Archive for the ‘Personal’ category

Who Knew that About Paper?

March 17, 2008

This Thursday, March 6th, Janet McCarthy Grimm from Lindenmeyr,  came and spoke to my Book Production & Design class about paper.

She walked us through the process of making paper. When they start out with a tree they have two choices: ground wood paper  and ground wood free paper.

Ground wood paper includes lignin, which is the ingredient that, as paper gets older, causes paper to get brittle and turn yellow. Ground wood free paper, according to tests, may last 200-400 years. The other main difference between these two types of paper is that ground wood paper uses most of the tree. Ground wood free paper only uses about 50% of the tree, making it more expensive to make. Lignins are broken down chemically during the manufacturing process.

The other important thing to know about paper manufacturing is that hard wood and soft wood are not all mixed together – they each get added at different parts of the process.

For me, the most interesting part of what Janet said was how big of a market paper is for the US economy. Few other markets in the world offer as high a quality of paper as we do. Paper is a major exports. The problem is that few foreign manufacturers pay adequate attention to keeping hardwood and softwood separate. This results in a less dependable quality of paper.

Janet’s other major point  was about recycling. Ground wood free paper and ground wood paper aren’t separated out during the recycling process. This limits the quality of paper that can be made from recycled paper products. Newspapers, sticky notes, staples and cheap paper products are mixed in with paper that is ground wood free – meaning that the recycled paper is NOT ground wood free; it also mixes hardwood and softwood – again creating a lower quality paper.

The ‘best’ part is our government – companies don’t receive any benefits for recycling paper products not sold to consumers. So all those books that a publishing company has sitting in it’s warehouse, that it doesn’t sell … there is no encouragement for companies to recycle them.

Newspaper Project

March 7, 2008

I recently had the opportunity to act a project manager for the production of a 21 page newspaper. The paper, a project for my Writing for the Media Class, involved coordinating 7 classmates, who were each editor of their own section and responsible for submitting 2-3 stories for each other’s sections.

The majority of the students in our group were international students; we wanted to use this to our advantage so we choose to write a paper targeted towards the international base on Manhattanville’s campus.

My group choose me to be the project manger; I was responsible for setting deadlines for the project, which we had a little under 2 weeks to complete. As part of the group, I was also responsible for generating 3 articles of my own.

Our first group meeting we decided on sections, designated who would edit each section, and began to generate article ideas. The next meeting we came up with our title: Beyond Boarders. We discussed layout and decided on the number of columns, etc. For ideas we turned to the campus paper, The Touchstone, and looked at the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Publishing the paper did not go as smoothly as we might have hoped. It took quite a bit of force feeding on my part to make everyone meet their deadlines.

In addition to being project manager, I was responsible for the layout of the paper. I created the paper in Quark Xpress. The final paper is attached below; it takes a long time to download since it is so long, but in the end it came out really well and the project got an A.

Beyond Borders

Independent Study Update

February 24, 2008

So I sent out my queries like a good little child for my web novel article. Right now it is being considered by the Dabbling Mum. They expressed interest in the article and I’ve submitted it.

I conducted the first of several interviews for my next article on Pet Lifestyles. The article is slowly coming more and more into focus. My original idea, for how our lifestyles affect our pets was nixed. Here’s why – i was reading Renegade Writer and she mentioned having done an article on that exact subject. Opps. At least I know I’m on the right track! I interviewed Dr. Evans DVM, and I sent out an email interview to another woman who has a site on alternative pet health. The goal is to have a finished rough draft by the end of the week.

My next piece is going to be a profile piece on my aunt : she makes wedding cakes as a hobby! So that’ll require a visit… but I haven’t seen her in a while so I’m looking forward to it.

A Writer’s Walmart

February 8, 2008

A friend of mine who works for a major book publisher recently said something very interesting to me. We were talking about independent publishers and sites like Pages Unbound and he said that publishing companies are a Walmart for writers. They are one stop shopping.

You spend your currency – your idea or manuscrip – and in return you get an editor, a designer, a producer, a production manager, a marketing director, someone to sell your book to bookstores, to take care of shipping, warehouses, etc.

The disadvantage of self-publishing is that the author has to do all these things themselves.

That, of course, is the advantage of e-publishing. It cuts out several ‘steps’ along the way. They cut out manufacturing, shipping, storing – the majority of the work of actually producing a physical work. This makes it much easier for an author to self-publish electronically.

As one of the speakers in our Book production and Design class said, you have to consider: A book that is 99.99% accurate allows for 3-4 mistakes per page; there are several thousand characters on every page. Many publishers manage to make far fewer mistakes then that. This is because every document gets checked and rechecked by multiple pairs of eyes.

When you consider that, you can begin to truly appreciate the work for an author who wants to self-publish. Especially since they don’t have the expertise in all the necessary areas. Most self-publishers are doing so for the first time – they need to learn and establish marketing bases, self-edit and do their own design work. It is a monumental task.

Writing for the Media: Post #1 – It’s All About Me

January 15, 2008

This spring I am taking a class on Writing for the Media. Part of the class is keeping a blog – rather then creating a whole new blog, since it’s topic related, I’m going to keep the ‘class assigned blog posts’ on here.

This first post will help you with a little of my history and might let you get to know me a little better.

I’ve always been interested in media. If you wanted to be literal, about the time I was five my father taught me to read using JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I’ve been hooked ever since.

In highschool (I went to Newburgh Free Academy), we were divided up into ‘academies,’ and I was in the Communications Academy. I got really into Video editing and digital media. I liked the nitty-gritty; getting the details right; making sure if someone was walking down steps, and in one shot I did a cut that ended with them on their right foot that the next clip showed them lifting their right foot off the ground and stepping down with the left. In addition to video, I took a couple of writing classes. Senior year I had a woman who should go down as one of the best teachers in history. Mrs. Aber taught me grammar.

That might suprise you a little; that I didn’t know grammar until my senior year in highschool, but that’s just a statement on public schools today. Grammar is the nitty-gritty of writing, and without it language wouldn’t make sense.

When I had to choose a college, number one of my list of important things was that the school had BOTH a film and a writing program. That’s how I ended up at Manhattanville (there were a few other factors too- something about have a real castle on campus). Time and experience (my uncle works in video producing, I took a couple of classes and worked with a professor on an independent film) showed me film wasn’t a perfect fit. My writing classes, however, I really enjoyed.

I took fiction workshop, poetry workshop, creative writing, journalism, and narrative writing. This semester will add writing for the media and journalism II to that list.

Somewhere along the line someone mentioned Pace’s Publishing program to me – and that they do a joint degree with Manhattanville. The dual program allows you to get your masters in five years. I’m doing it in four. This year is my third year at Manhattanville and I’ll graduate this May, get a job in Publishing, and start grad school full time at Pace in the fall (all Pace grad classes are night classes, so they won’t interfere with a job).

The joint program has allowed me to take financial aspects of publishing and professional editing at Pace last semester. This semester I’m taking book production and design.

The ‘BIG’ goal? I’d like to work in book publishing and write on writing and publishing for magazines. Last semester I didn an internship with Columbia University Press. This semester I’d like to get at least one article published in a print magazine. I’m working on a guest post for Lindsey Pollak’s Career blog. I think that’s a step in the ‘write’ direction.

Hopefully this writing for the media class will be another step.