Archives for August 2013

Final read-through complete

Okay, that’s not 100% accurate – sometime toward the end of next week, there will be a FINAL final read-through, after I’ve had some time to let it sit for a bit. There might be a typo or two left, but that’s about it – and this last read-through, I swear that I will not change any words.

Unless I have to.

Got the first scene in the video trailer filmed yesterday, and played with the music bed a bit to sync with the 6 scenes, each approximately 30 seconds long. Also have a pretty good idea of the visuals for each scene – the second scene will probably be the most complex to set up, the fifth the largest (though not necessarily that complex).

Also adjusted the cover image to match the first scene of the trailer (which is basically the cover image in motion, with fog and a nice pan from the girl to the guy on the catwalk). Changed out the characters of the girl and guy – the girl seemed kind of…well, young….and I didn’t want it to seem like it was a story about pedophilia, which it obviously isn’t. And the guy on the catwalk looked fine from a distance but as you got closer, you realized that he was wearing some kind of judo outfit. I’d thrown the character in to replace another I had up there – he looked good on the cover – I left him. He didn’t look good in the trailer, so I replaced him.

So here’s the final FINAL cover.

Cover final post trailer

Today I will probably start assembling the second scene of the video trailer. Depending on how that goes, specifically how the animations go, I may get that filmed as well. Then, as I said, DragonCon tomorrow, radio show Sunday – so whatever I don’t get done today will have to wait till Monday.

Should finish the polish today…

…since I think I have only 7 more chapters to go through. Then I’ll let it sit till at least the middle of next week before I go through it….one….more….time. And hopefully, I won’t have the change ANYTHING! Or at least not much.

Was going through some artifacts from the beginning of this project and found this:

ExpeditionSquare

Yes, it’s the map I mentioned back in a post near the beginning. Clearly my graphic skills were lacking at the time, even though I was using Campaign Cartographer or whatever to create the map. It was important at the time to have a visual reference for myself (and I believe I had this printed out and stuck to the bulletin board above my work area) so I could keep things straight as to where things were when I was writing about moving around the neighborhood.

Now of course I’m more graphically inclined, and can work in 3D – so I’m thinking that I may need to recreate some of this in 3D, specifically the area around Expedition Square, for the video trailer – I have an idea for a cool flying overhead shot, which in theory shouldn’t be too hard to do in iClone – all I really need is a nice Triangle Building for the base of the shot (something like the Flatiron Building in NYC, that inspired the Triangle Building in the book):

72_flatiron_lg

I can get a 3D Warehouse model of the Flatiron Building and maybe convince some kind soul to chop it down to about 5 stories and get rid of the row of windows on the “spine” (which, of course, is just a change in the texture).

So today’s to-do list is to finish the polish and start working on the video trailer. I have shopping and other stuff to do tomorrow, then Saturday it’s off to DragonCon in Atlanta for the day. And Sunday is radio show day. So it’ll be Monday before I have a full day to work on on anything – I need to strike while the flatiron, so to speak, is hot.

Shrugs

I’d normally wait till morning and do this as part of my update, but I’m so appalled at something I began to notice as I was doing this final read-through that I need to vent…at myself.

I literally had people shrugging and shrugging and shrugging throughout the whole damn book. It was there from the beginning, from the first draft. Eleven of them in the first fifty pages. And reading it in manuscript form, it never hit me. Reading it in the Kindle PC app, it was like every one of them was blinking red.

I started noticing it a few chapters in. Somebody shrugs. A couple of pages later, somebody else shrugs. Five more pages and another person is shrugging. And I started thinking, in my own conversations, how often do I shrug? How often do the people I’m talking to shrug?

And the answer was….not much. Oh sure, I’ve shrugged. I’ve seen people shrug when I talk to them. But it’s very occasional. The characters in Night and Day had some kind of low-grade St. Vitus Dance thing going on.

Today, I could take it no more – so I put aside moving forward for an hour or so and started searching through the raw HTML file for the word “shrugged.” I left some of them in, but took the majority out, either completely or by changing it to something else. A nod, a shake of the head, a pause, a moment of silence. Whatever. Anything but a shrug.

I don’t know why I did that. I honestly don’t. I guess I wasn’t really paying attention, and in truth, with a first draft it’s all about getting the story out of my head and on paper. A lot of things have changed because of that. The tattoos I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts. A few less-than-solid terms for things in this world. I’m accept that. I’m not about to stop dead in the middle of writing to sit and think too long about what to call something. Better to keep on moving and think about it in the rewrite.

But what annoys me about this is that I left the shrugs there – through the 2009 second draft – through the 2010 third draft – through the 2013 polish. It’s not until now that I noticed them.

Hopefully I’ve learned something from it.

Lots to do….

…before the book goes live in two weeks.

So I’m about halfway through the final read-through – fiddling with words here and there, fixing the very occasional typo.

Ran into one problem last night though….

My process at this late stage of the game is to read the book in the Kindle PC app and make the changes in the raw HTML file that’s used to generate the mobi file with Kindlegen. It’s not really difficult to do it that way, and every few chapters I regenerate the mobi file and continue on.

One of the things I’ve been “fixing” is the occasional place where “said” is used unnecessarily. I don’t believe that “said” is anathema to good writing – there’s no need to always use something else….”he retorted”….”she explained”…and so on. “Said” is perfectly good. If somebody is shouting, then maybe I might use “He shouted”, or if somebody is speaking curtly, I might say “She spat”…..but it’s rare, because if you overuse that stuff, it becomes unintentionally funny.

But when I’m writing, I put in the “saids” according to some mental sense of the flow and rhythm – and sometimes reading it later, I see that it’s unnecessary. So that’s one of the things I’ve been trimming as I read.

Unfortunately, the way it’s written, “I know,” he said. quite rightly has a comma after the dialogue, before the end quote. Delete the “he said” and you need to change that comma to a period. Looking at straight text, that’s easy to remember to do. Reading HTML, it doesn’t pop. In HTML, it’s “I know,” he said. Delete the “he said”, you still need to change the comma. And with the numeric code for quotes there, it’s easy to miss.

Last night, as I was rolling along, finishing up Chapter 18, I got rid of a “said”, changed the comma to a period…and then couldn’t remember if I was doing that all along, or forgetting it….yeah, I was mentally smoked by that point after about 12 hours of staring at the screen, and my eyes were beginning to ache. So I started going through it from beginning, not reading but just looking for commas that should be periods. After 8 chapters or so, I went to bed.

So that’s what I’ll be doing this morning. Fun fun fun.

I did manage to get the narration for the book trailer written last night. Still not sure of visuals for one scene, but that will come. I also started playing a little bit with the music bed for the trailer this morning. Think I have it right, but won’t know for sure until the visuals are done and I can lay it in and see.

So today, it’s finish the search for commas, then get 9–10 chapters read and fixed. I should finish the read-through by tomorrow, and then I can get serious about the book trailer.

Video Trailer and Twitter

Twitter is something I normally use even less than Facebook….I mean, if I’m going to bore people with my thoughts and activities, why limit it to 160 characters or whatever it is….

But again, like Facebook, if I’m going to use social media to my benefit, I need it. So Night and Day is on Twitter, and I’ve connected the blog to that as well (see yesterday’s post) – we’ll see if it works with this post.

I also started writing the script for the video trailer. Since the book cover, which spawned all of the versions of the picture that I use at various sites, was done in iClone, the people in the picture move. I can have rolling fog, rain, snow, whatever. It’s a perfect jumping off point for the trailer.

image

I’ve got the first couple of scenes in the trailer scripted. The narration will be done by my pal Jason (who is not Jase, the photog or even MixmasterFestus, who is also a Jason…). My problem is that I’m not sure where I want to go with it after those first two scenes.

Ideally it will run about 2–3 minutes. I have about 1 minute scripted. Not sure what happens next in the trailer. A lot of it will be based on the narration. Once I have the narration written, doing the visuals will be the easy part. Though I’m rusty with iClone (I’ve only used it for still images for the past year or so), I’m sure I’ll get back in my groove before I release the book….

So I plan to think on that today and get through another 10+ chapters in the final Night and Day readthrough/edit in the Kindle Previewer.