And at last I arrive in Egypt

March 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm 6 comments

For those of you interested in my progress with The Black Scroll, let me say that I’m advancing at a rapid clip. 59,967 words. 185 pages. Ready to start Chapter 29. Ready to visit Alexandria, 130 AD, 15 years after the Great Jewish Revolt that almost burnt the city to the ground.

You might ask how I know the page numbers with such precision.

I gather that I’m an odd duck among writers, as my preferred technique for channeling the story is to manifest the visual form as I create. I write directly into Adobe InDesign. As the words flow onto the page, they look exactly as they will look in final published form. That’s the print version I’m talking about.

Before putting the first word on the first page, I set up the layout, which in the case of The Black Scroll is the same as The Red Mirror and The Emerald Tablet – the first two novels of the Red Mirror Series. I’ve got the header at the top of the 6×9 facing pages with my name or title, book-specific Egyptian hieroglyph, and page number. The margins are there. The title page has been created.

note: As a reminder – or for those who haven’t seen the print versions – the glyph for The Red Mirror is a snake, typically Pharaonic Egyptian to my mind. The glyph for The Emerald Tablet is the owl – for Athena, the wisest of Greek Goddesses.  The one I have chosen for The Black Scroll is the lion – Rome – Africa.

The print version must be re-formatted for export into Kindle, so thinking logically, I decided to write The Black Scroll directly into the layout I use for the ebook version. It’s the biggest market, after all.

It didn’t work for me. All those lovely graphic details of layout disappear. The process is no longer visual.

After a chapter or two, I gave up and allowed myself the crutch. Didn’t authors of old write with a favorite pen? Or typewriter? I need my print version InDesign layout for the Muses to sing. And so be it.

I’ve got an art degree. What’s wrong with painting with words?

February 11 was the Monday I started – day after Chinese New Year. Today is March 12. Three days from the Ides. Five days from St. Patrick’s Day. Eight days from my 38th wedding anniversary and the spring equinox.

Goodbye Libya. It was quite a ride. Hello Egypt. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Entry filed under: Sandra's Comments, The Isis Trilogy. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jimanddale  |  March 13, 2013 at 2:36 am

    Sandra, Really, you are a fine, readable writer. I always enjoy what I read from your muse.


    • 2. Sandra Gore  |  March 13, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Thanks so much! Feedback is always a plus and compliments a treat.

  • 3. Ann Calhoun  |  March 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I also think spatially so I can understand how working like this would be easier for another “spatialist.” I also know that a well designed book is really an art form. Most people aren’t conscious of the art of type,or the art behind book design, but, believe me, unconsciously they’re responding. Bad design in a book may not be articulated, but it is felt and can affect how the reader responds to the book as a whole.

  • 4. Sandra Gore  |  March 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    And it is fast becoming a lost art 😦 I don’t think readers want to clutter up their iphones with a lot of unnecessary space and design elements. The font is largely universal on eReaders, so that part is gone too. I’m afraid I’m showing my dinosaurness by hanging on to something that’s in its death throes.
    Luckily, I also do the format for the ebook version; the spatial part comes in handy there, although in a less dramatic way.
    Advances have been made though. My Sex and the Zen of Shopping is soon available with a new software that lets me publish the color images and the layout as a picture book.

  • 5. Brijit  |  March 17, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I love the idea of having a visual context while I’m writing. What is Adobe InDesign?

    • 6. Sandra Gore  |  March 17, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      Adobe InDesign is a desktop publishing software used to create every kind of document/book. In the old days, it was called Adobe Desktop Publisher. It’s basically a graphic design-based program in the same family as Adobe Photoshop but text-centered with the ability to insert photos with captions, fancy letters and graphics etc. Many book covers are produced with a combo of InDesign and PhotoShop.
      You can create a similar experience with Microsoft Word but minus the graphic element. I wrote my first novel in Word in the same way, meaning I set the page up exactly as it would look in a book. Nice chapter titles in different font etc.
      I switched to InDesign becoz it has the function of conversion to Kindle with relatively few modifications.
      There. That is probably WAY more than you ever wanted to know 🙂


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