Aphelion Issue 198, Volume 19
August 2015
 
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And-- It's August! Here we go with another issue of Aphelion!

First off, as some of you may know by now, I've switched to a different job at the factory. Monday through Friday, as opposed to the rotating shifts I've gotten used to aver the years. It entailed a small cut in my pay rate, too. Until New Years, I'll be doing Age Testing and Dust Testing on the insulation. Sort of a Redneck Lab Tech, LOL! After New Years I will have to go back to my old job. I knew at the outset this new job would be temporary. Basically, I get ordinary bags of insulation right off the line as they are being packaged, bundle them up just like they were going to the warehouse for shipment to customers, and let the bundles sit in a hold area for specific periods of time. Time Of Manufacture, 7-Days, 14-Days, 30-Days, 60-Days, and 90-Days. As each time is reached, I cut the bundles open, do a full range of quality tests on each bag, and cut samples for the dust tests. Then I go off to my little laboratory and test the amount of dust each sample produces when they go into a testing machine. I also do Data Entry on all of the tests I do. All that information is used to suggest changes to the manufacturing process so the glass ages better, and the dust is reduced. Naturally, I'm not supposed to go into a lot of detail. We can't go giving away company secrets, after all.

Secondly, I have almost finished the rewrite of the story for the steampunk anthology I submitted to a couple of months ago. The anthology editors asked me to extend the ending past the scene where I originally stopped. I was limited to a strict 8000 word limit by the anthology for which I originally wrote the story. It was a good stopping place, but not a good ending, if you see the difference. The editors of the new anthology wanted more story, a real ending, and they've allowed me to expand on the tale. I should be able to reach the ending I want within the next few days. Then I'll have to go in and edit the bits I see need changes, mail it off to the editors, and let them work their magic.

A lot of you regular readers know how I feel about editors. But for those of you who don't, I'll expound upon the subject for this editorial. You see, editors are necessary because they can see a story in ways the writer can't. Writers get caught up inside their stories. We get so deep inside them that some of the flaws become invisible to us. Sure, we see the more obvious errors. An editor comes to the story fresh, without the handicap of having gotten used to those invisible errors the writer no longer sees. To them, the invisible errors stand out more clearly than to the writer. They can see where a writer used the same word repeatedly, then they find suitable synonyms to cut down on the number of repetitions. They can see where a spell-check didn't notice a correctly spelled word that wasn't the correct word at all. They can see were a characters eyes were blue on page 2, yet are described as green on page 17. Or where dialog gets assigned to the wrong character, as if one had been speaking with a Scottish accent to another who had a Southern US accent, but the writer forgot which was which in a couple of lines. And so on. Because an editor hasn't been seeing the story over and over and over again like the writer, the flaws are more obvious to them.

I love working with editors! I learn so much from them. I pick up on tricks to use while writing to catch even more errors so that they can find fewer small flaws in my work. Some of the big ones still happen, of course. Habits of a lifetime are hard to break. To this day I still have trouble seeing where I've slipped from Past Tense into Passive Voice. I still slip in to many that and which and for and other, similar words. Those run up a word count without adding much to the story itself. Sometimes those words are needed, but most of the time they are uselessly taking up space.

A good editor not only finds your errors, suggests corrections, and works with you to make the story better. They also teach you how to become a better writer. After working with editors, a writer finds that they have learned how to better spot their own mistakes, as well as ways to correct them. You begin to break old, bad habits while learning to spot other ways in which your writing can become even better. Every writer needs an editor. Even editors who writ need editors of their own. No matter how long you've been writing, or how good you get, you never outgrow the need to have someone outside your own head take a look at your work and point out where you slipped up.

Everyone needs an editor. Spell-check isn't enough. That is what I say in every writing panel in every convention I go to. You can't catch all of your mistakes by yourself. Plus, you eventually learn ways to minimize simple mistakes, as well as break bad writing habits. Editors aren't there to tell you how bad a writer you are. They are there to show you how to be a better writer. You can learn so much from an editor. But you never stop needing one.

A word or two about Aphelion: We've been showing a marked reduction in comments and critiques on the stories in recent issues. I'd like to see that turn around. Aphelion has always been about readers and writers coming together to help the writers learn more. Those comments in the Forums are a huge part of the learning process. Everyone is invited to join in the Forums and comment on the stories you read. Forums membership is free, easy to obtain, and helps everyone concerned. The writers become better, the stories become better, and more of us will eventually graduate to the ranks of the pros. We also have a Survey you can take that will help the Staff come up with new ideas to improve the zine. It is free, no names are collected, and it only takes a few minutes of your time. There is a button over on the left of the page which leads to the survey. As an aside, Aphelion itself got several instances of praise at the convention. Readers, writers, and even pro publishers know about us. I got a few thank yous from some of the pros, for gifting them with some of our writers. Aphelion has been around for a good long while now. We've earned the respect of the larger community. All of that is due to the efforts of the Staff, the writers, and the readers. I'm proud of all of you!

In October, the 200th issue of Aphelion will go live. That is amazing! I'd love to see something special to commemorate this event. So, writers, start creating something super for that issue, please! The Staff and I will brainstorm together and see what we can do to make it a memorable occasion.

Now it is high time that I let you get to reading. Please do comment on the stories and poetry. The writers are depending on you to express your opinions. They'd love to hear what you have to say!

Dan


BOILERPLATE:

First off, if you do the Facebook thing, feel free to join us on the Aphelion page there. The link is Aphelion Webzine. As an aside, the Editorial Mafia and I have found Facebook to be very useful. Given our different locations and schedules, it's come in handy as a way to discuss production details of new issues. Sometimes there are several of us using Facebook at the same time, so it's almost like the old chat room days.

Dan's Music Page This is my promo page here at Aphelion. All the links below, and more information about the albums, are located here.

The Never Bank On A Learning Curve CD on the Create Space website. My first album, with a wide range of styles and genres, covering the past three years of my working with the MAGIX Music Maker programs.

The Second Helping CD on the Create Space website. My second album, with just as wide a range of different musical styles, showing just how much I've learned in the past three years.

Dan's Studio-D Page on the Bandcamp website. Digital downloads of the albums, or each individual song if you prefer it that way. Just click on the album cover thumbnails and you'll see a list of each song on the album. Next to the song titles are links to read the liner notes, or to download the individual song. You can listen to each song for free. There is also a link to download each entire album at one go. I cannot say enough about Bandcamp! This is an amazing website. I have Rob, and many other friends, to thank for finally talking me into checking it out.

Here are some links to pages I have up promoting my music. When my book comes out I'll add those links to the promotion page, too. So far, there are links on that page to the Create Space Preview songs, the Create Space page for each album, the Amazon.com listings, and the link to the digital downloads page.

And here's a link to my Sound Cloud page:

Dan's Sound Cloud Page where all my music has been stored for your free listening pleasure. These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the CDs or on Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having everything collected together in one place.

Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what you hear. And once again, thank you for your time,

Dan all my music has been stored for your free listening pleasure. These are not as high a quality recordings as the ones on the CDs or on Bandcamp. But SoundCloud does have the virtue of having everything collected together in one place.

Check those links out, buy a CD or download if you like what you hear. And once again, thank you for your time,

Dan


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ON THE COVER

Title: Hubble New Horizons Spacecraft Displays Pluto's Big Heart
Photo Credit: NASA, APL, SwRI