Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

sábado, noviembre 12, 2011

Coming Soon To A Kindle or iPad Near You

I'm tired. And I'm paying the cost of being a pre-computer typist. And my shoulders hurt. I am completely fried.

Today I spent about 6 hours getting the manuscript for the above book ready. That's the cover. Beautiful, right?

Guess what? When I took typing in the 7th grade (some prescience by mi padres, who somehow anticipated the keyboard age), I was told that after a period, after a question mark, after an exclamation, you always hit the space bar. Not once, but twice. Always. So it's reflex now, a habit. A habit of decades' reinforcement. Something I cannot stop doing.

So what, you say? So what? Hardly. It is not a "so what" kind of thing. This idiotic habit, this non-information age fetish, this throw back to the era of manual typewriting of the two space bar hits, cost me 6 hours today. Why? Because I had to remove all of the extra spaces after the periods, question marks, and exclamations. All of them. So the manuscript could be published.

The manuscript is about 81,000 words. Have you got any idea how many sentences that entails? Well,I do. 6,855 sentences. So, if I were consistent (I was in this because I cannot break the habit), I had to remove at least 6,855 spaces. Manually. Using a delete key. And this labor of love (what else on earth could it possibly be?) took 6 hours. And now as I write to tell you about today's thrilling but quite mind numbing activities, I find that after each period, I still hit the space bar twice. And then I have to go back and delete one of the spaces because that space is utterly unnecessary. That space is the typewriter atavism, the sign that I am of the past century, that word processing came after my typing, that I am wasteful of pixels.

Can I shed this horrible habit? In this post, no. I've failed in every sentence so far, and don't expect to be able to save myself right now.

There is good news, though. Having completed this exercise in deletion, the manuscript is about finished. I even cut three paragraphs that have grown out of favor. So sometime this coming week, away it goes. And soon, Tulum, the novella, will be in paperback and a Kindle or an iPad or other electronic reader near you. After all of this, I pray that every human being who can read will buy a copy of it.

Meanwhile, I have been in the hot tub three times today because of soreness in my shoulders. And as I write to tell you this, I am conscious that after I hit the period key, there is still an overwhelming, overpowering, assertive, undeniable urge to hit the spacebar. Twice.

There are some other minor tasks that need doing before Tulum is gone, but I see no reason why those cannot be completed in the next three days.

It's about time. This is a project that's been about six years in the making.

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Anonymous S. Pratt said...

Please don't hesitate to call me next time you have this kind of problem... Assuming the mss was in any electronic form, the double spaces all should have been easily removable in seconds with a find/replace in your word processor or layout program, or exportable to one hat could...

5:35 p.m.  

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