Saturday, July 12, 2003

PreSandiegan ramblings

Let's see...

The FAQ submission box doesn't seem to be working, right now (the weekend curse) nor does the Livejournal feed (and I tried splitting the long post from yesterday into two, just in case that was causing the trouble, but it didn't change anything).

I'll be unable to post at the beginning of next week for a couple of days, as I'll be travelling and away from anything I can post with (and yes, I suppose I could set up some kind of wireless system that would work on trains, but a lot of the fun of travelling on a train across America is the quiet to work in, and to look out of the window). Then I'll be posting occasionally from the San Diego comic-con, but they'll be squeezed into any spare moments I don't need to sleep in, so expect mostly short posts along the lines of "Survived today urgh" and "the 2:30 signing has now been postponed to 3:15", then a few proper posts about interesting movie things, and then radio silence again as I ride the train home.

Over at Scrivener's Error I note that the Morris vs. Business Concepts case is having knock-on effects that are seriously worrying. That's the case that said (I'm not a lawyer, am doing this from memory and will undoubtedly make some huge goof here) that a writer whose article had been reprinted without her permission or any payment wasn't entitled to any restitution under copyright because copyrighting a magazine or anthology essentially only copyrights those articles in that sequence, it doesn't copyright that specific article, feature or story. That you should have filed a separate copyright notice on. And if you don't have a copyright notice filed, you may have moral copyright on your side, but you can't sue for damages, you can't make someone stop.

For an author, it's particularly worrying from a short story point of view: The McSweeneys Mammoth Book of Thrilling Tales only carries two copyright notices -- copyright 2002 McSweeneys, and Harlan Ellison's story is copyright 2002 The Kilimanjaro Corporation. (Some people mistakenly thought this meant Harlan's story was a reprint. Nope. It means Harlan knows his copyright stuff inside, upside down and backwards.) So unless Stephen King and Michael Crichton and Elmore Leonard and I have filed separate copyright notices on our individual stories (we might have done) they are now effectively in the public domain... Which is to say, I think, that unless he's filed a separate copyright notice, Stephen King still has his copyright in his story. He just can't do anything if you reprint it in your anthology. This is not good.

Seeing as I'm in New Zealand and can in no way make it to the auction, I was wondering if it was possible for there to be a picture of the Sandman Quilt put on the website?
I would love to see it, and so would my Mum.
Thanks muchly

We'll see what we can do...

Not a FAQ, but you may well get buckets of email telling you this: the Clarion workshop in danger of losing its funding is Clarion East. There is also Clarion West, which is still very much a going concern. In fact, this is CW's 20th anniversary, and they've been having celebratory events all year. Even as I write, some 17 students are wrapping up their week of study with Elizabeth Hand; next week China Mieville (I can't get the accent over the first 'e', sorry) is the instructor. Clarion West has a very strong alumni community, which includes some, like Octavia Butler, who actually attended the Eastern workshop... you can have a look at their website at - they're a non-profit, and they have a truly tireless cadre of fundraisers who do things like auctions, readings, and the convention Potlatch.

While I'm writing, I'd like to offer a heart-felt thank you for all your work, and especially your blog. Your willingness to share the sometimes gritty details of being a working (touring reading writing family-raising etc.) author means a great deal to me, as a model of "how it's done" I can read and relate to. There's lots of good information on how to write available, not so much on the day-to-day mechanics of the trade - so when you write about French door problems in foreign hotels, or taking your daughters with you on parts of a signing tour, it makes it all seem like a reachable goal. I'm not sure if I'm conveying what I mean very well, but the thanks is nevertheless sincere.

-Joy Ralph

You're welcome. I think if this journal has any point to it, apart from being an amazingly easy and pleasant and quick way to let people know things that are happening, it's in trying to explain the mechanics of being a writer, and of what it means to make stuff up for a living.

(Much of the most exciting stuff is very dull, by the way: yesterday was spent with superletterer Todd Klein sending me and editor Shelly Bond giant PDF files of the Delirium story from Endless Nights to proofread, decide on lettering styles -- there are about nine different fonts in this story, one for each person in it -- and balloon placement and so on. And we were doing it against deadline, and Todd was doing the impossible... and it's the sort of thing that sounds pretty dull, and that, when people read the story, they'll only really notice if we screwed it up.)