Arranging a Manuscript

Part alchemy, part hard work, and a big space to lay out all the pieces, this is how a manuscript comes together.

The deadline for submissions for the 3 Nations Anthology was March 15. In the ensuing weeks, the pieces were read and reread many times.

There are many ways to put a book like this together. Alphabetized by author, sorted by subject, or genre, all are valid constructions. I looked for the conversations between the pieces, to see where subject and tone collided or harmonized. At Off the Coast, every issue was produced this way.

I carted the manuscript to the University of Maine Machias and spread everything out on tables in the art room on the second floor of Powers Hall. It was a wonderful, quiet place to work in. Before long, the manuscript was stretched out across thirty feet of table space. With a deep breath, I dove in and started reading, and sorting, and moving the pieces around. The physicality of this process is amazing. The words dance on the pages and you in turn, dance with the pages. It feels much like that scene in Fantasia with Wizard Mickey conducting and everything around you, the tables, the marble busts, the pages, the light itself swirling into something magical. Read More….

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