Physical Book Status: Almost There!

The trade edition flat, before a bit of back cover text tweaking
The CreateSpace trade edition flat, before a bit of back cover text tweaking.

[x-posted at GoodReads]

The physical book version of A Division of Souls is coming along, and let me tell you, formatting the text for physical consumption is a LOT different from ebook formatting.

Put it this way: With e-books, the text is a little more elastic. The book can be X number of pages long, but when the reader looks at it on their own hardware, that may change depending on a few things such as font style and size. While flipping pages, you may see “Page 3 of 500” three or four times before it finally ticks over to “Page 4.”

Physical books are different, and here’s why, especially if you plan on doing it DIY through something like CreateSpace: WYSIWYG. The text you format is the text you’re going to see on the printed page. It might be simplistic, in Times New Roman double-spaced and left-aligned with the page number in the top right corner, when you save the file, and that’s what will show up on the printed page.

Which is kinda not what you want in a print book.

You want the following:
–Page numbers on the outside of each page (left side for the left pages, right side for the right pages, natch), and starting at the right time
–Interesting and readable font and line spacing (I chose Garamond 12pt, 1.05-spaced and justified)
–Any text tweaking (size, shape, justification, etc) done correctly
–Any hyperlinks in the ebook taken out for the print version

…and so many more little fiddly things that can easily get forgotten.

This is why it’s taken me longer to get the physical book out. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve uploaded the file to the CreateSpace platform, only to find yet another formatting error that needs fixing.

So where am I now? Well, I’m currently awaiting a UPS box that should contain a few galley copies of the novel. Having that in my hands, aside from the excitement of it being MY FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK OMG, I’ll be red-penning it for any last minute fixes that I’ll need to make, if any. And only then will I finally hit that “Publish” button and it’ll be available to everyone.

So yeah, I’m getting there. Slowly but surely. ūüôā

Writing Religion in Genre

Religion can be a very tricky thing to write about in Fantasy and Science Fiction. ¬†It has to be done reasonably well and for good reason. ¬†It also has to have at most a strong backbone for which to base part (or all) of the plot or a character’s makeup. ¬†The writer should not want to overtly use the religion’s place in the story as a soapbox, either, because readers will pick up on that right away. ¬†Nor do you want to pick and choose the ideas of well-known established religions and use them without understanding at least some of its already-established rules and tenets.

In creating the ‘spirituality’ of the Mendaihu Universe — I call it such because it’s not so much an established religion as it is a spiritual state of being — I had to create a belief system that had to follow specific rules. ¬†The First Rule, as it were, was balance. ¬†I had to work within the confines of a yin-yang system, where the Mendaihu and the Shenaihu were not so much mortal enemies as they were parts of a whole. ¬†When one takes action, the other one must respond in kind. ¬†This alone propels the action in¬†A Division of Souls and drives the plot of all three books in the trilogy; when Nehal√© Usarai performs the Awakening ritual in the first chapter, the Shenaihu must respond, and do so fivefold. ¬†This will set off even more responding actions from the Mendaihu again, and so on.

This is often where the savior comes in; the character whose life is lived outside of this cycle, who must put a stop to it before both sides utterly destroy each other. ¬†In the trilogy, this is the One of All Sacred. ¬†He or she is not exactly an established deity (in the Mendaihu Universe, that is the Goddess of All That Is), but an outside player of a religious stature who is tasked with returning everything back into a peaceful balance. ¬† The savior often has a somewhat clearer mind than many of the other characters; they’re not wound up in some kind of emotional tailspin or blinded by distraction. ¬†[This can often be their own distraction — their distance from the situation sometimes causes them not to fully understand it.] ¬†The savior’s own story arc is thus not only to Make Things Right Again, but to spiritually ascend in their own way.

What kind of religions have you seen in genre fiction that fascinate you? ¬†If you’ve created your own, how have you worked out the rules?