Children's writing

They’re Here!

spiderwick1.jpgMy copies of Hogsqueal’s Activity Book and Thimbletack’s Activity Book arrived. Yippee!

They look very slick. Hats off to the designers; they did a great job. Sometimes I wish I were a graphic designer. It looks like a fun job, and I get pleasure out of a good design.

Anywho, there were some bumps along this project path, so I’m especially pleased that the books came out so well in the end. Shall I dish?

Well, the first bump was all my fault. I decided to use my beloved Lotus WordPro on the old computer to make the puzzles. It’s faster than using MS Word, in part because I know it better and in part because the drawing features are just plain more convenient than those in Word. For instance, I hate having to create a text box every time I want to place a letter somewhere. WordPro didn’t make me do that. All I had to do there was click the Text tool and move the cursor where I wanted the letter. I could move the cursor all over the place and type a million individual letters here, there, and everywhere, without having to make and format stupid little boxes for each one.

Don’t get me started on the drawing features in Word. Yuk. (Give me a call, Microsoft, if you ever want to improve your program.)

So why was that a problem? Well, it wouldn’t have been if the second bump had not occurred. The second bump was a fairly major change to the movie during editing. At least, it seems fairly major to me. Characters were cut. Characters that I had used in some of the puzzles. Uh-oh.

Some puzzles had to be changed, a couple had to be scrapped, and I created a couple of new ones to replace the ones that got ditched. Because I had used Lotus WordPro from the old computer, the charts and tables in the puzzles (and they all have charts and tables) were turned into pictures when I converted the manuscript to a Word .doc, which is how the publisher wanted it. The pictures couldn’t be edited. There was no going in and changing a character name. Any puzzle that needed to be changed had to be re-drawn in Word, which we’ve already established takes way-yonder longer than drawing in WordPro.

Had I been at home, I could have made the quick alterations in the original puzzles, but I was not at home. I was away from home with the new computer, and the new computer doesn’t have Lotus WordPro. That program is obsolete; it’s not available for new operating systems.

In the end, it was just a matter of redoing stuff, but it came at a time when I was traveling and busy. I worked extra hard, they were extra patient, and yadda-yadda-yadda, we pulled it all together.

All that said, I’ve learned some things (like starting with Word when the publisher wants the files in Word), having now seen the results of the Nancy Drew books and these. I still hadn’t seen the Nancy Drew books when I wrote the Spiderwick ones, so I didn’t know what I know now. I’d do some things differently. I think I could do a better job. I hope I get the chance. These projects are a heap of fun. I hope kids (and Simon Scribbles) like them as much as I do!

Categories: Children's writing

2 replies »

  1. Congratulations, Jen! They look awesome! I’m going to get a copy for the girls! We’re so proud of you!
    Love and Happy Thoughts,

  2. Thanks, Cathy. Are your girls at all familiar with The Spiderwick Chronicles? They may be a bit young yet. I would have been scared of those stories at that age, but then, we know how I am with scary and/or suspenseful stuff.