There is a momentum in book projects. I always feel it in the run up to sending a book off to print. Things happen more quickly and with more energy. I can feel that momentum building on the Seventy Maxims book. Howard has it mostly drafted. What follows will be iterations. This book is particularly complicated because in addition to the maxims themselves, there will be scholarly commentary about each maxim. Each page will also have handwritten notes from various characters. There is a timeline of when each character has the book. There are stories in and around some of the comments. These stories can’t be told in full with this format, but they need to be sufficiently there to be interesting, not frustrating. In order to get everything right, we’ll have to do lots of iterations.
1. I throw all the text and commentary onto the pages so we can see if it will fit.
2. I print it out and write a bunch of critique notes.
3. Howard takes my notes and edits text to make everything tighter and funnier.
4. I put the new text onto pages so we can do another read through.
5. I pull all the commentary off the pages so we only have the maxims and the scholar’s text.
6. Howard and I edit and fine tune the layout and placement of this text.
7. Repeat 5-7 until we have a print ready book. Copy editing of text probably fits in this loop somewhere.
8. Print out the pages and have the person we’ve picked for Karl’s handwriting put all of the young Karl notes on the pages.
9. Fine tune placement and text for Young Karl’s notes.
10. Print out pages with young Karl’s notes in place. Write in Middle Karl’s notes with a different pen.
11. Fine tune them so they are placed correctly on the page and say what they need to say.
12. Print pages with both Young and Middle Karl’s notes. Write in Old Karl’s notes. Make the handwriting just a little bit wobbly, but still readable.
13. Print pages with all Karl notes. Write in Kaff notes responding to Karl notes. A different person will do this writing so that the hand is different. And the pen is different. Fine tune.
14. Print pages with all of Karl and Kaff notes in place. Have another person write in Murtagh notes. fine tune.
15. Print pages with Karl, Kaff, and Murtaugh notes. Have a different person write in the Schlock notes. Fine tune.
And those are just the iterations I can think of. We’ll likely need to repeat steps. It is a complicated process, but it is the only way we can think of to get the quality and effect that we want for the book. You can see that I’ve just completed step 2.
By leaving the manuscript out on the kitchen table, Howard wandered by and his brain began to work on layout problems. One of those pages has a diagram for the new page layout on it’s back. Monday or Tuesday Howard will sit down with my notes and refine his text to be better. In the mean time, I’ve been testing pens.
Lots of pens. We’re testing for line weight, bleed, and solidity. Each handwriting will be written by a different pen and in a different color so that readers can easily tell who wrote what.
I’m excited to see the finished book, which means I need to get to work and make it happen.