Monday, October 17, 2016

The Craft of Writing

When I was much younger...(do you hear the music?)...I dreamed of becoming an Author.  I even took English Lit 101 in hopes of honing my writing skills.  But my stories were stilted, my characters lacklustre.  Instead I turned to writing long rambling letters, first by hand, then on my old Bison 8086 computer, using Wordstar as my word processor.

I found changing from writing longhand to composing on a keyboard a real brain twister.  Composing on a keyboard seemed to draw on a different part of my brain and writing these long rambling letters helped hone the process of getting from thought to words on the paper.

As I became more adept at composing on the computer keyboard I started writing more articles that I would then submit for publication in various magazines.  Much to my amazement, some were accepted.

In 1994 I got access to the internet via a Freenet portal.  I immediately joined a Usenet group for textiles and started writing long detailed responses to questions, particularly about wet finishing, partly because it was obvious to me that the lack of knowledge about how and why wet finishing needs to be done was...vast.

Out of the back and forth discussions, first on Usenet, then weaving on, then Yahoo groups, the idea of doing an actual book grew.  Not just an article here and there, but a real book.  One with covers, table of contents and index.  And samples.  Lots and lots of samples.  Because the purpose of wet finishing is best seen and felt.

It was a very expensive proposition.  In the end 900 copies were made, plus 100 with limited samples as they began to run out.

This month the very last copy of Magic found a new home.  I had been hanging onto it because it was 'missing' one sample.  But with the renovations at the house, trying to downsize stash and reduce expenses, reduce clutter, I was faced with the reality that this last, lonely copy needed to go live elsewhere.  And so it found a home with someone who has been greatly supportive of my writing - gradually taking over more and more of the alpha editing tasks required for someone trying to write technical articles and, yes, books.

So now Magic in the Water is truly Out of Print - in a hard copy presentation.  It is, however, still available as a digital file with photos of all the samples, both before and after wet finishing, included in the file.  It can be purchased through Weavolution

Purchasers need to 'join' the site but it's free to do so.  Then go to the Magic in the Water group and follow the directions.

I am now down to the nitty gritty of my next publication.  The bulk of the text has been written, a group of beta readers have provided valuable feedback and I am now trying to consolidate the suggestions, including re-writing several opaque passages.  I am also recruiting people to work through some of the weave structure information and design/weave projects based on the included weave structures.  No, I'm not doing all the weave structures; mostly I'm concentrating on those included in the Olds College master weaving program.

A technical book such as the one I am trying to provide does not happen overnight, or easily.  Technical writing means writing with the greatest degree of clarity possible in order for the majority of people to understand the principles and theories.  If I were to do all the projects myself this book would take not two years but more like double that.  I am grateful so many have stepped up to offer their help and support.  I am all too aware that this book will not satisfy all.  But as has been famously said, (and I paraphrase) You can satisfy some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.

Anyone interested in contributing a project should email me laura at laurafry dot com


hethuk said...

Hi I would love to by a digital copy of your book. I have joined weavolution and tried to search per your instructions but no results show up. Is it possible to post a link please? Thanks.

Laura Fry said...

This should get you to the correct place. :)

hethuk said...

Thanks Laura but despite logging in I get access denied. Do you have to be a member of the group or is it set to private? I tried searching again with the hyphen as per your link but no joy.

hethuk said...

Hi Laura finally found a link by doing a google search In case anyone else is interested.