Octavio Aragão interviewed Ellen Datlow on Intempol yesterday.
In response to a question about any curious event she encountered while working with creative people over her long career, Datlow said, “While at OMNI, because it was a “slick”, that is, mass market magazine with national distribution and relied on advertising, advertisements could be sold up to the last minute that the magazine was going through the production process. So ads would sometimes be dropped or be added near the end of every monthly production schedule. And those ads had to fit into the magazine somehow – at the expense of editorial material.
“For most of my seventeen years at OMNI I had to cut and add text from the stories I published, (with the cooperation of the authors). This didn’t mean cutting huge swaths of text but it was more like surgical precision – cut a stray word or phrase here, or remove a paragraph break. Add a few more paragraph breaks, etc. Occasionally, I had to work with an author to cut 100 lines (not full lines but still a lot). This happened with Stephen King. I made all the possible cuts and then after two days of going through his agent I was finally on the phone with Mr. King. I was very nervous because if he didn’t approve the cuts we’d have to cut the story from the issue. We went over my cuts, line by line and he was charming and cooperative and I was so very relieved. The funny part is that we came to one cut that was a joke made as an aside, in a parenthesis. That was the only thing he requested I put back if there was room (there wasn’t) and I told him he could use it in another story – don’t know if he did. So he was the opposite of difficult. He was professional and gracious about the whole thing.
“Happily, the last few years at OMNI this was no longer an issue because we used computers to set the text, making everything more flexible and making it possible to avoid those horrible cuts and adds.”
You can read the interview in its entirety here: Interview With Ellen Datlow