Over the past few weeks I’ve been working to put a large project to bed. What started when a potential client contacted me about producing an ebook ended with the development of a combined ebook and PDF build system that saved a bunch of time when last minute changes were needed.
This project built on what I learned from a previous project where I paired an overly-complicated makefile with Pandoc to generate an ebook in French. This time, the project was in English which made it much easier to tailor my build system to the project. Since final page count of the PDF (6″×9″ trim size) came to just over 400 pages, I needed every shortcut and hack I could come up with to keep the ePub and PDF versions in sync.
Along the way I managed to have Pandoc, Make, Sed, Ruby, and LuaLaTeX all playing nicely together when I gave the command to make all.
When I first picked up a pen to write fiction it was because everything else wasn’t working. I also learned my problem was with how I was using the computer. I wasn’t meant to be someone who could produce a first draft at the keyboard. That didn’t stop me from trying, but it did stop me from writing.
I soon learned handwriting was great, but it would lead to a lot of wasted time and paper if major revisions were needed.
So I set about designing a set of building blocks to plan my writing around.
These building blocks do exactly what they say. Each builds on the last, and along the way the details of the story are figured out. When it’s time to write the manuscript all of the heavy lifting is already done. Writing the manuscript is just another expansion of what’s been written before. This way, there’s no false starts or dead-ends to deal with, and the manuscript only has to be written once before it’s transcribed to digital text.
I also cover ways to protect your already-written pages, choosing pens and inks, and the best ways to wring the digital text out of your handwritten manuscript.
Even if you don’t want to handwrite a book, there’s a lot a digital writer will find useful. The planning process works equally well for both typing and writing.
Discovery writers will learn a new way to outline that looks and feels like discovery writing. Outliners will see that a little prose will go a long ways toward finding holes in their outline.
I’ve been neglecting this blog lately and I sincerly apologzie to my loyal readers. But I haven’t beem slacking off. Quite the opposite.
The short version is that I’ve been doing most of my writing in longhand and staying away from the keyboard. This also means I haven’t had much to share. Mostly it’s just been me and the cat fighting over desk space (she’s pushy and likes to play with my pens). With nothing new to report, blogging becomes an easy task to ignore.
Since I’m overdue for post, I thought I’d update you on what I’m working on.
This chapter by Poul Anderson is subtitled The World Builder’s Handbook and Pocket Companion. After reading this chapter, I can say it truly earns its name. Unlike the previous chapters, it doesn’t discuss the mechanics of writing or storytelling. It is focused on one thing: building a planet for a story.
This the first chapter of Part II: Ideas and Foundations and is second of Stanley Schmidt’s four chapters. Here talks about the absolutely dismal odds of getting published and what it takes to stand out.
This chapter is by JaneYolen, a prolific writer who has authored and/or edited over 300 books. It is also a break from the preceding chapters focused on science fiction. She dives head-first into what it takes to create a believable fantasy world. Just as the other chapters have used science fiction to deliver lessons on plot, dialog, and characters, this one uses fantasy to teach world building.
On May 27, 2015, The Poisoned Pen, a local bookshop here in the Phoenix area is having a book signing with 17 authors attending. There will also be snacks and giveaway prizes.
Authors attending: Stephen Blackmoore, Beth Cato, Wes Chu, Myke Cole, Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne, Jason Hough, Richard Kadrey, Michael Martinez, Brian McClellan, Naomi Novik, Andrea Phillips, Cherie Priest, Brian Staveley, Sam Sykes, Chuck Wendig, & Django Wexler