Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hoodie Revisited

Hoodie underwent a bit of a transformation today.  First off, it received a new cover:

Thank you, Alfred, for this amazing cover that I feel will appeal much more to the ladies.  I love it, love it, love it.

Another change to the book: Table of Contents.  And let me tell you, I hated every freaking minute of creating that Table of Contents.  I was reluctant to do it initially (the first version of the book doesn't have one), but I kept reading all of these suggestions made by writers stressing the importance of a TOC for a Kindle book (even if it is fiction).  I understand why: Kindle books do not have page numbers, so it's one more way to make the book easy to navigate when you provide a TOC.  I have more to share about this, but let me finish my list of revisions.

The dialect got a bit of a brushing up as well.  I had a good 'ol time using the Search and Replace feature on Word to change the following: yo to yo' and yo self to yo'self.  Word thought it'd help me out even more by putting an apostrophe after every "yo" in the book including words that contained "yo" such as beyond and everyone.  Beyo'nd and everyo'ne, anyone?  Oh my God.  Does anyone else hate Word?  I learned today that "geez" is not yet the accepted form and should be "jeez" instead.  My ya'll's were incorrect and should have been, and now are, y'all's.

My chapter headings got a new left-aligned look because of the Table of Contents.  I grit my teeth when I say those words.

Here's the bottom line: formatting blows.  But I would have been finished a lot sooner had I not made the mistake of asking my husband to help me with the Table of Contents.  (Yes, we're back to the TOC.)  Great big sigh.

I love my husband.

But my husband, like every other man on the planet I am convinced, is not so much interested in showing me how to do something as he is in just doing it for me.

"Honey, I'm really frustrated with this and need some help," I say at the point of yanking my hair out.

"Okay hon," and he promptly takes my computer off of my lap.  He loves to take my computer off of my lap.  It makes me want to smack him upside the head with it.

"Well, I thought that you could---"

Tap tap tap tap tap tap.  Enter.  Tap tap tap.

"Um, what are you doing?"

Tap  tippity tap tap.  Space bar.  Click click. 

"I thought maybe you could show me how to---"

Tap tap tip tip.  Enter.  Enter.  (Two enters?)  Tip tap tappity tap.  Space bar.  Enter.  BAM!

"Okay hon.  It's all good to go," he says, and I want to give him a big fat smack on the lips. 

He hands me my computer.  And then I look at my document.  That he already saved.  And I notice something is a little . . . off.  My heartbeat increases to an uncomfortable level.  I look at the document harder.  The spaces, in between the lines.  Hmm, something's not right.  The huge gaps in between paragraphs.  No.  No no no no no, I think.  This isn't happening.

"Aidan, what have you done?" I ask breaking out into a sweat.  I usually only say his name when I'm yelling at him or about to yell at him.  Otherwise it's honey, baby, sweetheart, blah blah blah.

"What do you mean?" he asks.  He doesn't understand.  This infuriates me.

"Look at my document.  It's all messed up!" I cry shoving the computer screen in his face.

"Huh?  It's Times New Roman, 12 pt font just like before," he says, looking at me like I'm a lunatic.  Or like I'm imagining things.  Because, you know, I'm a woman, so I must be crazy.  I must be seeing things.

"The spaces!  The line spacing!  It's not right!  Can't you see it?" I scream.  "The spaces!  My God, the paragraph spacing!"

He blinks.

"Make it go back," I plead handing him the computer.  "Make it go back to the way it was."  The tears start.

"I can't undo it.  I saved it."

Let me pause here and say that those are the most tragic, frightening words a writer could ever hear.  I can't undo it.  I saved it.  I'm having an anxiety attack, and there's nothing I can do about it.

"Aidan," I say as calmly as I can, "I need you to go away from me.  And I need you to not come back for a very long time."

He goes out to work on the lawn mower.  I sit on the couch and cry.  And cry.  And lament how awful my life is and how I can't get any writing done because I have to groom my dog and fold clothes and reformat my book.  And then I decide that crying won't fix the matter.  So I groom my dog and then get down to business.  I realize there's nothing for it than to simply go through page by page and reformat every incorrect line and paragraph space and auto indent. 

Now, if you've ever formatted a Kindle book with Word, you know how frustrating it is.  Laborious doesn't go far enough.  Exhausting.  Mind-numbing.  Tedious.  These are all great adjectives but they do a lousy job explaining how the process feels for a writer.  To say it banally, it feels like shit.  Kindle is finicky.  You can't hit "enter."  Oh no no no.  You have to insert a paragraph space.  You can't enter down to the next page.  You have to insert a page break.  You can't auto indent or your paragraphs will begin in the middle of your page.  No no, you have to turn it off.  And my husband could never figure that out, so my sorry ass had to go through the document (the first time) and manually undo all of the auto indentations.

Another great big sigh and . . . I do love my husband.  He wants to help me.  I know it's coming from a good place.  But it ends up costing me precious time.  Now don't get me wrong; I love Hoodie.  I just didn't want to have to love it all over again like before when I spent countless hours formatting and getting everything just so.  The work is excruciating (multiplied by a trillion when you're a manic perfectionist), and I had these great plans for working on my current novel today.  But such is life, right?  No Honeysuckle Love.  Just tap tap tap tap click click enter (whoops, no enter) click tip tap boom until it was right again.


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