Susan Wise Bauer's Blog, page 5

October 16, 2012

New York Magazine notices a trend: check out their new section on urban homeschooling.

Urban homeschoolers frequently cite the homogenization of public education as the reason they chose to take over their kids’ schooling. With federal and state education policy placing ever-greater emphasis on core standards and standardized tests, many parents want to give their kids something more creative, flexible, and engaging than a school day they see as factory-made. The one-size-fits-all model is especially unappealing to parents of children who are “special” in some way: unevenly intelligent, intensely shy, immature, or in need of a flexible schedule to accommodate their professional acting or dancing or musical careers. In New York, even parents in the best districts complain about overcrowding and about teachers, who, however motivated and skilled, have their hands full managing the unruly few who can reign in some classrooms. Then there are the problems that come with all traditional schools: the bullying, the playground politics, and the escalating gadget and fashion arms races. According to the DOE, nearly 88 percent of U.S. homeschool parents express concern about the school environment, citing drugs, negative peer pressure, and general safety.

You can read the rest here.

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Published on October 16, 2012 03:42 • 55 views

October 13, 2012

I wrote, "But all was not well on the borders." Copyeditor corrected to, "But not all was well on the borders." Nope, I like mine better. #
I wrote "They knew little of Islam but too much of the rigid Hinduism of the Sena." Copyeditor corrected to… #
"They knew little about Islam but too much about the rigid Hinduism of the Sena." And once again nope. Mine flows better. #
I wrote, "To reduce the power of the church courts back within bounds, Henry needed a sympathetic archbishop." Copyeditor corrected to… #
"To turn the power of the church courts to former bounds, Henry needed…" OK, I don't even need to finish that one, do I?? #
You know, I sense that the copyeditor has begun to feel cranky. And we're only on p. 143 of 914… #
Took a break from edits to feed sheep in the dusk. Glow-worms salted all through the pasture: chips of luminescence in dark grass. #
Is it OK to say that tensions "escalate"? Wondering why copyeditor changed it to "tensions mounted." #copyedits #
OK, I am having trouble with the phrase "hove to." Can I say that a fleet "hove to on the horizon"? Or do I need to say "heaved to"? #
Richard I sent his entrails to be buried at Limoges. Does that really contradict statement that his body was buried at his father's feet? #

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Published on October 13, 2012 21:21 • 35 views

October 6, 2012

"He dared to search for answers…" "using only reason" or "by means of reason alone"? #copyedits #
Bosphorus? Bosporus? #copyedits #
My esteemed editor things that "coronated" is an "unlovely verb." Sticking with plain old vanilla "crowned." #copyedits #
"First permanent government-run navy" or "first standing government-run navy"? And do the Southern Song beat out King Alfred for the claim? #
(Because that's just the sort of thing that a retired naval officer will write me a REALLY snarky letter about if I get it wrong.) #
Let's stay consistent with the Medieval World volume. So, Yellow river, not Yellow River; Alexius Comnenus, not Alexios Komnenos… #
OK, I hate this style change: from Count of Anjou to count of Anjou, from Prince of Galilee to prince of Galilee…I might push back. #
My esteemed editor has just called one of my verb choices "down market." I'm not feeling the love here. #
STET is my new favorite word. #
No, we will not change County of Edessa to county of Edessa. That would be something else, like a rural location in Texas. #
Oddly, no one has yet objected to my use of the verb "clobbered." Which is definitely down-market, IMO. #
I don't like the word "whereas." It's stuffy. We will not be substituting it for my more pedestrian "while." STET. #
When you start taking punctuation edits as personal insults, it's time for a break. #
Bernard of Chartres was quite a schoolmaster: "In some cases he would rely on exhortation, in others, flogging." #
This copyeditor does not like Any Capital Letters At All. Longxing Peace Accord, not Longxing peace accord! High King, not high king! ARGH. #
What is the point of changing all my "befores" to "earliers"? Does that actually improve the book? I think not. **snorts** #
For those just joining me, I'm live-tweeting my experience of reviewing 900 pages of copyedits on the History of the Renaissance. Fun, huh? #
My esteemed editor also hates the noun "coronation." And any form thereof. Childhood trauma, maybe? #
Sorry, but "grey" and "gray" seem like two different colors to me. I meant GREY. #
OK, I AM aware that I should know how to spell Plantagenet. **hides face in shame** #
It kind of looks like a herd of wild commas has stampeded through my manuscript and then died in random places. #
Oh, forget it. I'm going to go clean stalls now. #
One pilgrimage to Mecca = hajj. Two pilgrimages to Mecca = hajjes. I never knew that before. #copyedits #
Darn it, leave my semi-colons alone! #copyedits #
Took a day away from work to go to the State Fair of Virginia. Unfortunately, not what it was. Maybe next year. #

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Published on October 06, 2012 21:21 • 27 views

October 5, 2012

This week, I started on the first major post-submission production task for the History of the Renaissance World: going through the copy edits.

That’s the copy-edited manuscript. All form edits (em-dashes instead of en-dashes, typesetting indications, footnote formatting, etc.) are entered onto the paper copy in red pencil. So are spelling corrections, notes about consistency, and queries about anything that seems unclear or contradictory. The queries are all written on blue post-it notes and attached to the page where the query occurs. You can see them, if you look carefully.

I have to review each mark, approve each change, and answer each query. In pencil. On 900 pages of manuscript.

To make this more complicated, I have two other copies of the manuscript to review at the same time. One of them contains my editor’s suggestions and comments. Usually, I get those earlier on and work through the book one more time before it goes to into copyediting. But apparently this didn’t fit into the book production schedule, this time around. So I’m simultaneously incorporating in changes that he asked for, plus any corrections that I got back from my outside fact-checker. Here’s what my desk looks like: from right to left, copy-edited manuscript, editorial copy of manuscript, fact-checker copy of manuscript, and time lines, which have to be compared to the final edited text for consistency.

And then there are the notes and the works cited. No room on the table for those…

I have two weeks to finish this. I am skeptical.

Also, I don’t enjoy it. If you want to follow me on Twitter, you can watch me live-tweet my exasperation. (Or wait til Sunday, when the week’s copyediting tweets will appear as a blog post.)

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Published on October 05, 2012 14:26 • 31 views

October 1, 2012

Following on our leap into sheep-and-wool-goat raising, we went to our first livestock show this weekend: the Eastern Angora & Mohair Association Fall Show at the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. Emily showed her much-loved colored Angora, Clover, in a very large Kid Doe class. And check her out!

And then Clover won Reserve Champion Doe for the entire show.

Emily’s currently walking about eighteen inches above the ground.

Meanwhile, I’m facing down the copyedits on the History of the Renaissance World (about which more shortly). And feeling that I like goats better.

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Published on October 01, 2012 04:22 • 43 views

September 24, 2012

The frogs have found a happy place…

“Actually, I’m still hungry.”

New fences for goats and sheep…

State Fair arts and crafts entry! Hoping for a blue ribbon.

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Published on September 24, 2012 08:02 • 38 views

September 19, 2012

In January 2006, I started this blog when the manuscript of the History of the Ancient World went off to my publisher. My hair was shorter, my children were younger, my office was still in a corner of the farmhouse’s third floor, and the process of publishing massive history tomes was still new and fascinating.

For the last six and half years, I’ve been blogging about the the ups and downs of writing and publishing the history of the world, as well as a host of other related and semi-related (and totally unrelated) topics. But the blog’s been organized and centered around this project.

Now the third volume has gone off to the publisher. I’m not finished writing history, but I’ve taken a temporary departure from the exhaustive History of the (Whole) World. (For details, read this.)

And as a result, I’m feeling like my blog and I are experiencing a time of distance that’s going to lead to a…restructuring. Not a break-up, I hope, certainly. But it’s time for a State of the Relationship talk.

I have, after all, already chronicled–multiple times–the whole laborious revise/copy-edit/clear permissions/make maps/write flap copy/agonize over publicity/etc. process of publishing. Sure, I’ll do it one more time for the History of the Renaissance World, but I’m really starting to feel like a bore.

Plenty of things are going on at the farm (if you’re wondering why, read this). In recent weeks, the shearer came to shear the sheep,

and we made applesauce, and canned peaches.

And we’ve taken a long-planned leap and decided to put in an agricultural pond, so we’ve been visited daily by Very Large Machines.

I could post whole series of photos on sheep-shearing, peach-canning, and pond-digging, but somehow they seem not quite the point of this blog.

The helpful denizens of the Well-Trained Mind boards have made a whole list of useful suggestions about future blogging topics. But they don’t seem to fit either with the History of the (Whole) World or with my farm projects.

And although I feel like I’m going through a very interesting and potentially creative series of personal changes, I’m kind of wary about rattling on about them in public. No, make that “very wary.” Or even “positively phobic.”

So every time I sit down to update my blog, I find myself running into a brick wall.

Hence the paucity of posts, recently.

Any ideas? New title? New blog? New purpose? New brain?

‘Cause I think my brain is broken.

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Published on September 19, 2012 04:16 • 63 views

September 7, 2012

As a follow-up to my July post about possible cover images for the upcoming History of the Renaissance World, may I present…Norton’s suggested cover.

I love this cover.

I love that the designer chose to use “The Triumph of Death.”

I love the contrast between the image and the happy word “renaissance,” because that’s the contrast I kept finding as I wrote.

I love the colors, which are related both to the painting and to the first two books in the series.

Can’t wait to see the book.

Of course, I have a ghastly amount of production work to do before that happens. But I can still look forward to it.

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Published on September 07, 2012 13:20 • 216 views

September 1, 2012

The state of consumer book reviews, or Why You Shouldn't Believe Anything You Read on Amazon: #
Happy 19th birthday, dear second son! #

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Published on September 01, 2012 21:21 • 50 views

August 18, 2012

Leaving newly-21-year-old son in charge at beach house while dh & I go out on the town. Age & maturity hath its rewards. (For us, not him.) #
Last night, I had my very first ever Sheep Anxiety Dream. Broken gates, missing bags of feed, runaway ewes…preying velociraptor… #
Serendipitously, stressed-out women find it easy to comply: #
William H. Gass on the digital age: "By and large, the horse has it better than it did a century ago." #

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Published on August 18, 2012 21:21 • 26 views

Susan Wise Bauer's Blog

Susan Wise Bauer
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