It’s a Milestone not a Millstone


Writing a book is a long process. I know that Edgar Wallace was reputed to have turned out entire novels in only 2 or 3 days but then he never actually sat and wrote them, rather he dictated them onto wax cylinders and left them for secretaries to type up. He also rarely edited his books and disliked anyone else doing the job after the manuscripts were submitted. I have read some of Wallace’s work and was not impressed. Obviously this system worked for him, and it also made him very popular and successful, but I doubt it would work for me.

Edgar Wallace

Edgar Wallace


To begin with I cannot afford the services of a secretary and I am not sure that my wife would like to engage one either. Also, I do not think that I have the vocal stamina to dictate a book over 72 hours like Mr Wallace was said to do. Perhaps, most importantly, I actually enjoy the act of writing itself, which he seems to have disliked.

There is something to be said for crafting a rough first draft into a finished manuscript. At the weekend I compiled all of my separate chapters into one volume some 160,000 words long. It felt like an accomplishment in itself, a genuine milestone in the creative process. For all intents and purposes I have finished writing ‘Eugenica’.

Plenty of work remains to be done, however. Parts of the book are still with my proof-

Main Cover 01

My up and coming masterpiece!

reader and I noticed during the compilation a few sections that I might want to refine a little further. The thing is, I felt that the project needed to move onto the next stage. Up to this point it was a collection of 38 chapters stored separately on my computer; it lacked body! In accepting that it is not yet the finished article I saved the file as ‘Eugenica 01’, other versions, I expect, will follow but hopefully they will not be major rewrites. If they are then I have gone seriously wrong somewhere.

As I intend to release the book on the Amazon Kindle first it was then necessary to transfer it over to the ‘epub’ file format. This is no easy undertaking and fraught with frustration but it has to be done. I use Sigil to do this, saving the book manuscript as a ‘Web page, filtered’ HTML file. I like using Word to write in and I have to admit I cannot help but use formatting; I like my book to look like a book! This formatting can cause problems in Epub, however. Saving the file in an HTML format helps clean the formatting up. Some writers use Sigil to create their stories but I seem to need to use several different computers and I cannot install Sigil on every one of them.

Due to the formatting issues it then becomes necessary to check the electronic version of the manuscript. My wife volunteered to try it out on her tablet and it took her all of 5 minutes to spot the first piece of poor formatting. I was not disheartened, this was the purpose of the exercise. And that is where I am at the moment, checking how the manuscript looks on a couple of e-readers. I am noting errors in both style and substance and when the last pages arrive from the proof-reader the main Word manuscript will be reviewed one final time, then I will make the submission to Kindle Direct Publishing, hopefully within the next few weeks.


About petercwhitaker

I am an author and lover of life!
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