Caleigh Minshall

I felt like a professional puzzle-solver this week. I’ve told you before about our sixteen-page signatures, which mean that any book the Quill publishes needs to be a multiple of sixteen. Well, I’ve just finished typesetting two of our books — Mystery Stories by David Helwig and Fine Incisions by Eric Ormsby — and, whaddaya know, they both end up with horridly awkward page numbers that are decidedly not multiples of sixteen. Fine Incisions came out to 262 pages, while Mystery Stories came out to 266 pages — both of which are almost right in the middle of sixteen signatures (256 pp.) and seventeen (272 pp.) What’s a porcupette to do?

Well, I’ve come up with a few ideas, with Eric and David’s help. Mystery Stories was originally split into three sections, with a novella at the end. David and I decided we could make the novella its own section. Thus, an extra two pages, for the section title page to announce the start of the novella. Then we had another idea: a dedication. Another two pages. Now we’re at 270 pp., but that still leaves two more pages to fit in somewhere to make the book work. Where do they come in? I decided to insert a full blank page (both sides) before the author biography at the end of the book. The problem is that Tim wasn’t in the shop today, and so I couldn’t double-check that decision with him. I’ll find out soon whether it’s back to the drawing board with that one …

Fine Incisions is a little trickier, because we wanted to cut six pages (to get to 256 pp.) instead of add ten (to get to 272 pp.). Originally Fine Incisions was divided into seven sections; each of those sections got a title page in the book. I suggested to Eric and Carmine Starnino, his editor, that perhaps we could change the number of sections. Carmine suggested four; Eric preferred three; and now Eric is thinking about a way to gracefully categorize his essays in only three sections. If we reduce the number of sections to only three instead of seven, that will mean we get to 254 pp. — and it’s not too hard to find two more pages to add somewhere!

On an entirely new note, I finally took the photos of the Inksters’ backyard that I promised so many posts ago. It was a beautiful day outside (although pretty cold) and I got a few pretty shots of where I eat my lunch every day. Take a look:


My lunch room at the Porcupine’s Quill. June, 2010.

The view

The amazing view of the river. Beneath the willow tree on the right is where the muskrats keep their home.

And finally, I have another backlist gem to share. Kenji and the Cricket, written by Adele Wiseman and illustrated by Shiyuze Takashima, was published in 1988, the same year I was born. And although my mom (who is in the kitchen behind me) tells me that she doesn’t remember the book, I swear that somewhere, somehow, that book was read to me when I was very small. I got another good look at it when we recently donated some copies to a local kids’ charity, and it’s a beautiful little story. Our web page on it is a little sparse at the moment, since the title is so old, but hopefully by the end of the summer I’ll have updated our website with all of our legacy information and you can see all the nice things people have said about Kenji.

Happy (almost) Canada Day! Here’s to civil liberties! (Oh, wait …)*

Caleigh Minshall

*In reference to the G20 fiasco of last weekend. Yikes.

About Caleigh

Intern at the Porcupine's Quill.
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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.