Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What... blood?

Or am I just seeing red?

Seeing through rose colored glasses, perhaps?

Well, read on to find out.

So, for this long delayed update, I have a few things to report.

First and foremost in my thoughts these days...  The "B" Beta Deadline.  I am very glad to inform that my decadent husband has finished the first run through of the completed novel and has pronounced it "Excellent!"

I know, I know... he's biased.

Not only have we been very aware of this during the slow process of his examination of the novel, but we applied as many altruistic strategies to thwart it as we could.  Namely... he read it out loud to me.

I may or may not have explained this tactic previously, but, to be fair, I'll explain it again now.

By him reading it aloud to me, and me following along silently, listening, watching, skimming the text, I believe I get as honest and accurate a reaction from him as can be possible, considering his allegiances to my well-being as well as my potential success.  At first, he may have been able to disguise his reading behind a pleasant mask, but that didn't last terribly long.  It's hard to keep up such a mask consistently and still read the actual words and follow the story.  Also, he mostly had to read after a long, tiring day of work that started much, much earlier than we naturally are attuned for (or remotely used to) and with the weight of knowing we'd have to get to sleep soon in order to repeat the scenario the next day.  This tiredness further reduced the continuation of a 'polite' mask to his reading aloud.  Finally, since I kept quiet about the story while writing it, he read with a fresh set of eyes.

So, as he read, I heard when a phrase made him stumble.  I saw when something amused or confused him.  I detected when something troubled or annoyed or frustrated him.  These are not always bad things, either.  There are times I wanted to annoy or trouble or frustrate the reader (in terms of feeling those emotions about the situation that the characters were facing, etc.).  I knew as well as I could, what he thought was right and wrong with the story, the pacing, the cadence, the characters, the verbiage... the writing.

And thankfully, there was very little wrong.

Besides typos and a few verbiage items, there is only a small percentage that needs tweaking, and an even smaller percentage that needs "rewriting" (further fleshing out or significant shrinkage of a topic or concept, etc.).  Granted, those small percentages are of 400 pages (single spaced, not double spaced as is more standard) and over 160,000 words.  Thus, it's still a decent amount of work for me to tackle before handing the novel off to outside betas and editors.

If I had loads of free time, I could get those tasks worked out inside of a week, easy (I think.)  However, I have full work weeks at drastically early times (wake up at freakin' 4am - gah! - we're night people! lol), household responsibilities with my husband, as well as obligations to family and friends.  Therefore, it may take a couple of weeks.

But, I'm hoping to bust booty and miraculously get through it by the end of the weekend.

If I did... then I'd have "B" off to betas and editors next week!

Eep!  So exciting!

If that went well... I could maybe, MAYBE, actually get it formatted and released before Halloween!

Woot!  Fingers crossed!

Speaking of formatting... that is some frustrating stuff.  I am now seeking out more knowledge of HTML coding so that I can have greater control of how my ebook will look - because I am a little bit of a control-hog.  I've already had some basic understanding and practical implimentation of HTML, so that part isn't terribly difficult.  And honestly, I seriously suggest all ebook indie authors learn it and use it to format their ebooks.  It's really not that difficult to learn.  There are some trial and errors involved and you may need to remind yourself of what you learn from day to day on it, but once you get it fairly understood and practiced, it's mostly copy-paste-easy.  A lot of replace one term for another, rinse and repeat type of stuff.  And then, the effect for those efforts... well worth it.  Seriously.

For more, check out David Gaughran's Let's Get Digital, Digital and especially the site/guide he recommends by Guido Henkel, called Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting.  After you read the guide, practice with it, experiment with what it teaches and inspires.  As you practice, as you get frustrated (and you most certainly occasionally will, lol), email your questions to him.  He responded immensely quickly to me.  I am so very grateful for such generous and helpful people like him.  My many thanks go out to him.

Also... I suggest authors start getting used to using 'styles' for things like 'italics' ASAP.  If you're already half way through your current story, change to the 'styles' from this point out.  This will help a lot in the formatting process into ebook, especially if you are doing the vastly more reliable HTML method.  Just hitting that "i" button or the "font-italics" (or oblique) selection doesn't always register in the search-and-replace edit function... and you want that during the formatting process.  If you don't, like me, you'll be going through by hand to search, find, and add the necessary HTML code around each and every freaking italicized word in the entire document.

And well, I have a lot of dastardly stealthy italicized words in my 400 pgs / 160,000+ words.


I may be leaning on one of my betas to do a search and replace on it for me - if their word processing program does it in a non-styles search where mine does not, that is.

Since this is getting to be a long post, I am going to wrap it up with this picture of my lonely dinner while my decadent husband is overworking himself again.

My "day job" is with a cooking show on television, and, as such, I've been getting more and more experimental as well as back-to-basics / do-it-yourself with meals lately.  This simple salad made with chicken I started marinating the day before is one example of putting what I see at work to good use.  The deliciousness of this dinner didn't make up for being without my decadent husband's lovely company, but it was as good as I could get without it.  That triangle of bread is garlic naan (Indian cuisine), a favorite of my decadent husband's, and while I enjoy it immensely as well, it served as a comfy reminder of his missed presence.  Comfort food... and healthy too.  :D

So, extra thanks for my job (especially in these harrowing economic times) because without it, I may not have made such a nice meal to help lighten up a lonely and fatigued evening.

Goodnight everybody!  And, as usual...

Thank you for indulging... (me).

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