Friday, February 22, 2013

Latest Thoughts on "The Labors of Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head"

       I originally posted this piece back in June of 2012, but strangely enough, hardly anybody viewed it at that time.  Now, at February 22, 2013, as I'm getting ready to publish v.2, The Storm-Wing, I'm going to repost and update this piece.   I'm also going to upgrade the abridged sample chapters from The War of the Stolen Mother, so that the complete text, from the opening "Translator's Foreword" through Chapter 8 are on this same blog.  You can also download approximately the same amount of text as a Smashwords sample.

        I've inserted the back cover of The War of the Stolen Mother in the sidebar. I decided, instead of doing a description or a blurb, to use an adaptation of another of my illustrations for The War of the Stolen Mother.  It shows the first meeting between the Companions of Ki'shto'ba and the trickster Za'dut. I hope you enjoy it!
        The original art for the back cover showed the scene set among dark rocks, but I thought I would make the back mirror the front, so I framed it with the tree instead. The original also includes A'zhu'lo, but the twin would have made it a little crowded. The little critter that Wei'tu is hanging onto is one of the Little Ones -- the domesticated "dairy ants."
        Probably the only thing I might change about these covers is the type font. I'm using Lucida Bright -- I abandoned Book Antigua in this series because the apostrophe, which gets used a lot, is kind of strange in that font. But I'm not real happy with Lucida Bright either, so I may tinker some more. I have a weakness for Harrington, but it's probably fancier than would be wise to commit to. I want to settle on a font I can use for the entire series. [I ended up using Harrington on the front cover, but I'm not using that font on The Storm-Wing.]

        The formatting for the printed book is coming along. The whole thing has 36 chapters and yesterday I completed Ch. 26. That is to say, I've got that much inserted into the template. I've been making quite a few alterations as I go. Some of them are stylistic and some are substantive, but a lot of them are required to make the text fit. Remember those long, made-up names, with the syllables separated by apostrophes? You can't divide those syllables at the ends of lines -- it would look goofy! Therefore, since the text has to be justified, some lines end up with big gaps between the words. That will never do! So I have to rewrite so that the long names come at the beginnings or in the centers of lines. I never make things easy on myself! [I have now gotten used to this process and even find it rather fun!]
        The footnotes have turned out to be less of a problem than I expected. I haven't had any instances where the text split itself between pages, and only one instance that I can remember where I had to adjust for a big space at the end of the page.  [In The Storm-Wing, I had one  long footnote that had to be split between pages.  I really hate that, so I fixed it by moving the numeric reference to a later point in the text.  It's a satisfactory solution, at least in this case.]
        So all this fiddling means typos may creep in and that's why I'll probably want to peruse the thing one last time.

        I may change my mind and make an attempt to put Stolen Mother on Smashwords. I sell something every now and then to people who don't have Kindles, and I do get quite a few sample downloads, which can't hurt. It's all going to depend on whether they can cope with footnotes.  [I did that, of course, and now know exactly what to do.  Amazing how one learns from experience!]

        I have a confession to make. "Stolen Mother" is a terrible spoiler for The Termite Queen! Since it takes off right at the end of TQ, there's a lot of talk about what happened in that story. (More reason for you to buy and read Termite Queen right away!) When I did that, I never thought of it as a spoiler; I thought of it as filling in the backstory, since people who haven't read TQ may read these books. There is nothing I can do about it since references to the plot of TQ are embedded in the fiber of Stolen Mother and subsequent tales. Oh, well ...

        I have only one other remark: Back in the post about the titles of the six volumes, I stated that the tentative title for Volume V would be The Quest for the Golden Fungus: The Companions Reach the Sea.  I've decided to make it The Quest for the Golden Fungus: The Path of Gold (or The Golden Path -- I still have to ponder that some more). Otherwise, the titles are pretty much set. [Actually, I'm still pondering the titles for the final two volumes.  I think these are way too long, but I do want to keep the term The Quest for the Golden Fungus, because it mirrors The Golden Fleece.]

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