Symi Dream

Living on a Greek island

A Greek island blog from Symi in the Dodecanese islands of Greece. "James’s great talent lies in his careful observation of the absurd and the amusing, the dramas and the difficulties..." Anne Zouroudi.

Symi Dream - Living on a Greek island

Symi Spring Photos

Symi Spring Photos

Well, the good news is that I sorted out the layout problem on The Witchling. The bad news is that the layout artist is currently very tied up. He looks after his very elderly mother and severely disabled sister, who is currently very ill. So, we will have to wait for the final files to be ready to publish while hoping that everyone in his household comes through their current crisis.

Maybe today should just be about photos, to lift the mood. These are some Neil took recently on a walk. As you can see, spring is well on its way.

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Symi Greece Simi

Symi Greece Simi

Symi Greece photos Symi Greece photos

The Curse of the Saddling Witchling

The Curse of the Saddling Witchling

I spent some of Monday working on ‘The Witching’ layout, trying to save the layout guy some time. I laboriously copied the text of each chapter into a text file, to clear it of all formatting, and then set about using a programme called In Design. I shall pepper this tragic tale with recent images, to break up my gloom.

Symi Greece photos

When you make up a book for printing, you need to be sure you have your gutters right – the blank spaces either side of the age and in the middle. The right-hand page, the Recto, has the left-hand gutter (or margin if you like) wider than the right so that it takes into account the binding. The left-hand pages of a book, the Verso pages, have the wider gutter on the right and the outer margin on the left. My layout chap sent me two files, Recto for chapters starting on the right-hand page and a Verso template for chapters starting on the left. Easy…

Symi Greece photos

So, my process was this: open the Recto template for chapter one, as chapter one always starts on the right-hand page. Each section of the chapter has a different ‘master’ template within it that controls various layout settings, in this case, there’s a ‘B Master’ for the chapter heading. So, I find that and change the heading to ‘One’, for chapter one. Then I place in the text from the text file, fiddle with the first line to make it left-justified and not indented, and add the drop-caps size. That all goes well. I checked for windows and orphans (words or parts of lines that are left on their own on the first or last line and that look messy) and made a few edits, triple checking that I haven’t made any typos which will upset the proofreaders. All okay so far…

Symi Greece photos

Once chapter one is looking smoking hot, I see if it ends on a right or left page, as chapter two will need to start on the opposite page, make a note, and close the files. Start the process again with chapter two and a Verso page as it starts on a left-hand page. Some people like to have each chapter start on their right, and that does work, but it also adds unnecessary pages and ads to the cost of printing, so to save space I tend not to do that. Chapter two gets done, and I fall into a rhythm… And work my way through all 36 chapters carefully. There, that’s a great job done. Except…

Symi Greece photos

When I come to make up a dummy document in PDF, to see how the layout looks, I realise that I have, at some point around chapter four, started on the wrong page, and thus there is a blank page. Every chapter after that starts concurrently and looks fine, except there’s an additional blank page near the start of the book for no reason. And that means, going back to square one and starting again – so that’s about four hours wasted. Also, the page numbering is up the spout so I will have to deal with that. Hey ho! Publication may be slightly delayed. It’s the curse of the Saddling witchling I tell you – but I hope it will be worth the effort and worth your wait. So, now it’s back to the tedium of copy and paste and typeset and check, and double check – and an email to the real typesetter to see if he can do the whole thing for me.

Symi Greece photos

More From Last Friday

More From Last Friday

Here are a few more images taken at the name day service last Friday. (And a couple taken afterwards where Neil was enjoying the last of the carnival silly-foam.) It’s been a warm weekend and, after some high winds on Saturday, we’ve enjoyed calm weather, some cloud, but mainly higher temperatures. It’s turning out to be a mainly settled February.

Symi Greece Simi

I’m not stopping long, I have the pages to put together for ‘The Witching’, and we’re aiming to have that with you in the next week, maybe sooner, maybe longer, it depends on when the layout artist can check my formatting. I’m trying to save him time by doing the donkey work myself this time, as he has many other things on right now and I’m keen to get this one out of the pending tray, as it were. So, have a glance at the images, and I’ll be back to tomorrow, probably with more weather reports and news on books.

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