What I learnt about writing books—part 2

A couple of pages from The design master plan: Creating motifs and borders.

 

 Word processing, illustrating and copyright

 

Although I had the word processing software Adobe InDesign on my computer, I didn’t know how to use it or what it was.  I’d been using Microsoft Word.  As I was constantly rearranging things and losing pictures and this was taking up too much of my time, I took the brave step of teaching myself how to use InDesign.  I don’t learn computer programs by playing around with them but I knew I had to bite the bullet and learn.  Amazingly enough, I learnt most of the basics I needed to transfer the book into the program and from there, it was so much easier!  I really like this program.  It was so easy to rearrange sub-chapters and a lot of stress disappeared.

I think writers must have two ways of approaching the writing.  Either they outline their chapters and sub-chapters and fill in the blanks, or just start in one area and take it from there, jumping all over the place.  I was in the latter category as I didn’t have a complete outline and whilst refining one topic, it would quickly spill into another and I’d write about that.  Although this was a messier way for me to work, it was always a win-win for me.  I think I just wanted to get all of my thoughts and processes down on paper and then refine it.

 

Does anyone really have every thing planned out in advanced? Here's the final contents of The design master plan.

Does anyone really have every thing planned out in advanced? Here’s the final contents of The design master plan.

 

And then came the illustrations…I knew that there was no reason to take photos or make quilts for the book. It’s a book on drawing designs.  That made it a lot easier.  I also knew that as a back up to explaining how the design process worked I would want to draw lots of illustrations in case my talents as a writer didn’t shine through.  The saying, “A picture is worth a 1000 words” kept going through my mind so I had to find and draw illustrations to reflect every part of the process and as well as some other options to show that the technique worked for different designs.  This helped refine every technique and was a lot of fun.  I drew so many designs and played with each and every one of them. Every day was different and I was constantly surprising myself with what I was coming up with.  I think I drew at least 2000 illustrations and finally settled on around 600.

 

Illustrating-the-books-No-2-Fiona-Schiffl

Ahh…the fun part—creating designs!

 

As I had so many designs, it occurred to me that I should do a book of designs too.  I’d done all of that work so why not?  I wasn’t phased at the thought of writing the two books at once, in fact, one would often help out the other.  When I had a reasonable collection of designs together, I printed them out only to discover that there was enough for two books of designs.  So began book three.  This book also helped out writing the other two.  Books two and three were mainly created in the year I was editing book one.

One other thing I considered along the way is how to let people use the designs.  Obviously people buy design books to use the designs so they don’t want to be hit with a wall of copyright.  They are probably going to use the designs they way they want to so I gave them a lot of leeway.  They could digitize, copy, alter the designs for personal use, in competitions and use them on fundraising quilts.  The only things I didn’t want people doing was selling, trading or giving away their interpretations or their digitizations of the designs.  As there is a large longarm quilting business industry, I figured I would get more sales there too if they were able to put the designs on their customers’ quilts.

Happy writing and quilting,

Fiona

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