total failure! Waaaaahhhhh.” Stage 3 “If I change a few things, that will be good enough.” Stage 4 “I’m hopeless. I can’t do this. The book is a disaster.” [flops onto stomach on floor and mopes] Stage 5 “Yep. That does need to change, and that scene should be trimmed a little, and I do need to add foreshadowing.”)

  6. Re “The Dawn of Everything”

    “The Dawn of Everything” is a biased disingenuous account of human history ( ) that spreads fake hope (the authors of “The Dawn” claim human history has not “progressed” in stages, or linearly, and must not end in inequality and hierarchy as with our current system… so there’s hope for us now that it could get different/better again). As a result of this fake hope porn it has been widely praised. It conveniently serves the profoundly sick industrialized world of fakes and criminals. The book’s dishonest fake grandiose title shows already that this work is a FOR-PROFIT, instead a FOR-TRUTH, endeavor geared at the (ignorant gullible) masses.

    Fact is human history has “progressed” by and large in linear stages, especially since the dawn of agriculture ( ). The book’s alleged major “fundamental” insight is “the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently” (the first part of that statement is hardly a great insight because a perceptive child can recognize that) YET fails to answer why we do NOT make it differently than it is now if we, supposedly can make it “EASILY” different, why we’ve been “stuck” in this destructive system for a very long time. THAT is really where “the ultimate, hidden truth” is buried and the answer is… it is because of the enduring hegemony of “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room” ( ) which the fake hope-giving authors of “The Dawn” entirely ignore naturally (no one can write a legitimate human history without understanding the nature of humans)

    A good example that one of the authors, Graeber, has no real idea what world we’ve been living in and about the nature of humans is his last brief article on Covid where his ignorance shines bright already at the title of his article, “After the Pandemic, We Can’t Go Back to Sleep.” Apparently he doesn’t know that most people WANT to be asleep, and that they’ve been wanting that for thousands of years (and that’s not the only ignorant notion in the title). Yet he (and his partner) is the sort of person who thinks he can teach you something authentically truthful about human history and whom you should be trusting along those terms. Ridiculous!

    “The Dawn” is just another fantasy, or ideology, cloaked in a hue of cherry-picked “science,” served lucratively to the gullible ignorant underclasses who crave myths and fairy tales.

    “The evil, fake book of anthropology, “The Dawn of Everything,” … just so happened to be the most marketed anthropology book ever. Hmmmmm.” — Unknown

    1. Yup.
      That’s why we dropped the book.
      It just got too tiring pointing out all the self-contradictions, straw men, and weasel-wording.

    2. Oh good gravy. *tabby cat eyeroll here* Even environmental history isn’t that bad, and I’ve read and reviewed some doozies. At best, it sounds like the authors need to get out more. As in out of their bubble and go work in a garden or at an organic farm for a season or two.

  7. Do you like to read short stories? I have several, but one or two I’d really like your opinion on.
    BTW I am just now getting into your edits of my last submission: It’s planting season here in God’s Country and some things won’t wait.

    1. I prefer novels to short stories, but I’m certainly open to short stories – especially by readers of this blog, from whom I expect plot. (New Yorker short stories, on the other hand…)

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