Thursday, June 22, 2006

book update:
the good thing about editing while tired...

My sleep schedule is completely whacked.

It's 9am, and I have yet to go to sleep. This vacation, it's been quite normal for me to get up in the mid- to late-afternoon hours. I've become a total vampire, sleeping during most of the day, typing and futzing during the evening, walking up Namsan at night, then showering and continuing to type and futz until well past dawn.

Some highlights of the manuscript editing:

1. It's tedious work, converting essays from un-indented Internet paragraph format (with spaces between paragraphs) to "normal," indented text. I've performed the same sets of keystrokes hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

2. A book's page count depends greatly on font size when the manuscript is around 95,000 to 100,000 words. I'm using the Palatino font for the interior text. At 12 points, the book originally weighed in at about 400 pages. I can get it down to around 300-some pages-- including the extra essays-- using smaller font sizes.

3. Many of the essays are so short that they can fit inside a single page. This makes them look ridiculously puny, almost as if I were publishing a book of poetry. I'm thinking about altering the book's size to 5" x 8". That would significantly thicken the book, but text would make a bit more sense, spilling over onto extra pages.

4. It's not easy to go back to an old essay and start removing all the vulgarity that made it halfway interesting in the first place.

5. Even (perhaps especially) for Mac, Microsoft products bite. I'm using MS Word for Mac, and it's not always the friendliest beast.

6. The good thing about editing while tired is that you tend to care less about chopping something out of your ms. For most of us, excising a line or a paragraph can feel like self-amputation. When you're half-zonked, that's not the case.

And that's all the news for the moment. I'm off to bed. At 9:15am.



Sean said...

for your paragraph problems I would think a simple search and replace would help you.

Search for a carraige return (or double carraige return if that's what you have on your blog) and replace with carriage return and tab

MS word can easily accomplish this.

Sean said...


In word type ctrl + H (I guess on mac that would be command + h)

in the find what space add: ^l^l
in the replace with space add: ^p^t

you can do a replace all or find one and replace it. I tested with this blog entry and it worked perfectly.

Anonymous said...

While search and replace would be easier than what you've been doing, I have an even easier way: macros. Just start recording a macro, do the search and replace outline by EFL Geek above, and then stop recording. Then assign that macro to a simple keystroke combination and you're all set. I write all my journal entries in Word and then use a single macro to automatically convert them to valid HTML (adding tags, converting entities, etc.) at the press of a few keys.

Heck, you could have even programmed a macro to remove all vulgarity and replace it with harmless non-vulgar words. Like heck, or crap, or hominid (wait, scratch that last one). I mean, if you're going to be using MS Word, might as well take advantage of its capabilities, right?

Of course, it's probably a bit late at this point. Just keep it in mind for next time.

R said...

I feel your pain Kevin. I know what it is like to spend hours reformatting documents.

Each class I take has different style guides...

Pain in the ass.

Single quotation marks in the first instance or double? Two spaces after sentence ending punctuation or one?


And they penalise the fuck out of you if you get it wrong.

Have fun man - it's all going to be worth it in the end.

Sean said...


If you format your citations using Endnote then changing the style is as easy as clicking a button. Your university probably has endnote available for current students otherwise you'll have to buy it or find it somewhere else.

R said...

But then what will I have to complain about?

I have heard of Endnote, and may actually use it some day.