Playing Hooky

Living Between the Layers – Guest Post Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin

Not Playing Hooky, But…

  • July 15, 2018
  • Blog
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This week I’ve been formatting The Penheads’ latest anthology, Elements: Tales from the Substratum, as an e-book with fellow author Arielle Prose. Formatting takes concentration and a bit of technical know-how, but it becomes more challenging when there are five authors and five different versions of Word dumped into one file. For the record, I loathe the newest version of Word. (Seriously, Microsoft? Go back to easy-to-understand versions that still get the job done and keep the dazzling, confusing version for yourselves as a lesson on what not to do. I worked on the production side of e-publishing in-house for seven years and I’ve never seen such a hot mess.)

Okay, rant over. (For now.) There are other reasons why the book can’t simply be whipped out in a day, but mainly it’s because it deserves to be as perfect as we can make it. Garbage code creeps in, spacing changes, and the table of contents is its own special brand of Hell.

But the most difficult part is, while I’m formatting, I can’t write. My brain needs to be in focused technical mode. There’s a kind of joy watching everything look and behave exactly how I want it to, but while I’m doing it there are no stories in my fingertips.

So if you have a production team taking this job out of your hands to give you the time to write, send flowers. Coupons to a day spa are nice too.


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