Tuesday, 11 February 2014

An uphill struggle

In the last 24 hours, I have been on an emotional roller coaster.

Remember yesterday, when I said I'd finished formatting Granny Rainbow? Hmm. I was so far off the mark, you wouldn't believe...

A friend offered to cast an eye over the text before I pdf-ed it. 'Fine', says I. 'I think I've got 99% of stuff, but I'd appreciate someone else looking at it. Thanks!'

When I received the list of mistakes, there were rather more alterations still to be made than I'd thought.

Most of them stemmed from my general ignorance, like the fact that I didn't know the difference between a hyphen and an em-dash, (or was it en-dash?) and where to use them. I do now. Or the fact that my computer was doing start-curly-apostrophes rather than end-curly-apostrophes when I dropped some 'aitches' in a character's dialogue; every single one had to be hunted down and changed. OR the fact that at one point, the computer had decided to use straight speechmarks rather than curly ones, for no apparent reason other than it could. (All I know is, I kept hitting the single apostrophe button for single speechmarks...there is no curly/straight option on the keyboard as far as I'm aware.)

It wasn't easy to make said changes, because although I'd received notes from said friend, (to whom I owe a very large drink when I see them at York) pinpointing exactly where I had to make the changes, the page numbers had all gone squiffy on her machine, so I had to make an informed guess as to where the changes should be made on my copy! Even when she made some of the changes for me, the spacing went doo-lally and I had to go through her notes with my original master copy.

Finally, Mr Squidge and I tried to save the final cover as a pdf...and discovered that none of our computer equipment has the facility to do this. Which meant chasing my long-suffering cover designer to send through an emergency pdf file.

As if all that wasn't enough, Bob, our windmill, stopped working, so Mr Squidge had to go to site with his netbook (the only bit of computer equipment that will convert my text file to pdf) before I'd made the absolute, final, definitely-the-last tweaks.

So I can't do the conversion of .doc to .pdf and send the stuff to the printers 'til he gets back. Aaargh!!

I have lots of grey hair already; the past 24 hours have added at least a few hundred more.

On the plus side, I'll know what to watch for in future when I'm editing. And how bloomin' difficult it is to get something print-ready. And to definitely avoid trying try to get stuff to the printer in a panic before leaving the country for a week.

I'm not sure now whether there'll be a proof copy before I go away...but I do know I need the holiday to get over preparing Granny for print!


  1. Having gone through all this for Stories for Homes, I can confirm that the learning curve is scarily steep. We couldn't have done that without friends either. Nearly there, Squidge!

    1. I know - and you had so much more of it to do! Really glad I'm starting small...

  2. Replies
    1. 18.47 - it's gone!! Granny is winging her way through the digital ether...

  3. Well done, Squidge and good luck with it. Oh, and make sure you switch off and have a great holiday. x

  4. Oh those plaguey apostrophes! Well done Squidge - enjoy your holiday.

  5. Those days can test us can't they ... Hope you are getting there now :)