It's an exciting day today.
Why is that, you're wondering?
Today I'd like to take you behind the scenes of writing a
Books On My Parents' Shelves post.
For those of you who have been wondering about my process,
this post is for you.
For those of you who could care less,
well... actually, I have nothing to say to that.
Sorry. Or whatever.
Posts start out with a blank page.
Before I even begin to upload photos,
I start typing.
Generally, what I type looks something like this:
If it's late at night and I have a glass of wine* on hand,
I might try saying that out loud.
That can be very difficult when there are no vowels, F.Y.I.
After I pour myself another glass of wine*,
I decide on the post's title.
This is actually a very difficult process and involves a lot of debate
as there are no clear style guidelines on the proper usage
of capital numbers in blog titles.
Having given it much thought,
I've personally decided to use the Chicago Style Manual's
suggestion of using lower case numerals in titles
and upper case numbers in $@*&! words.
From there, I upload our book titles.
That ends up looking something like this:
I just had a mirror moment.
Here, I'll show you what I mean:
After the photos are uploaded,
I write an intro and start judging the book covers.
Do you know the saying
"It's easy to judge a book by it's cover"?
Well, honestly, it's not.
At least, it's not after about the 400th book.
Take this book above us, for instance.
It's a classic.
Some people would get very upset if I said
the first thing that popped into my head when I saw it.
(Which, by the way, was that that red line looked like
the start of a unicorn horn growing out of the dog's head,
and that the dark ring on the grass made it look like the dog
was wearing a space helmet.
And that I was going to write a book about unicorn dogs in space.
But then I realized "uni-dog" just sounds like I'm trying to say "one dog"
and "dog-corn" just sounds wrong.
So I will not be writing that book.
Apologies to all of you who just skipped over to Amazon to pre-order.)
The better, more appropriate comment about this book
would be to just mention
that it looks like the boy is playing a raucous game
of Keep Away with the dog.
And that I would like to have a pet dog.
If you can't tell from that first segment,
a lot of thought goes into each book.
The thought that went into this next book was:
"Why did I like the Wayside books so much as a kid?"
"That's a strange mix of fonts."
"A building for a cover picture? Easiest design job ever.
I can't draw, and I could draw that.
And I would make the building fit properly onto the cover. "
"I really want sushi for lunch."
This is about the point where I get bored
and go to lunch.
Then I come back and rewrite almost everything I wrote before.
Trickier posts involve covers
that no longer have covers.
Take this example.
There's enough writing that if you can do basic math
and have a general knowledge of young adult literature,
you can put two and two together and get
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Not everyone can do that, though.
So I'm left not only introducing the book,
but then having to say something interesting about it.
And if, like this book, I haven't read it or I don't remember reading it,
saying something "interesting" ends up looking like this:
"This book was sitting vertically on the shelf."
"Words words words. Sentence."
Being amusing can be surprisingly difficult.
Sometimes it just doesn't happen.
The fourth book is generally the point of no return.
It's where I'm ready to be done writing,
I'm oh-so-close to the end of the post,
and it's often where I run out ideas.
Luckily, sometimes we get style aficionados to help us out.
Excuse me a minute while I do a Google search for
tunics and tights ...made out of burlap sacks.
You never know when those will be in again.
By the time I get to the fifth book,
my brain is gone.
I'm thinking about other things
and am probably mildly delirious.
I tend to spout off some nonsense,
in this case something about mice not getting
the burlap tunic and tights memo,
then consider making an Impolite Joke
about the name "Dick,"
before realizing that would be Wrong and Not Nice.
Then I'd wonder why the mice in the school house
are mimicking the mice in the textbook.
And then I'd tell you that I want to reread
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.
Somewhere in there, I'd call it a day.
After that, all that's left is spell check.
It's a process.
In other news,
I had sugar in my coffee today,
which I never do,
so I don't really know what I've been talking about in this post.
*No wine was drunk during the writing of this post.
Or, actually, the writing of most posts.
For more interesting posts,
please consider donating to SM's Wine Fund.