January 18th, 2008

Think twice!

I was reading It’s a Bunny Eat Bunny World, a book about children’s publishing which was written by a woman who has been an editor, agent and author. The book has some interesting insights, as well as some portions I didn't quite agree with (her explanation of bookstore signings was a bit rosy, IMHO).

In a section on cover art, she wrote, “Another time an author had described the protagonist as having short, curly red hair, but the artist painted her with long, curly black hair. The author insisted on having the art changed. The artist however refused to correct the hairstyle unless the publisher paid him to hire another model [Full disclosure from April: this must have been pre-Photoshop]. The publisher said it could not absorb the cost of a model as well. The artist finally agreed to paint over the black with red, so that the heroine ended up with rusty long hair. The author was so angry that she wrote an article, which appeared in a writer’s magazine, complaining that the publisher had not been sensitive to her book. In truth, the editorial department had supported her wish, but it was the production department, art director, and artist who had dug in their heels because of the cost. I never felt the same about that writer afterward because she saw me as her foe, not her ally.”

I think the lesson here is to think twice about complaining.

At least the lesson for me. I wish I were better about doing that.

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Jordan Sonnenblick had better watch out!

Author Jordan Sonnenblick had told me that he was digging a grave in his backyard for research. Nothing is better than first-hand knowledge, right?

But then I saw this in the Oregonian: Man who Dug Gravelike Hole Arrested

“Washington County authorities arrested a 63-year-old man after he dug what looks suspiciously like a grave on private property in a remote part of Washington County.

“No one who knows Ronald Karel is missing or dead, but the hole he dug concerns authorities. It's 6 feet long, between 2 and 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep.

“Karel said he dug it to look for ash from the eruption of Mount St. Helens more than 27 years ago. But the authorities aren't buying it. "I think most people know a grave when they see one," said Sgt. David Thompson, spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff's Office. "That's sure what this looks like."

“But as of now, Karel is charged only with trespassing and criminal mischief. Thompson said authorities want to know the reason behind the hole before they have to release Karel on the relatively minor charges being used to hold him. … Karel had "no logical explanation" for the hole, which Karel apparently dug himself without help, Thompson said. … The Washington County Major Crimes Team helped try to determine if anyone close to Karel has been harmed or may be in danger if he is released. They have contacted family members, business associates and other known associates. At this point they have been unable to locate any possible victim.

“Thompson said deputies were eager to hear from anyone who might know of a specific explanation for the hole. He said they also want to know whether there is reason to believe someone would be in danger if Karel makes bail and is released.”

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done for research?

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