Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Extra Body - completed (sic)

The Extra Body got started as a NaNoWriMo challenge to myself. I wanted to break myself out of the over-plotting that trapped me and my characters in corners we couldn’t get out of. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an online promise to write a 50,000 word draft during the month of November. I did it back in 2012. I never reached 50,000, but I got a nice story of 35k+ words out of the experience, and came away with the habit of writing every day and the confidence that I could write without a fully formed plot at the front end. It’s now four months after beginning with only a vague glimmer of a first sentence and no idea what to write next. I simply sat down and wrote. Before I knew it, I had several good characters and they were in a tricky situation.

My writers group, WNCMysterians.org, has been through the book, and they were a great help. They clarified characters and plot issues, as well as the specific English language expression of my ideas. When I thought it was ready, that I’d caught all the errors, I sat down and read the entire book from start to finish aloud, looking for any bumps in the reading. I found several more incorrect word choices, and smoothed out the aural rhythms.

The Kindle version was the first step for me. I didn’t know until later that CreateSpace would provide a Kindle option. When the Kindle was done, I went to CreateSpace and started building the physical book. The pdf was accepted with no problem, but I knew that the cover would take a few hours. Once I had the body of the book defined (size, paper, number of pages), I downloaded the provided cover template and built my cover using the template for the bottom layer. I have lots of layout experience, so the process, though long, went fairly smoothly. When it was done and uploaded and the book was in the review process, a friend discovered two spelling errors on the rear cover. I fixed them ASAP but couldn’t upload the revised cover art because the book was “in review.” Patience is an issue for me, and it was several days before I could upload the revised cover and order a proof copy. I’m expecting it to arrive today.

Yes, an ebook is an accomplishment, but there’s something about holding a physical copy of your book in your hands and flipping through the pages that beats the ebook experience by miles. It’s the final reality of your effort, of the month of writing, the anguish of not knowing what the characters are about to do and the problems that will be created by their actions, the months of revision, and finally, the building of the book on CreateSpace.

Later: Surprise! The proof was waiting in my mailbox this morning. I ripped into it, finding all sorts of problems. Called CS and talked with a woman who didn't ask the right questions to solve my problems. I needed to go back into the text and completely reformat the entire book. Frustration. I want the world to be simple, but how can it be? Now it'll be several more days of chipping away at the mountain before I can order another proof.