Galleys and the final proof before publication

TypesettingIn the last week, I received galley proofs from two different publishers for a couple of my plays that are about to “go public.” Galleys are the camera-ready pages of the script. For playwrights, proofreading the galleys is the final step before the play goes to press.

Regardless of what the various how-to books say about script formatting, each publisher expects a play submission to be “clean copy.” No typos, misspellings, consistent use of capitalization, bold and italics, and style. Then, once they contract for the script, they change all the formatting to match their particular playbook style anyway. Every publisher I work with has a different way of including stage directions, light and sound cues, even how the characters are listed.

So no matter how clean your copy was, minor errors can find their way into the script. That’s why galley proofs are so important.

Often publishers make slight editorial changes. Occasionally an ambitious and misguided editor will try to re-write a portion (almost never improving it, in my opinion). If substantial changes are going to be made by the editor, the playwright should know about it BEFORE we get to the galley stage. Publishers owe it to the author to have first crack at anything larger than a very minor rewrite, cut, addition or change.

When the galleys arrive for final proofing, it’s all there, exactly as it will appear in the printed playbook. And the playwright gets to have one last look before saying goodbye. It feels a little like watching your child go off to her first day at school.

This is NOT a time for rewrites, revisions, or changes. That should all have taken place before the script was submitted. This is an opportunity to give the copy a final proofreading, and to note any changes the publisher/editor has made.

Back in the days of typesetting, making changes to a camera-ready galley was a real headache. But even today when everything is digital, altering a script at this point in the pipeline is annoying and troublesome. Publishers want a perfect script as much as a playwright. But suggesting changes beyond legitimate typographical corrections can have unfortunate consequences.

No playwright can afford to act like a “diva” and make demands. We don’t have the right to change our minds or offer new ideas. Not at this stage of the game. And if a playwright delays the galley process (I guarantee a 24-hour turnaround), you create a bottleneck in the publishing pipeline. And guess which project will get pulled out to make way for the others?

Publishers have deadlines. They have catalogs to ship and marketing calendars. The sooner your script gets past the galley proof stage and into print, the sooner you will start making money.

Don’t keep publishers waiting. In almost every case, they are busier than you. Don’t try and rewrite your play after you’ve signed the contract. Be grateful to have a chance for one last look at the script before it goes out into the world.

Then look forward to receiving your “reading copies” in the mail!

After that, your script is reduced to a line item on a royalty statement.

Unless you create your own marketing plan.


Fiction: Action/adventure urban fantasy writer Joseph Nassise has bad news, good news for fans

One of my all-time favorite action/adventure, urban fantasy writers, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Joseph Nassise gave me some bad news this week.

In addition to several series of his own, including The Great Undead War (Steampunk meets zombie soldiers in WWI Germany and England) and my absolute favorite Templar Chronicles (Vatican-Supported commandos fighting supernatural beasties), the prolific author was part of the “Alex Archer” team of six to nine authors who penned the Rogue Angel series, featuring globetrotting archeologist Annja Creed, inheritor of Joan of Arc’s mystical sword.

R.I.P. Annja Creed

Nassise wrote ten of Rogue Angel’s 57 titles in four years! These were Gold Eagle books, but in the ever-churning shark tank of traditional publishing houses, Harlequin was purchased by HarperCollins, and the line was discontinued.

Say it isn’t so!

It’s so.

Nassise had two more titles in the pipeline, that aren’t going to happen.

Rogue Angel was a breakthrough series, bringing elements of the supernatural into a traditionally techno-realistic action genre.

Annja, you will be missed. And Lara Croft is a poor substitute.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that the previous books are still available. Here’s a link to Joseph Nassise’s Rogue Angel page: CLICK HERE.

Once you’ve identified the titles, you can find them on Amazon. The series is all listed as being written by “Alex Archer,” but on the copyright page you can see “special thanks to Joseph Nassise.”

There’s even BETTER NEWS!

Nassise isn’t slowing down. Not by a long shot. He’s got LOTS MORE books coming up, including a very exciting anthology collaboration. I encourage you to check out his Amazon Author Page, and become a loyal follower.

‘Peacemaker’ receives its world premiere with ‘One Night Stand in the Wild West’, Aug. 2 at the Vintage Theatre, Aurora


Join the One Night Stand ensemble as they ride into town with an evening of tall tales, short stories, and wild and wooly plays about the Old West, Colorado history, and the American frontier. One Night Stand in the Wild West will be performed one night only, Sunday, Aug. 2 at the Vintage Theatre in Aurora.

My seven-minute, two-character sketch Peacemaker receives its world premiere in this production.

Here’s the line-up:

  • Looks are deceiving for a Wild West legend in Calamity at the Mountain Boys Saloon by D.J. Jones.
  • The Battle of the Little Bighorn springs to life for modern-day park rangers in Custer’s Grave by Tami Canaday.
  • Selecting the right weapon to take down a romantic rival proves an arduous task for a lovesick teenager in Peacemaker by Patrick Dorn.
  • A man who’s got nothing meets a man out of time in Lost by J. Jackson.
  • A cutlass-wielding burglar in 1890s Denver regrets his fowl accomplice in Robber Sly by Edwin Forest Ward.
  • A young man with a horrible secret takes Ulysses S. Grant on a wild stagecoach ride in Silverheels and an adopted Native American girl discovers her tragic heritage in Sand Creek by Steve Hunter.
  • Learn the rules of the road from Stagecoach Billy by Marcus France.
  • Discover the final resting place of the Old West in Boot Hill to Goodnight, Texas by Linda Berry.

“This production gives us an opportunity to see local playwrights and writers tackle the themes of our frontier past,” says James O’Leary, One Night Stand Theater’s artistic director. “These plays and stories show both the comic and dark aspects of the Wild West, and we’ll feature a couple of cowboy songs that evening as well.”

The Vintage Theatre is located at 1468 Dayton St., Aurora, CO 80010 (1/2 block south of Colfax in Old Downtown Aurora). Tickets are $10.

The Bunny and the Big Black Dog: A Fable

(Based on an actual event, as refined through theological reflection)

By Patrick Dorn

Early one cloudy morning, a big black dog trotted along a narrow dirt path, sniffing the air and enjoying the freedom that comes with a retractable leash.

Frankie on walk 6-20-15Without warning, a bunny dashed up the path, directly toward him!

“Good morning, Bunny,” Frankie (for that was the big black dog’s name) said. “Would you like to play chase?”

The bunny did not reply, so Frankie lolled his tongue and grinned a toothy, winning smile.

He repeated the invitation. “Chase?”

The bunny continued straight toward him. A collision seemed imminent.

The big black dog was taken aback. Typically, the bunnies he saw on his daily walks ran AWAY from him. But here was this bunny with pert ears and a bouncy stride coming straight at him, and not slowing down.

Frankie braced for impact, hoping the bunny wouldn’t be injured when it bounced off his big black body.Bunny

With an agile grace that Frankie could only admire, and secretly covet, the bunny performed an abrupt left turn, sprinted across a lush patch of grass, and under a bush.

“I guess he changed his mind,” Frankie said to himself. “But why was he in such a hurry?”

The big black dog looked up and saw, only a few yards above, a falcon, its angry beak gaping, notched wings outstretched against the clouds.

The falcon tucked away its talons, spun and circled upward, perching on the jagged top branches of a long-dead tree.falcon

Frankie glanced at the bush where the bunny crouched and shivered. The poor creature was hunched into a ball, making himself look very small indeed.

“By golly, if I hadn’t happened along, you might have become a tasty morsel for that falcon,” Frankie said. He tried to sound amiable, to calm the agitated bunny.

The bunny twitched its nose.

“You may have saved my life,” the bunny said. “But that doesn’t make us friends.”

The bunny turned, and in a flash of fluffy cottontail, disappeared into the dense undergrowth.

Frankie sadFrankie felt sad as he continued his walk. But he knew the bunny was right. It was a wild bunny after all, running loose in a world of falcons.

It had never known the kind of reassuring freedom that comes with a retractable leash.


SYMBOLISM ALERT: If you like to figure things out for yourself, READ NO FURTHER. However, if you’d like a hint to aid in deeper reflection, consider this: who is the implied character on the other end of the leash? That’s right. The Master. Now you take it from there.

Play reviews and Promos are migrating to my NEW web site!

Dear Readers:

I’m re-building this page to focus on my growing Playwright and Author career. Here’s where you will find links and stories related to my plays, stories and (upcoming) novels.

Meanwhile, the Play Reviewing and Promotional work is EXPANDING! So I’ve created a new page.

Check out and FOLLOW The Best Seat In Town for my latest play reviews and promotions. In addition to the blog, there are pages with links to Denver-area theatre companies and also Denver-area theatre artists! (At least the ones following my new blog).

I’ll keep currently posted reviews on promos on this site until the shows close.

All NEW reviews and promos will appear on the new site!

You can also check out my new, improved Facebook page.

Thank you for being such an essential part of this revitalized vocation!

Pioneer Drama Service to publish ‘Robin Hood: Naught in Nottingham’

Last week my son and playwriting partner Jacob and I signed contracts with Pioneer Drama Service for our comedy spoof Robin Hood: Naught in Nottingham.

LJ and RHThe play was originally written for the Developmental Disabilities Resource Center’s production last fall, and then re-tooled for upper-elementary/middle school performances.

With a quiver-full of gags, slapstick humor and hilarious anachronisms, this is a Robin Hood like you’ve never seen him — or rather HER — before! The vain and pompous Prince John squeezes the simple folk of Nottingham’s purses by raising taxes and ordering the Sheriff to set up a speed trap. Robin and her band of outlaws, including panini-craving Friar Tuck, sensitive giant Little John, girly-girl Maid Marian and wise-cracking Nurse Betty, wandering minstrel Alan a Dale and his cheerleading Bench Wenches, and more, turn the tables on the benighted Sheriff, thwart crybaby Prince John’s nefarious plans, and take the braggart knight Gal of Gisbourne down a few notches. There’s horseless jousting and a show-stopping archery contest with moving targets at the world’s first Renaissance Fair, goofy disguises, silly chases, epic battles with pool noodles, and merriment galore. At last, with a guest cameo by King Richard, all things “naught in Nottingham” are set aright.In the Castle

The show runs approximately 45 minutes.

My relationship with Pioneer Drama Service goes back 30 years, and I’m pleased to have them represent this show. This is Jacob’s fourth play with Pioneer.

Robin Hood: Naught in Nottingham will not appear in the fall catalog, as that has already been printed. But it will be available for purchase from the web site in a few months. Stay tuned!

Thank you, Pioneer Drama Service for your commitment to publishing plays and musicals for the amateur market.

Archery Contest

My ‘Plays and Musicals’ page has received a major rebuild

imagesI’ve completely upgraded my Plays and Musicals by Patrick Dorn tab/page on this web site. Check it out!

Instead of a simple alphabetical list of my plays, I’ve added play descriptions from the various publishers’ catalogs, and art work. For the few unpublished plays, I’ve added an easy link so you can click on it and request a reading copy.

Hopefully this will help me build my “brand” or “platform,” or whatever they call it. Let me know what you think.