Leftovers

In the mailbag, there's a letter from John Miller. "The latest issue of Trapdoor put to end the idea once and for all that it is a "hair-brained" publication. I have been telling people for years that that is a bald faced lie. I enjoyed reading the issue even though I am unable to use any of the hairy ideas as I have no t ye t begun to s tar t losing even a little bit of my hair." (Editor's note: John is the poster child for New Generation. And where was he with all of this material when I was writing the issue?)

John continues, "Although I know I am beating the deadline by just a hair's breadth, enclosed is my $25.00 for subscription renewal. I have enclosed my coupon for the free issue. If you can't find it, it's because it was attached to the letter by a vanishing hair." (Which, by the way, is how I am sending your issues, John.)

The most difficult thing about writing a magic magazine is making it come out the right length. After all, you wouldn't want me to finish mid-sentence. Or, even worse, with a half page left blank at the end of "Leftovers". Since The Trapdoor is stapled with no loose inserts, the number of pages must be evenly divisible by four. That is why all issues are either standard size (16 pages) or special issues (20 pages). The only other close choices are 12 pages and 24 pages. There is nothing in between.

This leads us to the toughest problem to solve when writing an issue. How do I make sure that it will come out at either 16 or 20 pages? First, I must decide how many pages I want for the issue. Let's assume I am going to put together a 20 page issue. I need

16,240 words. This is calculated by multiplying the average number of words per line (7) by two columns by the number of lines per page (58) by 20 pages.

They say, "A picture is worth a thousand words". However, a drawing in this magazine is worth only about 133. This assumes that the average drawing takes up 19 lines of text. Therefore, if the average 20 page issue includes 8 drawings, I require only 16,240 minus (8 X 133) or 15,176 words.

Knowing this, I sit down with pen and paper. Trick by trick, I think about what I want to say. I count the words in my head. Let's assume I end up with 1274 words on the first draft. Since this is only about one and two thirds of a page and I am looking for twenty, I must add roug hLy 13,902 words of filler. If, on the other hand, I end up with 150,000, I cutout the tricks that I want to use personally.

All of this assumes that I count correctly and that there are no interruptions. When I was working on The Bald Issue, I had counted over 144,000 words when the phone rang. After I realized it was a wrong number, I also realized that I had forgotten where I had left off. So, I had to start all over again. As you can see by this behind the scenes peek, it isn't all rave reviews and glamour.

Now that I have explained this Herculean task, I think it is easy for you to see why this magazine may run late some times. I want this magazine to be professional in appearance which calls for a little extra planning. I don't mind the little extra work to assure that the issue ends at exactly the end of the last page. I hope you feel as I do about it and that you will continue to support my efforts in this endeavor. 15,122 15,133 15,134 15,135

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