Thursday, December 30, 2010


I just created my first index, and while I felt intimidated before starting the project, it turned out to be fun and creative. Indexing is creative in that you choose which words you think need to be in the index, which words people are likely to look up. You also get to choose the subheadings and decide how you want to arrange all these words.

Before starting your first index, I highly recommend reading Nancy C. Mulvany’s book Indexing Books and the entire Indexing chapter of the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition. You will go from having scarcely any idea how to index books, to knowing all about it. It’s also good to keep these two books handy while you’re indexing and to double check with them even after you’ve gotten far along with the index.

When I indexed Rethinking Paper and Ink, I read the Word document of the manuscript and, as I went along, picked out any words or phrases that I thought belonged in the index. I copied and pasted them into a new document, in one column. During this process, I put the page numbers after the index terms, and whenever I came across one of the words or phrases on another page, I added that page number. (Ultimately the page numbers would change because the document would be imported to InDesign and get shifted around.) When a potential subheading occurred to me, I put it in parentheses after the page numbers.

After I reached the end of the manuscript, I turned to the document I had created. I put spaces between each index word and began to sort out entries while occasionally looking things up in my two reference books. I took the sections that were in parenthesis and put them in lines below the index word and indented. I capitalized the S in what “See”’s I had written, and changed every “See also” and “See” to italic.

The next step was cutting down the number of page numbers after words followed by more than five numbers. I found the locations in the book and read them in context: what aspect of so-and-so was described on this particular page? Under these circumstances, I was able to make many subheadings.

After not touching the index for several days, I edited it from beginning to end, catching any “See also” that didn’t have a capitalized S and any entry that had more than five locators (page numbers or grouping of page numbers). In some instances, I removed subheadings because fewer than five locators were under the main heading and/or because the subheading indicated a page number that was redundant with a number under the main heading. During a later edit, I thought a few subheadings were simply not necessary, not something anyone was likely to look up, so I deleted them. After looking back over Indexing Books, I took subheadings and also made them main headings, as the book recommended.

Whether or not your index gets formatted in InDesign, it may ultimately be formatted differently than the original version, in which case the page numbers will change. For this index, I came up with numbers in brackets to represent each index term or phrase. I put the bracketed number at the location in the manuscript and after the term or phrase in the index. After the index is reformatted, then you replace the bracketed numbers with the ultimate page numbers and remove the bracketed numbers from the text.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review of With Her in Ourland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

In the classic feminist utopian novel Herland, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote about three young men who land an airplane in a country occupied entirely by women. All the men died in war two thousand years ago, and after initial grief and despair, the women evolved, developing an ability to give birth asexually. They can only have girls, and giving birth requires a strong desire to have a child. The three young men learn the language and culture and fall in love with three young women and marry them; two of the men, including the narrator Van, get ready to fly away to America with one of the young women, Ellador, who is curious to know about the male-dominated world. The novel is a highly amusing and mischievous adventure that ridicules patriarchy and machismo.

With Her in Ourland is the sequel to Herland. We travel with Van and Ellador to the male-dominated world, where Ellador takes copious notes about the societies they visit and diagnoses solutions for the patriarchal countries’ problems. They travel to Europe and witness WWI, they travel to Asia, and finally they arrive in America. Ellador tries not to offend her husband but simultaneously is disturbed by what she sees everywhere they go. The book is much more serious than Herland and almost reads like nonfiction.

As a contemporary writer, I would have included much sensory detail about the places that Ellador and Van visit. I would have also made it a darker, more moody and atmospheric book. As Gilman wrote it, With Her in Ourland is analytical and consists primarily of dialogue between Van and Ellador. The average modern reader wants images and plot and isn’t keen on authors standing on a soapbox. That said, I consider it a brilliant book in terms of sociological analysis, and Ellador comes up with great ideas for transforming patriarchal, wasteful societies.

As a Buddhist, I thought of the historic Buddha’s legendary sheltered childhood and how he went out and finally saw, as an adult, a person who was old, a person who was sick, and a person who had just died. The story goes that this is how he first found out about suffering, or discontent. I found Ellador’s adventure very similar, in that she witnesses suffering, oppression, and environmental destruction for the first time. The book also reminded me of Buddhism because, as Ellador points out, people in patriarchal society choose to create hell on Earth and it’s so unnecessary; in contrast, Ellador and the other women of Herland are enlightened beings.

Gilman self-published Herland in her own zine, The Forerunner, back in 1915, and With Her in Ourland came out in the same zine in 1916. The latter was finally republished in 1979, but without the sequel, which wasn’t republished until 1997. They are wonderful, rare finds by the author of “The Yellow Wallpaper” and should not be forgotten. Gilman was a sociologist and quite an insightful visionary, especially for her time.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Herland. Introduction by Ann J. Lane. Pantheon Books, NY: 1979.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. With Her in Ourland. Edited by Mary Jo Deegan and Michael R. Hill, with an introduction by Mary Jo Deegan. Praeger, Westport, Connecticut: 1997.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Brew to Bikes in the New York Times

As a publishing student at PSU, I work for the student-run book publishing company, Ooligan Press. The upcoming Ooligan title Brew to Bikes by Charles Heying and other contributors gets mention in this article in the New York Times: 
(The article says Brew to Bikes will be published in November, but it's been changed to October so that the book will be featured at the annual Portland book convention, Wordstock.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Publicity for Ooligan Press & PSU

Ooligan Press--and several other Portland-area presses--are featured in this blog:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Write to Publish 2010 a Great Success

Publishing student Tom McCluskey interviews Ursula K. LeGuin

Chuck Palahniuk and Ursula K. LeGuin chatting

As a grad student working for Ooligan Press at Portland State University, I devoted last weekend to Write to Publish, Ooligan's writing conference. It was a great success!

The first day  (May 22) consisted of workshops run by Dennis Stovall, founder of Ooligan Press; Sarah Berry and Marty Brown, PSU publishing instructors; YA novelist Sara Ryan; Vinnie Kinsella of Deklaration Editing; literary agent Bernadette Baker-Baughman; Bo Johnson of Boiler Hat Comics; Ali McCart of Indigo Editing; Michael Clark, copyright lawyer; Aaron Colter of Dark Horse Comics; Brett Warnock of Top Shelf Productions.

The second day (May 23) consisted of an industry mingle at the Smith Memorial Ballroom at PSU. Vendors from mostly local publishing-related businesses had booths, and guest authors onstage talked about writing. The guest authors were: Virginia Euwer Wolf, Ursula K. LeGuin, Chuck Palahniuk, Deborah Hopkinson, Lilith Saintcrow, and Shannon Wheeler. LeGuin and Saintcrow gave especially helpful advice for writers trying to get published.

Lilith Saintcrow and Sara Ryan have since blogged about the event:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Author/Editor Brown Bag Lunch at Write to Publish

Authors and editors, you are welcome to attend the Write to Publish Author and Editor Luncheon taking place on Saturday, May 22 from noon to 1pm. The luncheon will be held at Portland State University in the Smith Memorial Student Union room 328. I have included the full list of authors and editors below. The format of the discussion will be three sets of authors and editors talking about their experiences working together. It is a brown bag luncheon, so please grab something at the Farmers' Market, or bring a lunch from home.


Loretta Stinson, author of Little Green
Sid Miller, author of Dot-to-Dot, Oregon and Ooligan Press editor, Kelsey Parpart
Michale Munk, author of The Portland Red Guide and Ooligan Press editor, Amanda Gomm

Get your tickets to the Oolicon: Write to Publish conference May 22 & 23 and learn about the process of getting your writing published. To purchase tickets, please contact the Portland State University box office at (503) 725-3307.

For more information about Write to Publish:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Write to Publish video!

Watch the Write to Publish manifesto video!

Get your tickets to the Oolicon: Write to Publish conference May 22 & 23 and learn about the process of getting your writing published. To purchase tickets, please contact the Portland State University box office at (503) 725-3307.

Ursula K. LeGuin and Chuck Pahlaniuk are among the guest speakers on May 23!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Need an Editor? Developmental Edits at the Write to Publish Conference

Ooligan Press will hold its annual conference, Write to Publish, on May 22 and 23. If you’re a writer who would like a professional editor to look over your manuscript and give you feedback on how it could be improved, you will have a great opportunity during Write to Publish.

We are still accepting manuscripts for this developmental edit service. It includes a thirty-minute meeting with your manuscript’s editor and a detailed developmental edit letter.

If you wish to take advantage of this service, we ask for four things: fifty pages of your manuscript, a plot summary, a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and the editing fee of $50.00, which can be paid with either a check or money order made out to Ooligan Press. Please send these items to:

Write to Publish
c/o Ooligan Press
369 Neuberger Hall
724 SW Harrison Street
Portland, Oregon 

Upon receipt of the manuscript, we will mail you your appointment time. All appointments are scheduled for Saturday, May 22, 2010, the first day of the Write to Publish conference. If you have any questions, please contact us at

For more information about our editing service, about the Write to Publish conference, or about Ooligan Press, please visit

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review: Holly Black's White Cat

In a world where mobster families practice dark magic, Cassel feels left out as the only one in his dysfunctional family who has no magic powers. He compensates with his abilities to con and lie much like the rest of the family. As if normal teen angst weren’t bad enough, he is haunted by the horrific death of a friend and struggles to remember how she died. When he dreams of a white cat talking to him and wakes up sleepwalking on the roof of his prep school dorm, his life spins out of control.

Holly Black’s fairy tale trilogy, Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside, are among my favorite fantasy novels. While not about fairies, this is another urban fantasy by Holly Black, one that will keep you up all night reading to the end, as the plot twists and turns and Cassel learns disturbing things about himself and about his family. The world of curse worker mobsters is a highly original conception.

The novel itself is excellent, but the cover art is yet another example, along with Justine Larbalestier’s Liar and Jaclyn Dolamore’s Magic Under Glass, of YA cover art whitewashing. Cassel has black hair, black eyes, and tan skin, yet the boy on the front cover has auburn hair and very pale skin. The continued racism in the publishing industry, which believes that featuring white people on the front cover will sell more copies, is a disgrace.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Write to Publish!

Ooligan Press, the student-run publishing house of Portland State University, will host the writing conference Write to Publish from May 22 to 23.

Guest authors include: Ursula K. LeGuin, Chuck Palahniuk, Lilith Saintcrow, Shannon Wheeler, Deborah Hopkinson, and Virginia Euer Wolff (not to be confused with the ghost of Virginia Woolf).

For more information, visit:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Write to Publish

I have exciting news about Write to Publish, Ooligan Press's book conference! But I have to keep it a secret until March 10.

However, I can divulge a little more information about the conference. It takes place on May 22 and 23, 2010, at Smith Memorial Hall on the campus of Portland State University, and professional authors will be there. The conference includes a day of writing workshops and a day of author panels, all meant to encourage, inspire, and teach writers to get published. The emphasis is not on the writing process but rather on getting published.

Ooligan Press is a student-run publishing house located at Portland State University. Dennis Stovall and Laurie King wrote the firs edition of the book Classroom Publishing back in 1992, and though the book was primarily about using publishing in elementary and high school classrooms, Dennis Stovall used classroom publishing principles to start the grad school publishing program at PSU. On March 1, the second edition of Classroom Publishing came out, published by Ooligan Press. It has been completely revised and updated for today's digital publishing world. The book is available at all major book stores and online book stores.

For more information about Write to Publish or Ooligan Press, visit

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Writing Historic Fiction

I just read a good essay on writing historic fiction, and I thought I'd share it here:

(At least, I hope this link works--I had to type it, since this website continues to refrain from allowing me to copy and paste.)

The article is by Avi, a major writer of children's fiction.

I sometimes write historic fiction, particularly historic fantasy.