Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekly Update: Concocting, Paginating, & Annotating the Poetry Manuscript

70º ~ fall graces us, even days of brief heat are enjoyed, recent rains revived the trees and lawns, praise be

Remember this, dear readers?

This was the status of the sickly speaker's manuscript when last I posted about it.  In early August, I had spent much of the summer living with the poems in this state and finagling the order of pages, finally striking on the idea of using two appendices: one for the general order poems and one for the definition poems.  When I had tried to intersperse these with the voice of the sickly speaker, she refused, although I had originally conceived those poems as "breaks" for the reader.  Once I got them set up in the appendices, I struck on the idea of annotating the manuscript.  Alas, the school days began and the sickly speaker grew quiet, perhaps also because she had made her escape.

Today, after having several great conversations about the mss. with Traci Brimhall, who was in town Thursday - Friday, I woke once more with the sickly speaker's voice in my head.  This time she was poking at me to re-read the collection straight through to check the order again, and then to try out this annotation idea.

While the pages are no longer taped up on the bookshelves as shown above, I was able to see that one poem needed to be moved up a slot.  I also went back to the vexing question of the ampersand. I found myself putting the ampersands back in at the insistence of the sickly speaker.  However, there is a method to my madness.  She uses the ampersands when joining two nouns, two verbs, or two adjectives.  In a compound sentence or longer description, not so much. 

When I had the poems in place and the tweaking done, I printed things out, eager to see if the annotation would work.  I laid out the appendices and quickly figured out that I wouldn't want to footnote "whitecoat" every time I'd used it in the sickly speaker poems, just to point to "11 General Orders of a Whitecoat" in Appendix A.  So, I decided I would find the first usage of the word and annotate that.  (This all came about because I was worried the readers would arrive at the end of the sickly speaker's story and skip the appendices or find them cumbersome.  This way, the reader is directed to the appendices throughout the collection, hopefully making it more organic but without disrupting the sickly speaker's story.)

Now, I have the manuscript all prettified, with title pages, an acknowledgments page, and a table of contents, plus the dreaded page numbers.  I think I've finally ingrained in my memory the process for getting the page numbers to show up for the body of the book, but not the front matter.  In Microsoft Word, it's all about creating a section break at the end of the front matter and before the text begins.  Then, when formatting the footer/header, be sure the cursor is in the footer/header for the body of the text and open the formatting palette.  Then, insert the page numbers and click off (empty) the box for "Link to Previous" so that the two sections aren't connected. Also, click on the "format page numbers" icon and tell it to start at page 1.  Voila!

All praises to Word that the footnote feature is much easier to use!

I'm still mostly focused on the weather book, now called The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths, but I also don't feel like the sickly speaker has anything else to say.  Oh my, I'm once again a poet without a subject.  Wonder what will pop to the surface next?


Kathleen said...

Love the photo and process notes! Love the decision on the ampersand--and am amazed that, though my use of ampersand depends on speaker and circumstances, and my speaker(s) are different from yours, I generally come round to a similar use!

Colder than 70 here...but we will have a return of summery weather, I'm sure...

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, K. I heard the temps were falling up there (falling for fall...hee hee).

Tawnysha Greene said...

Love the notes! Looks like you are getting close! Can't wait to read it when you are finished!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, T!