Tuesday, July 28, 2009


A quick note on what I'm working on these days, which is preparing WHTTWOT for translation and publication in another country. I don't know if all the papers are signed so I won't mention which country, but basically my task involves going through all 200 pages of art and formatting the files so a foreign publisher can easily delete the English. And yes, I'm taking the opportunity to fix a few things.

It's a task I could've made considerably easier on myself with some foresight--a charactertistic I evidently lack to an astonishing degree. Most of the pages, where the text consists of letters inside balloons or caption boxes, are trivial. The fake "comic book" pages are trickier because they have a transparent overlay of yellow newsprint texture--I can't just separate out the letters because they'd leave letter-shaped holes. On a few other pages, some text is so integrated into the art that it's just going to have to stay English.

It's not difficult but it takes time--and, sometimes, a bit of cleverness. As I said, if I'd given it a moment's thought when I was writing the book I could've made the job easy, but at the time I was just concentrating on getting it done. From a Photoshop standpoint, how I accomplished that wasn't always pretty. The nice thing is that when I'm finished I'll have a set of very clean, corrected master files ready for any future use I can imagine, including new English editions, if any.

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Kid Sis led me to this list of "73 Ways to Become a Better Writer" by Mary Jaksch. I like many of the items and might argue with a few, but my nagging discomfort with advice like this is that if someone actually set out to consciously follow all 73 ways, they'd be too paralyzed to write. I think Jaksch's list is worth a look, but I'd distill it to three items:

1. Read as much as you can.

2. Write as much as you can.

3. Get your writing out into the world any way you can, but preferably for pay.

You're welcome.

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Sick Cat Update: We got new lab results back on Marbles, who was pretty close to death a few weeks ago, and the numbers are very good. Her hyperthyroidism is under control with relatively mild medication and her kidney function numbers are back to normal ranges after being super-elevated. We'll keep doing what we're doing, including the daily subcutaneous hydration, and see how she does. Some cats can carry on like this for months or years. Marbles's human will be back home from her archeology dig at the end of the week; it looks like the cat is going to keep her end of the bargain. Good kitty.


Mike said...

Twain also managed to make the rules of writing concise: "Write without pay until somebody offers pay. If nobody offers pay within three years, the candidate may look upon this circumstance with the most implicit confidence as the sign that sawing wood is what he was intended for."

Brian Fies said...

I love Twain.