A Peek Into Production, by Meghan Maloney-Vinz

by Aug 12, 2019

A pile of word docs soon to become a journal.

With the last month of summer upon us, it seems like the right time to check into the production of Volume 22.  

Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

In May, after the editorial board and their faculty editors made their final selections, production began in earnest with an initial Design + Concept Meeting at MCAD’s DesignWorks. At the meeting, this year’s MCAD student design intern, Patrick Sexton (who had read a first draft of this year’s issue by then) presented the production team (executive editor, Mary Rockcastle, assistant managing editor, Robyn Earhart, DesignWorks studio manager, Dylan Cole, graphic designer Kayla Campbell, and myself) and with photography that he felt best corresponds with the recurring images and themes of the written work selected.

It is an exciting meeting as the marriage of image and language begins to take shape and we start to see the issue in its physical form. We envision the reading, the poster at the podium, and the bookshelf at AWP. The journal has a tangible future that fuels our collective momentum.

Before being handed off to MCAD for layout, the entire manuscript goes through several thorough editing rounds. First, and early round of direct editing between genre editors and contributors, and then again with our copy editor and proofreader, Anne Kelley Conklin.

After all of Anne’s requested changes are satisfied, the entire manuscript is finally handed over to Patrick and the DesignWorks team who work for two weeks on the layout for the first galley.

The galley, or proof is our first version of what will eventually become that beauty on the shelf. It is actually presented to us in paper form, so we can actually experience what the spreads look like, and how the layout of each specific piece works on the page template. Using our style guide, we compare the pieces to each other, but we also check each piece to the final version submitted. Sometimes small spacing issues or other quirks emerge or get lost in the translation of files, and it’s our job to find these inconsistencies and set them right.

We are currently at the review stage of Galley 1.

We will repeat the drill again in about three weeks, when we will receive the second galley. Hopefully, all of the requested changes have been made and if not, we repeat again until it is right. It is at this stage that we also make available to our contributors a PDF version of their piece as it is set to appear in the journal. It is our last line of approval before going to print in mid-late September.

And then we hold our breath. The work is done and the time to surface is near. The crisp white boxes appear at our door in early October, and with rapid heart rates and steady hands we slice open the tops.

The neat stacks of that magic, materialized. 




MEGHAN MALONEY-VINZ  has worked as managing editor for Water~Stone Review for over a decade now. Prior to coming on board with Water~Stone she worked as the design coordinator for Hamline Creative Writing graduate student literary magazine rock, paper, scissors (a journal she helped create). Aside from her work with Hamline Creative Writing, Maloney-Vinz is also a founding member and project manager for broadcraft press. and serves as managing editor for The UnderReview, a sports adjacent literary journal. Her spare time finds her at a local sporting event (big or small), driving her children to various activities, or day-drinking with other writerly types.

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