Monday, October 15, 2007

Blue Lines, or, James the Stupid Guy

So, evidently, I'm an idiot.

A couple of days ago, my editor calls me, her voice filled with excitement. Before I can say a word, she rattles off something like, "James, we got the blue lines for the ARC today and they look so awesome and as your editor I feel I must tell you about the mistakes we found but don't worry because it's nothing major and we're going to tell them to go forward if you're okay with it and . . ."

At this point, I sheepishly interjected and asked, "What are blue lines?"

I was met with the silence of a sealed grave.

"Hello?" I asked.

Another silence. Then: "You don't know what blue lines are?"

Me: "I have no idea what that is."

Lisa: "You're an idiot."

Okay, it didn't go quite like that, but close. Now, I'm sure many of you know what blue lines are, unlike me, the Stupid Guy. But in case you don't, I shall educate you.

Blue lines (and I have no idea where the words came from) are the bound version of whatever item is being published (in this case, my ARCs - Advance Reader Copies) that are sent to the publisher by the printer before they move forward with the full print run. In other words, the printer sent an ARC, just like it will look in the end, to my publisher for one final review before they start printing them in loads.

That's what blue lines are. Is. Whatever. Lisa wasn't kind enough to tell my WHY they are called blue lines. Could any term sound more random? Okay, fine. From now on, my pants will be known as "duck platters" and my computer will be known as "potato rigormortis." Makes as much sense to me. UPDATE: Lisa explains the origin of "blue lines" in the comments.

Anyway, the ARCs are in full production and should be done in a couple of weeks. Sweet!

Okay, now that I am obviously running out of interesting things to talk about, I'll start doing more Question and Answer posts. I've saved up any questions I've received so far, and I will answer them one by one. If ever you have a question on which you'd like me to pontificate, please just post it in the comments at any time. I save them and will hit them in order.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, especially any Star Wars fans, please go and watch this video: CLICK HERE. Be sure and watch the whole 2 minutes or you'll miss the "Cantina" part.

Have a great day.


Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Potato Rigor Mortis? Right. This has officially earned my coveted "Favourite Post of the Day" status for that phrase alone.

I'm an idiot too. Does that help?

Anonymous said...

Okay, James, pull up your duck platters and stop typing on your potato rigormortis for just a minute and I'll tell you WHY they are called "bluelines."

Way back in the dark ages of publishing when presses actually dealt with printing press and not digital files and computers, the proofs were on slick, yellow paper with the text reversed in blue. Hence the term "bluelines." I think the blue-on-yellow was supposed to be easier to read, but it just made my eyes hurt after a while. Though the ink smelled really good. (Yes, it is the life of an editor to get high of old ink fumes. :)

Anyway, now that we're in the digital age, the presses send back proofs on regular paper with regular black-on-white text--but we still call them "bluelines."

So now you've learned something today. Don't you feel better?

Your All-Knowing Editor,
Lisa Mangum

Luisa Perkins said...

Wow. Today HAS been educational.

Annette Lyon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

I'm an ex-ink-fume-sniffer, too. Warning: they will also refer to the final comp of your cover art as a "mechanical", even though there's no longer anything mechanical about it, thanks to Photoshop.

Good luck!! I'm a little giddy for you, and I don't even know you!

James Dashner said...

Lisa, you have enlightened us beyond reason. Thank you! This is some very valuable useless information. You're the best. And, uh, all knowing.

Kim, I already knew you were an idiot. (sorry, just kidding)

Oh great. I've been tagged again. Annette, I can't, uh, thank you enough.

Mechanical, huh? Thanks for the scoop. Maybe this time Lisa won't call me an idiot.

Annette Lyon said...

Actually, never mind, and carry on. :)

Dedee said...

I love the potato Rigor Mortis!!!!

(I learned something today. And I have to say that I think your editor rocks!)

LaFemmeSimple said...

Will ARCs be shipped directly to us, or will you make Wesley hand address 30+ envelopes?

James Dashner said...

Luckily, my publisher will be sending out the ARCs. I didn't know that when I did the contest, but when they found out about it, they told me to provide them with the list.

Sweet for me!

Jeff Savage said...

"So, evidently, I'm an idiot."

Wow. This is a trick isn't it? That's just too much of a softball. I'll just say, James you definitely know what you're talking about.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I was clueless too. Does that help any?

Unknown said...

The only Blue Line I've heard of is on the London Underground. Thanks for the enlightenment. You deserve a treat. So James and Lisa--and anyone else who wants a treat instead of a trick--hop on over to my blog and help yourself. :-)

Rachelle Christensen said...

I just watched the lovely Star Wars Rendition and all I can say is we all have special talents.
No just kidding, that's not all I can say because I was laughing so hard and hoping that you weren't somehow related to her because that was awful.

Anonymous said...

Okay James, I just watched your Star Wars video and it made my teeth hurt. I'm afraid that I just sat at my Potato rigormotis with my mouth agape. The only way it could have been worse is if our favorite Star Wars character, JarJar Binks, came out and joined her in the - for lack of a better word - dancing and laser dodging. And some wonder why beauty pageants are an endless source of jokes.

Thanks for the smiles!

none said...

(Found you through looking for other guys on cre8buzz...there aren't a lot of us!) Glad things are getting closer to publication! I learned something new today as well. Maybe some day I will be published and can impress my editor by my knowledge of the terminology. :)

James Dashner said...

Thanks for stopping by, Stephen. I really hope you have that opportunity. The getting published part, not so much the impressing the editor part. It's better to let them think we're stupid.

Scoops Mangum said...


I saw the Star Wars video, and wanted to point you to a really funny one that I thought you would enjoy.


Mr. Lisa (Your editor's husband), aka Scoops Mangum, aka Tracy. :)

Pendragon Inman said...

james, i about had a musical heart-attack watching that video. PLEASE, don't do that again... and please tell me that wasn't for real. (cringe)

James Dashner said...

Scoops, that video is too good to be true. Thanks for sharing.