ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2016 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Behind the scenes

Peter Grant explains why he chose Castalia House and what it is like to work with "the most despised man in science fiction":
Vox was my editor in getting the book ready for publication.  He stated up front that he wanted to 'make a good book better', not try to remake it in his image, or make it into something it wasn't.  I found him a very effective editor indeed.  He went through my manuscript and made many proposed changes, averaging two or three per page, but did so on the basis that these were his suggestions rather than his demands.  I was free to accept or reject each of his proposed changes.  In about two-thirds of cases, I went along with his proposals.  They did, indeed, make the book better.  In the remaining third of cases, I went with what I'd originally written, or re-wrote a few lines, because I felt it fitted in better with my vision for the book and what I hope will be the series into which it will grow.  Vox accepted that with aplomb.  The man's a gentleman.

There will doubtless be those who'll be disappointed that I've chosen to publish with a man, and a publishing house, that they regard with the same revulsion as the Devil regards holy water.  To them I can only say, go read what my friend Larry Correia had to say about Vox last year.  I endorse his sentiments.  I don't share all - or possibly even most - of Vox's opinions, but then he's never asked me to share or support them in any way, shape or form.  He's merely tried to be the best editor he can be, and help me be the best writer I can be.  I'll be damned if I condemn him because of past history or exchanges to which I wasn't a party, and in which I had no involvement at all.  Not my circus, not my monkeys.  I certainly won't demand that he embrace political correctness.  As you've probably noted from my blog header, that's not exactly a position I embrace myself!

Vox shares my perspective that the 'classic' Western genre is ripe for revival.  I've grown very tired of romance or erotica masquerading as Westerns - to my mind, they're neither, and belong in a different category.  I'm also fed up with the historical inaccuracies and fantastically high body counts of many so-called Westerns that are nothing more or less than violence porn (and sometimes actual porn as well, given the number of sex scenes they contain - something that would be anathema to every one of the great Western authors).  I tried to write in the classic style, and Vox actively tried to help me do that.  I appreciated his input.

Castalia House is a small publisher at this stage, but it's grown in stature and in the diversity of its offerings.  I'm honored - deeply honored - to join authors such as Jerry Pournelle and Martin van Creveld in its stable.
I'm very glad to hear that Peter feels that way, as we are all delighted to have such a talented, knowledgeable, and above all, exceedingly decent man join our band of renegades, rebels, reactionaries, and recidivists.

We may be outnumbered, but we are never, ever, outgunned.

And I'm pleased to learn that I was able to help Peter realize his vision. The primary role of the editor is not to catch every typo, position the book for marketing, or police its content in order to ensure its compliance with the social justice Narrative, it is to help the author accurately transform the story he sees in his mind into an articulated reality he can share with others.

An editor can improve a book or he can ruin a book, but he must never forget that the book is neither his vision nor his story.

Labels: ,

71 Comments:

Blogger FALPhil May 23, 2016 6:26 PM  

Just downloaded the kindle book 10 minutes ago. I look forward to it.

Blogger Cunning Dove May 23, 2016 6:32 PM  

How long until the paperback? My dad won't use Kindle and he would enjoy these books.

Blogger VD May 23, 2016 6:37 PM  

The paperback will be done when it is done.

Anonymous Napoleon 12pdr May 23, 2016 6:47 PM  

As a fan of John Wright, I found the editing on Iron Chamber of Memory outstanding. Wright is a volcano of creativity, but does send literary magma all over the place. He needs an editor to maintain focus.

Blogger Nate May 23, 2016 6:49 PM  

ha! Glen Filthy shows up in the comments... same old douchebag.

Blogger jamsco May 23, 2016 6:54 PM  

Vox, I'd be interested to learn how you communicated your proposed changes to him. Just as a text file? Notes in the actual manuscript?

Blogger Wild Ape May 23, 2016 6:56 PM  

I can't wait to get this book. I discovered Peter Grant shortly after he raised his voice against Tor. I decided to get one of his books in support and got the first in the Laredo series. I loved it and after buying in support I then bought his Laredo series and his Maxwell series shortly afterward. I'm willing to bet that he will be a fantastic western writer. He has the right tone and story feel that the great western writers of old had. And yes, I like the old pulp stories too like Spur, and Edge. I also like the Louis Lamour and the Don Coldsmith variety as well. Landing Peter Grant is a coup. He would never see the light of day from the publishing industry and after you read his stories you will see why. It isn't lack of talent but lack of the SJW narrative that would stop him at the gate. Well done Vox.

Blogger VD May 23, 2016 7:01 PM  

Two passes. One was more thematic and was mostly conversations between the two of us. I might suggest rewriting or deleting or adding a scene. The second was line-editing, where I go in and make the suggested changes using Track Changes. That's what he meant when he said two or three per page. These usually wouldn't be grammatical suggestions, but were mostly related to characters speaking and behaving in character, and in the correct emotional context.

The latter actually caused some problems, because my machine was dying and I had to show the changes, which led to a few spacing typos we had to catch and fix.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab May 23, 2016 7:04 PM  

So, favorite pistol from the book?

Blogger Nate May 23, 2016 7:09 PM  

Speaking of westerns... William Johnstone. Good stuff.

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 23, 2016 7:12 PM  

Not my circus, not my monkeys.

This is something I still love about America without reservation: we have the best aphorisms in the world.

Anonymous Dave May 23, 2016 7:18 PM  

We may be outnumbered, but we are never, ever, outgunned.

Damn right. A commenter on Peter's blog actually thought you made a disparaging comment re gun nuts and Louis L'Amour. Had to point out that the comments were from Amazon reviews that you had quoted. People hear what they want to hear; see what they want to see; and read what they want to read.

Blogger VD May 23, 2016 7:19 PM  

A commenter on Peter's blog actually thought you made a disparaging comment re gun nuts and Louis L'Amour.

The rush to judgment is usually a mistake. As Larry Correia says, "skim until offended."

Anonymous Man of the Atom May 23, 2016 7:26 PM  

Nate wrote:ha! Glen Filthy shows up in the comments... same old douchebag.

It would have been more efficient if he had merely said "I refuse to sleep with Vox Day."

Blogger YIH May 23, 2016 7:36 PM  

or erotica masquerading as Westerns
If you were Mr. Hands my love
By Chuck Tingle

Blogger John Williams May 23, 2016 7:52 PM  

Not my circus, not my monkeys.
Ilk sir, not monkeys, but Ilk.

Anonymous Jonathan Moeller, Pulp Writer May 23, 2016 8:22 PM  

Having had work edited by Vox in the past, I quite agree with Mr. Grant's opinion.

Anonymous Coal fired brisket May 23, 2016 8:27 PM  

I do love me some Wright. Some of his characters come off disgustingly gamma though. The main character in his latest work is so off putting I can barely read it. How did you manage?

Anonymous Res Ipsa May 23, 2016 8:27 PM  

I thought the cover art was very classic and reminded me of the covers of L'Amour.

Blogger James Dixon May 23, 2016 8:28 PM  

From Peter's post:

> That's only one example of the extreme reactions against Vox Day that have circulated on the Internet from those who have, as far as I know, never had any direct contact with him at all.

Most of them can't even be bothered with the indirect contact of actually reading what your write.

Blogger Michael Maier May 23, 2016 8:30 PM  

5. Nate May 23, 2016 6:49 PM
ha! Glen Filthy shows up in the comments... same old douchebag.


Was he a regular troll here? The name rings a bell, but not clearly.

Blogger Nate May 23, 2016 8:41 PM  

Yeah GF was around here making an ass of himself for a long time.

Blogger Nate May 23, 2016 8:41 PM  

Holy Hell... Resipsa... Welcome back

Blogger JACIII May 23, 2016 8:43 PM  

"Not my abattoir, not my Ilk"

Fixed that for ya'.

Blogger JACIII May 23, 2016 8:43 PM  

SHould have known it would take western to draw him out.

Blogger Nate May 23, 2016 8:52 PM  

"SHould have known it would take western to draw him out."

sure 'nuff

Blogger Tom Kratman May 23, 2016 9:04 PM  

I found this to be generally quite true; Vox suggests and the suggestions are almost always on point and good. And if you tell him to fuck off he doesn't take it personally.

Blogger Margaret Man May 23, 2016 9:08 PM  

After reading half of "Sword into Darkness", I thought that might even be a better editor than an author, and I thoroughly enjoyed "A Throne of Bones". Not a Western fan, but maybe it's time to give one a try.

Blogger Margaret Man May 23, 2016 9:09 PM  

I meant "...VD might even be... stupid fingers.

Anonymous BillingsMan May 23, 2016 9:19 PM  

Maybe one day he will be up for an award on the rabid puppies dot com

Anonymous WaterBoy May 23, 2016 9:26 PM  

Aeoli Pera @10: "This is something I still love about America without reservation: we have the best aphorisms in the world."

The link that Peter embedded explains that it is originally a Polish saying.

Though your point is still valid without it....

Anonymous Dave May 23, 2016 9:29 PM  

And if you tell him to fuck off he doesn't take it personally.


Oh what is that word; professionalism?

Blogger ray May 23, 2016 9:30 PM  

We all loved the Louis L'Amour books, even mom. Never were intended to be Chekhov.

The Western is a masculine form, so it's not surprising modern writers can't handle it. They can't be men, either.

There is a LOT of imaginative space left under the umbrella of the Western or Modern Western. Note L'Amour's methods -- understand the land and sky and critters, before you understand and write the people/characters. That'll help the work come alive.

Anonymous Spartacus xxxxx May 23, 2016 9:37 PM  

Aeoli Pera wrote:Not my circus, not my monkeys.

This is something I still love about America without reservation: we have the best aphorisms in the world.



One of your best.

Blogger JaimeInTexas May 23, 2016 9:59 PM  

Did you literalky told VD to fuck off?

Anonymous IncoherentM May 23, 2016 10:03 PM  

I thought the same. Very well done.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab May 23, 2016 10:12 PM  

JaimeInTexas wrote:Did you literalky told VD to fuck off?

You're asking Tom Kratman if he told someone to fuck off? He's always been courteous with me but Vox, I mean Vox...

PS The dang verification wanted me to check all the 'cookies'. It wouldn't let me finish until I clicked on a communion wafer. That is not a cookie.

Blogger pdwalker May 23, 2016 10:13 PM  

well, there you have it. VD's SJW credentials have been smirched, he's been called "professional" by two different writers in one post.

he'll never get a Hugo for best editor now.

Blogger pdwalker May 23, 2016 10:16 PM  

@JamieInTexas

knowing the way Mr Kratman writes, he probably said something more along the lines of, "I won't have it, you can nail that f*ck*r to a cross and let it hang"

Blogger 1337kestrel May 23, 2016 10:19 PM  

I assumed Johnstone was the unrealistically high body count violence porn Peter was referring to. Also, tons of rape. He tells a decent tale, but he's also the only person about whom I've thought he's too enthusiastically right wing.

Blogger John Wright May 23, 2016 10:25 PM  

" I found him a very effective editor indeed."

I don't want Vox Day to hear to much flattering in one day, but I also found this the case.

The continual tension I had with Tor books over little things, like whether or not a man from Tibet was to be called "Asian" rather than "Oriental", is also absent in my dealings with Mr. Beale.

I rarely disagree with his editorial judgment, but when I do, he is a perfect gentleman about it, and never overbearing or insistent.

Blogger 1337kestrel May 23, 2016 10:31 PM  

"Oriental" seems to conjure up a flat Eurocentric map, with Great Britain and Spain fighting over the seas, deadly trade routes to exotic lands, and Ramen noodles.

Blogger John Wright May 23, 2016 10:36 PM  

"Wright is a volcano of creativity, but does send literary magma all over the place. He needs an editor to maintain focus."

Actually, in the case of IRON CHAMBER the finished product was very close to the original manuscript.

However, again, in this one case, that is a testament to his powers as an editor. When I rejected (as I rarely do) his editorial advice, he did not belabor the point.

Blogger John Wright May 23, 2016 10:39 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Rolf May 23, 2016 10:44 PM  

I have to admit, the neighborhood you got going is growing, but the new neighbors are mighty nice folks. Just wish I had more time to read.

Blogger John Wright May 23, 2016 10:57 PM  

@41
""Oriental" seems to conjure up a flat Eurocentric map, with Great Britain and Spain fighting over the seas, deadly trade routes to exotic lands, and Ramen noodles."

Seems, perhaps, to someone cursed with a tin ear, who don't know what words mean.

I had to deal with persons like those who who use an awkward neologisms like 'Eurocentric' as if it were not jabberwocky.

The oriental refers to the brightness of the dawn. The Eastern races are called oriental not because they are east of Europe, but because they are East of Rome, the eternal city, the center of Christendom. That is the point Eastern Europe is East of, and Northern Europe is North of.

It is not Eurocentrism political correctness is attempting to combat by swapping the clear and accurate term 'Oriental' for the stupid and muddy term 'Asian', it is Christocentrism.

For better or worse, I have a poet's ear for language, and intruding angular argle-bargle into the midst of my prose for political reasons was like hearing a harpy scratching talons on a blackboard.

It is something I had to deal with now and again at Tor, but never at Castalia House.

'Asia', in addition to being an inaccurate descriptor of race (Persia and India are in Asia, and are Caucasian and Aryan races), the word conjures up images of a maiden being carried away by the white bull of Zeus to be outraged against her will.

So you should beware of using that word: the SJWs will say it is very insensitive and misogynistic to use. By telling Greek myths, you are spreading rape culture.

Blogger Matthew d.b.a. Heaving Bosoms May 23, 2016 11:21 PM  

Sobbin' sobbin' women.

Blogger Lazarus May 23, 2016 11:30 PM  

JaimeInTexas wrote:Did you literalky told VD to fuck off?

Dude. VD is a rational man. People he respects can tell him to fuck off, whereas, people who he does not respect, cannot.

Hopefully, you do the same.

Blogger Lazarus May 23, 2016 11:35 PM  

Matthew d.b.a. Heaving Bosoms wrote:Sobbin' sobbin' women.

Time for some country:


Sobbin, sobbin wimmen
There's not end to you're givin
You're to late, There's no way to save the day
There is nothing you can say,
So please just go away
Its all over but the cryin' once again.

Blogger Lazarus May 23, 2016 11:36 PM  

"no" end....................

doh!

Blogger Lazarus May 23, 2016 11:39 PM  

"too" not "to"
ffs

Blogger Matthew d.b.a. Heaving Bosoms May 23, 2016 11:51 PM  

heheh

Anonymous Edmond Dantes May 23, 2016 11:51 PM  

So, the best kind of map.

Blogger Nick S May 23, 2016 11:54 PM  

There were a lot of Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey on the cart in jail. I may have to check out this Grant feller's work.

Blogger pdwalker May 23, 2016 11:56 PM  

@40 and now JW weights in. Third time's a conspiracy. No more Hugo for VD.

@10 Aeoli Pera I first heard that phrase last year and was told it was a Polish aphorism. I remember it well because of how clearly it translated into English - meaning "not my problem; don't drag me into your mess"

A search says the original is "Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy"

Languages can be such wonderful fun.

Blogger Skylark Thibedeau May 24, 2016 12:45 AM  

Off topic Has everyone seen Chuck Tingles Rabid Puppies website? http://www.therabidpuppies.com/

Anonymous Stickwick May 24, 2016 12:55 AM  

Peter is right -- Vox has good instincts. He made suggestions that vastly improved my first little work of fiction.

There will doubtless be those who'll be disappointed that I've chosen to publish with a man, and a publishing house, that they regard with the same revulsion as the Devil regards holy water.

I've already experienced this reaction from people who know Vox is my editor. Interestingly, only from conservatives so far, one of them well known to most people here. But, far from being a source of discomfort, I've come to embrace it. There's a sort of exhilaration that comes from people knowing you work with the most hated man in publishing. But for all that people whine about what a horrible person he is, the fact is, Vox has a lot of integrity. There are few people I would trust more not to screw me over.

Anonymous Res Ipsa May 24, 2016 1:31 AM  

Nate and JAC,

I'm still around. I read here everyday. By the time I get to it though most threads are 200 plus comments. There isn't much point joining in at that point.

When it comes to the sci fi stuff, I'm old school. I'm still waiting for Vox to finish writing the sequels to Rebel Moon.

Blogger lowercaseb May 24, 2016 1:55 AM  

Skylark Thibedeau wrote:Off topic Has everyone seen Chuck Tingles Rabid Puppies website? http://www.therabidpuppies.com/

Oh yes! The man brought "Space Raptor Butt Invasion" into this world.
In my mind such a herculean effort has earned him the right to troll us till the end of time if he wants.

As long as the Dinosaur porn flows, I will gladly accept the title of "Soft Devilman." Love is REAL!

Blogger Geoff martin May 24, 2016 2:02 AM  

martin van crevald has written for you? wow. incredible respect for that man.

Anonymous Jack Amok May 24, 2016 2:06 AM  

The paperback will be done when it is done.

God willin' and the river don't rise.

Blogger LurkingPuppy May 24, 2016 2:20 AM  

Geoff martin wrote:martin van crevald has written for you?

Equality, the reprint of A History of Strategy, ‘Migration and War’ in There Will Be War Vol. X, and a Brainstorm transcript (available only through the Castalia store; see http://www.castaliahouse.com/downloads/tag/martin-van-creveld/ ).

Blogger Jon M May 24, 2016 2:50 AM  

"Oh yes! The man brought "Space Raptor Butt Invasion" into this world.
In my mind such a herculean effort has earned him the right to troll us till the end of time if he wants."

No doubt they expected us to be angry and hurt that they've turned our own mockery against us. They really don't understand us at all, do they?

Blogger Ahazuerus May 24, 2016 3:40 AM  

@58

You really think he's trolling us?

Anonymous MidWestCon member May 24, 2016 3:49 AM  

IDGAF what Chuck Tingle does now.  He's already served his purpose for us.

Blogger Aeoli Pera May 24, 2016 7:08 AM  

I'll be damned, all those Polacks were good for at least one thing then.

Blogger lowercaseb May 24, 2016 7:33 AM  

Ahazuerus wrote:@58

You really think he's trolling us?


Oh yes, but we are but a small part of his trolling. The stars are right. Vox merely opened the gate by putting out the word of Dr. Tingles nomination.

The Hugos know the gate, the Hugos are the gate. The Hugos are the key and guardians of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in the Hugos. The Hugos knows where the Dr. Tingle broke through of old, and where He shall break through again. The Hugos knows where Dr. Tingle hath pounded earth's butt, and where he shall pound it again...

Anonymous keener May 24, 2016 9:05 AM  

I am enjoying Grant's book very much with the exception of the southern hills dialect which is not southern hills dialect but merely mainstream English butchered and collapsed. It's my native language. I learned it at my g'parents' knees. That would be six knees. But I have fulminated about it for decades so have given up. I should hire out as a consultant. East Tennessee speech is beautiful, I don't care what character speaks it. But whatever. It's a very good book and hopefully a beginning of the revival of the western. Good going!

Anonymous DT May 24, 2016 4:47 PM  

The man's a gentleman.

The Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil?

A...a gentleman?

What's next? Is someone going to tell me that Spacebunny is real?

#MindSpinning

@16 - Not my circus, not my monkeys.
Ilk sir, not monkeys, but Ilk.


Yeah, when I think of a creature that gnaws on the bones of SJWs I don't exactly picture monkeys. Maybe something more like this.

Anonymous Eduardo May 24, 2016 8:21 PM  

So the ilk are mutated Fallout 4 monsters?!? Revealing...

So when will you people create the Ballad or the Myth of Chuck Tingle XD?

Blogger szopen May 25, 2016 6:24 AM  

Ho! has he some Polish heritage? "Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy" (literally not my circus, not my monkeys) is a Polish idiom originating in 80s or 90s (my parents didn't know it, I grow up with it) and It's first time I heard it someone saying this in English...

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts