The making of An0ma1y

Posted on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 at 11:37

Hello there, lonely reader.

My first book is ready to be published on Amazon. Later today I plan on hitting publish, and releasing it Amazon, where the world can read it; and I hope love it, assuming anyone downloads it. I hope they do, as it has taken quite a long time to get from my head to a place where you can enjoy it.

the tower tarot card

The tower Tarot card

In 1993 I had an accident that was highly symbolic; a scaffolding tower that I and a colleague were working on collapsed, spilling us both to broken limbs on the ground. Just like the Heirophant’s tower struck by lightning, two figures fell from a tower. He cleanly broke his ankle, I crushed my right elbow into 14 pieces. While I was recovering in hospital (from having my elbow rebuilt with metal wire, screws and medical meccano) I had a very odd, medicinal and fever-induced, weird dream — and gained an elbow you could stick a fridge magnet to. Later I realised that the events of my accident and rebuilding, were a modern, hard science, reflection of the purely spiritual tales of Shamanic Journeys. I literally was peeled open and my bones repaired and replaced with metal, as the Shamanic folklore claims the spirits of ancestors do. I felt altered by the events, physically altered, of course; but also mentally and spiritually.

I ran a roleplaying game based on that weird dream I had. One of my friends, in an odd turn, decided she would like to play herself. Her decision and my dream combined into an amazing story. She provided a grounded, normal view of the odd events of a temporal war, and it was her view that informed the entire crew of that Temporal Exploration Vessel about freedom from oppressors.

An X-ray of my right elbow from 1994

In 1994 you could stick a fridge magnet to this stuff in my right elbow. Then I had it removed later that year.

Later the medical meccano was removed with another day in surgery, and more similar dreams occurred. Riffing on the themes from before and the story elements that game had introduced.

That game, those dreams, and the ideas within them, haunted me; years later I was still thinking about it, how this thing or that that thing fitted within the framework. Years later, my wife asked whether I could write down what happened in that game, so she could read it. I said no, I couldn’t remember the details of the original game any more, too much of it I had rewritten in my head. So she said, write that then.

I began writing, I was able to write in the evenings and around my youngest son’s nap time, as the eldest had started nursery. In an effort to get more writing time I began using my iPhone and Google Docs to write as often as possible, slowly a few minutes, words or lines at a time I wrote a huge science fiction epic. It was an enormous sprawling and often incoherent story, but at its core it was both that roleplaying game and that strange, surgical shock induced hallucination. My wife read it, she loved it, she pointed out where it was utterly incomprehensible and I started corrections, and editing.

Now my youngest started nursery. This left my day with a huge hole in it, which I filled with writing. I cut the novel into thirds. The Paradox War became, ‘An0ma1y‘, ‘Cu1ture B0mb‘ and ‘Chronoclysm‘, and each part was refined. I have worked for a year on ‘An0ma1y‘ figuring that the first book should be polished and sold before I spend time on the others.

So finally its ready for you. Oh sure, it could still be better, I’m not the sort of artist that believes anything is ever finished, I’ll always want to tweak, to polish, to refine, to alter. The point is that now the book is really ready for others to join in that process. Feed back from this edition will certainly inform changes to the next edition. If I were to get offered a publishing deal, the companies editors and house styles would impact the text again, and I don’t see why an Indie writer can’t do the same between editions. Also feedback I may get on ‘An0ma1y‘ will inform the revisions I make to ‘Cu17u12e 80m6‘ and ‘We6 0f Wy12d‘, before I release their Kindle editions, (but it won’t take a year again).

The last few days I have been performing the delicate task of converting the document into html and uploading it to Amazon to test how the pages look. Here I have an advantage over many authors as I have worked with the Internet since 1992, studying physics at Liverpool I viewed the world’s first web pages for one of my weekly tutorials. I have ridden the web wave along, always keeping abreast of the latest web technology. So when I find an error caused by the conversion process I can nip in a fix the source rather than having to reconvert again. But a couple of quick tips for you ebook publishers.

If you are having problems with the save as filtered html option, give this a go.

Export .docx to google docs

Click here to convert a Word 2010 file into a google doc file.

  1. Save the .Docx to google Drive, use you browser to convert it (click file->;export to google Doc)
  2. Save the file back as html.
save as html

Download the html of the doc back to your harddrive.

The code produced is often cleaner and renders more correctly on the Kindle (although it is worth noting that this html has to be converted again by Amazon / Mobicreator / Calibre into the actual html used in ebook readers). I’ll give you some pointers on html for authors here later, so that you can edit your own text with notepad (or more likely Wordpad) or the text editor of your choice.