Friday, March 04, 2005

Old Blog 8: 01/14/05 -- Systematic

I packed in working on Character Assassin for Lulu in favor of the freebie NaNoWriMo deal. But I really didn't want to just have a paperback book with no ending, so I pushed about 16,000 words this past week to draw the story around to some semblance of an ending. And SEEM to have succeeded uploading the thing to Lulu Press. If and when I have the finished copy in my trembling hands, I'll know if all the learning and sweating and cursing were worth it.

I sure as hell hope so.

One of the things that I am able to do is write up simple, follow-able instructions. Bernie taught me that 29 years ago when he was a Jack-in-the-Box Manager Trainee. We'd go over his instruction manuals, which were intended to be understood by anyone literate. There were no "value judgements" or "estimated materials." Food was produced according to recipes whose cooking times were measured in seconds, whose ingredients were measured by fractions of ounces. Step One, Two, Three. If you follow the steps, you won't make mistakes.

In preparing for Lulu-ing, I printed out pages of instructions from various Lulu blogs and Help pages, stuff from Cafe Press's publishing Help encyclopedia, more stuff from the latest Lulu link at NaNoWriMo -- and very little of it agreed on the process, the measurements, the terminology. Essential words were left out. Definitions were hazy. Directions were as confusing as the ones you get when you try to find Scenic Drive in Modesto.

I think that I can help that a little, because in the end, formatting my novel (after weeks of trial and error) took about ten minutes. And though I spent a week on the cover picture, only to have it rejected because the resolution was not high enough, when I finally figured out what the hell the various mentors were trying to say, a passable cover was available in a matter of minutes.

It's not as convoluted as it first seems.

While I no longer have to write lesson plans or lesson plan formats, or train cashiers to use a the new phone system or how to mix paint, the knack of systematic relay of information is still there, and will stand someone in good stead.


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