Sunday, November 7, 2010

Laid Out with Layouts

I may have a migraine. I think it's actually just a sinus headache combined with some eye strain. (Although I did find that the sun was too bright today, which is often the clue to a migraine for me.)

Therefore I only got a little work done on the W.I.P. and on the critiques.

However, I have finished the layout for the paper version of Have Gun, Will Play. In the end it required me giving up on my favorite font, Palatino, because it's an amateur font that doesn't have true "small caps" for the beginning of chapters. I like a book laid out with a nice block style first paragraph for chapters - and the first few words in proper small caps. So I had to go with a properly hinted full pro font - Garamond. (Which means the capital Qs are now all swashy and excessive - and there are a lot of references to a town called Quester Springs in the second chapter. Oh well....)

Yes, you see, migraine time is an excellent time to obsess over fussy little things like typography. All of the proof-reading I've done on that thing and I never caught that I still had two instances of underlines in the book. I can see it now because I can't really read the book.

I think that typography and advanced layout is one of those places where ignorance is probably bliss. Today I asked a question on a writer's board about how to do something in InDesign, and I got an answer of how to kludge together something like it in Word. The thing is, for that particular problem, yes, you could do it in Word. It actually would be fine and no one the wiser. And most of those people using Create Space to make a book are perfectly happy using Word.

But to me using Word to do a layout is like trying to make pancakes in handcuffs. No probably worse. I can't do it because I know better. I know what can be done with the real thing and I can't settle. Sigh.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds like a lot to figure out! Word doesn't cooperate with me for so many things...but I think I'm stuck with it.

Hope you feel better soon.

The Daring Novelist said...

Well, it's great for just doing a manuscript, and leaving the layout to others.

(As a matter of fact, I kinda wish they'd cut out all the fancy features, or at least offer a simplified version.)