I’m writing fiction again. For the moment I’m getting my gears wet with prompts, but I have some ideas brewing for a novel. Stay tuned. Subscribe if you want to see where this goes.
Small waves lapped against the next contestant as she bobbed in the water. The game was called “Don’t shit a brick.” The goal was to see who could doggy paddle the longest while holding a brick. Juvenile, sure. Was it fun? You’re damn right it was.
Jennifer had cried out with glee when she first entered the water, then her face squished in like a sponge when she was handed the brick. She momentarily grimaced as the red, clay brick scraped against her inner thigh. But she managed to hold onto it surrounded by the vibrantly colored speedboats of her classmates.
Her red and blue bikini top was fastened tight around her neck, but the grasping texture of the brick threatened to expose her sun shaded breasts to the boys leaning off the sides of their boats, cheering wildly like she was crossing the finish line with each minor stroke.
The coldness of Lake Holshire had sucked my breath away earlier in the afternoon, when the first round of tubing had begun. The coldness could be seen on Jennifer’s face, in the way she gasped for air and kept her eyes focused on one spot in the sky.
Maybe if we had brought more than one brick, the contestant would have felt better about dropping it to the mossy bottom below. As it were, Jennifer struggled with the weight and the beers she had drank earlier.
She managed to keep herself afloat as someone yelled, “She looks like she’s shitting a brick!”
The three speedboats all had their engines killed and their anchor points tethered, leaving a triangular opening in the water. As the ever buoyant Jennifer struggled with her clay hindrance, the boats sloshed and shimmied so that Jennifer was no longer in the center of the triangle, but closer to Davis’ boat, a shining red and black beast that could hit sixty miles an hour without blinking.
I yelled to Davis, “Get her out, man. She’s finished.”
He didn’t even look at me, but kept staring down at the top of her breasts that glistened just above the surface of the water.
In the afternoon sun, the water was a navy blue, like the oppressive folds of storm clouds about to spit rain.
Davis was now laying on the edge of his Mastiff, as he called the red and black racer, urging Jennifer to just give up and take her top off. She didn’t need to be weighted down by it. Her faux laugh filled her mouth with Lake water, which she spit out with squinting eyes.
“Shut up, Dave,” was all she managed to mouth before slipping under water.
Davis turned to Trev, “Did you hear what she said?” He didn’t see her submerge into the triangle of darkness, like a pole searching for the bottom of Lake Hols.
The water rippled outwards where the crown of her head had gone under, breaking symmetry on the side of the Mastiff. One, two, three seconds pass. No sign of her. She’s not coming up. I search the black water to see if I can find her, but cannot.
I glance at the others. There’s more than a dozen people and not one of them seems concerned that Jennifer has just taken the plunge to death. She’s a caught bobber and no one wants to reel her in.
Alcohol does dumb shit to people.
I dive in, momentarily wondering if I should have jumped in feet first rather than swan dive into the water. But I don’t hit her. I open my eyes and am amazed at how bright it is underwater. The boats cast long shadows down a corridor of the lake, but there’s wide expanses receiving bright sunlight now. I can see Jennifer with her eyes closed about ten feet below.
She drifting there like a person caught between a dream and waking. She’s let go of the brick but her hands still hold it near her chest. Something in the water brushes against my eyelids causing them to close momentarily. I fear she’ll be dead when I get her in my arms. Will she drift away when I’m back?
I reach her, grab her underneath her arms and start kicking for the surface. I can see the long angular shadows from the boats spread wider and wider, until I’m panting above the dark expanse of the black triangle.
I have a new project in the queue. I’m excited to be doing something other than simply writing articles. This project takes me deep into formatting. I’ve been looking around online, brushing up on standards and whatnot — only to find there’s really not much in the way of hard and fast rules. The content I found seemed more inclined to deal with formatting for ebook readers than for computer reading.
So I’m going to dig a bit further, roll up my sleeves, and jot down the things I feel make for good techniques when it comes to ebook formatting.
First thing is to use Microsoft Word to its fullest. The first ebook I formatted required several key adjustments to make this edit easier as well as any future edits.
- Use Heading and Title formatting on chapter and subsection titles. This ensures you can create a dynamic ToC when the time comes.
- Make the font large enough to read on a computer screen.
- Use at least 1.5 spacing between lines. Double spacing is a little too much, but single spacing can get tiresome on a computer screen.
- Use headers and footers to accentuate the ebook. Capture a design element from the cover page and include it in the footer. Something graphical preferably.
- Use page numbers, but start them after the ToC. Word can do this through a little trickery.
- Use margins around 3/4 of an inch for the sides, but at least 1″ for the top and bottom.
- The cover page can use color, but the other pages should minimize color. Remember some folks might actually want to print the 100 pages and not use up their entire ink well.
The tips should give you a good start on your ebook formatting. If it passes the visual test, then it probably works. If it’s your ebook, then you might run a test group to see if there’s anyway to improve it.
I’m an aspiring writer. My DD comes in the form of reading profusely, especially as of late. My mind has somehow formed a knot of understanding between a head full of literature and a heart full of prose. The result will someday be a novel, at which point I can call myself a writer, no longer aspiring.
As I read through several books, I began to find pleasure in the hunt for the next spine to touch my hands. It’s seductive in a way. Although, going to Amazon and drifting from review to review, reading loose tongued neophytes spout off about their viewpoints, can grow tiresome. Occasionally one such review on Goodreads will inform my opinion, but mostly they’re just opinions and not fact.
I do find myself leaning towards books of a more literary vein, although I did just finish Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It was an easy read, but not a book I was particularly turned on by. It’s spine was slippery and maybe not the cupped correctly in my hands. So, anyways, I find new books through blogs focusing on reviews, newspaper articles, and magazines like the New Yorker or Atlantic. The Lit Supp is also a good place. Although, being just short of introverted I never heard anyone speak it’s name.
The NYBooks.com site has a poem printed each day this month — all of which originally appeared in their volumes. I’m hoping they take their subscriptions to the Kindle, like their publishing kin The Times. I just signed up for the Lit Supp, reading my first copy now. I hope to divine from its text some answer to the question of — what should I read next.
Che and I decided to make the most of an otherwise boring Thursday night. We traveled to campus and walked through the Krannert Art Musuem. I’d been through before, but she hadn’t. On our honeymoon in Phoenix, we visited our first art museum together, but hadn’t been to the one in our hometown.
They’re currently running a Andy Warhol Project Exhibition, with something like 128 polaroids and photos. We must have walked right by it. Seriously. We didn’t see it. We saw the Egyptian, Mediterranean, and Japanese relics, along with the many, many fantastic Renaissance paintings. We’re hoping to make another trip next Thursday — this time with a little more information.
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