Library holds writer workshop
“You’re not going to be able to write a book and make everybody happy”
– Honor Raconteur, local author and publisher
Coffee County Manchester Public Library is hosting two additional writer workshop sessions at 3 p.m. on Mondays as part of its summer reading series.
“We are hoping to encourage kids to write,” said Youth Services Specialist Virginia Kiviniemi.
“We have quite a few kids out there that want to write a book or have one started, but they don’t know what to do with it once they have it in their heads or on paper.”
Spearheading the instruction is local author and publisher Honor Raconteur.
“I go through the nitty-gritty details,” she said. “Today for instance I go through all the programs I use to publish a book. I walk them through it step by step exactly how I do it.”
E-publishing is such a new trend, when she started there weren’t any how-to books to be found.
“I had to find out a lot by trial and error. It took about six months of playing with [programs] and figuring them out.
“I’m still learning tricks.”
Raconteur describes the process of publishing as a journey through a series of computer programs.
“First you start with [the word processor] Word. There are a lot of different authors using a lot of author’s software that help them create chapters and ideas. But I stick with Word.”
She said that Word has a lot of useful features that mostly remain unused.
“Track Changes [found in the Tools dropdown menu on older Word versions] is something that we use as editors to keep track of who is changing what and what needs to be changed.”
With Track Changes, users can enter comments for other users in reference to a specific portion of a document as well as monitor who made changes made to a document.
After the content of a book is entered into Word, it is exported to Calibre for formatting.
She notes that a lot formatting glitches come from how the documents are saved.
“Most of the time [the formatting glitches] are just an error that has been made somewhere in the coding.
She explained that documents saved as a standard Word “.doc” files prone to have formatting errors.
“You get all these goofy little errors, and you don’t know why.”
She suggests saving as RTF or an http-friendly format.
She also warns writers not to try to make the page “look pretty” with unnecessary hard returns and spaces to make it fit on a page right. Raconteur said that she sometimes gets manuscripts submitted with these needless characters, but has to find and remove them.
She says the fun part is making the cover in Photoshop.
When the cover is exported as a JPEG the combined files are essentially now an e-book and can be uploaded to Amazon, Barns and Noble or Smashword.
“The paperback is the most tedious part, and we use InDesign for that. It takes hours.”
You’re an Author
Raconteur said that she encourages people to think outside the box when developing a novel.
“We’ve got a lot of people writing formula writing. They feel like they have to have certain elements in a book to make it work,” she said.
“There always has to be some dark overlord to defeat or some kind of prophecy.
“I’m trying to teach them that you can have an amazing, creative storyline that doesn’t have any of those elements in it.”
She warns writers if they don’t like the story, then they shouldn’t be writing it.
“Someone will start a story, and their mom will read it or their uncle will read it, and they start getting opinions from people on what should be in there that…it’s a completely different story than what the author herself would have written.
“I keep trying to pound into their heads, you are the god of that world. If you don’t agree with them, you don’t agree with them, and you don’t have to put it in.”
Raconteur acknowledges the advice is a bit strange, and flies into the face of conventional writing advice about getting a lot of input on your work, but she says there is a distinction between subjective backseat-writing and constructive advice.
The two are often difficult to distinguish.
“Sometimes it’s just their opinion. I have gotten to the point where I ask, is this something you like, or something that you feel needs to be in the story.”
She said the proof is in the reasoning behind the suggestion.
“If they can justify it to me, or if I can justify it to her –back up what I’m saying, it’s usually constructive criticism.”
Raconteur said that participation in the class has been good so far. Participants are welcomed to join at any point in the series, but registration is required.
Upcoming workshops will be at 3 p.m. on June 23, Publish It, and June 30, Market It.
Contact the Coffee County Manchester Public Library for more information at 723-5143 or at www.CoffeeCountyLibrary.com. The library is located at 1005 Hillsboro Blvd.
Summer at the library – something for everyone
Scheduled for the Coffee County-Manchester Public Library are:
June 17 Cardboard construction
June 24 Mythbusters
July 1 Marshmallow wars
July 8 Gross science
July 15 Pet show
June 19 Miniature golf
June 26 Where in the world
July 3 Paper roller coasters part 1
July 10 Paper roller coasters part 2
July 17 Where in the world?
June 18 Ventriloquist Jill Thatcher
June 25 South of Broadway players
July 2 NHECM
July 9 Science guy Mr. Richards
July 23 Snowbird
July 30 Manchester Fire Department
The youth reading program goes through July 11for ages birth-high school graduation.Read books and win prizes.
For all ages
A pizza party will be held for participants of the summer reading party at 11 a.m. on July 12. It will include games, water sprinkler, face painting, balloon animals and, of course, pizza.