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12 to Midnight, Family and Friends, Movies and TV

Layout Mode

03.10.05 | Comment?

I always become a hermit when I’m in Layout Mode. What’s that? Layout Mode happens after the manuscript has gone through multiple rounds of edits and gets the stamp of approval. It’s when I take the document and start making it look pretty on the page. With the exception of Bloodlines, when we hired the talented artist Obsidan, Layout Mode is also the period I create the artwork you see in the finished product.

Last Rites took roughly a month to lay out. It was an unholy nightmare because of all the “boxed text. It was my first RPG layout, and I was learning as I went along. By comparison, Weekend Warriors only took me two weeks. I can’t remember how long Bloodlines took, but considering the page count (120 pages), I imagine it took a while. This time I started actually keeping a log as I work on Green’s Guide to Ghosts. Since I can only do layout in the evenings or weekends after my day job, counting layout time in terms of days or weeks is misleading. So far I’m up to more than 20 hours of art/layout work on the Guide and that doesn’t include the cover, which I created before I started keeping the log.

Twenty hours of nights and weekends. It doesn’t sound like that much, but it sure feels like it. When I’m in Layout Mode, everything else gets pushed to the side. No reading. Little or no TV. Basically, all work and no play. The family has a way of breaking through, of course. I still have a toddler to care for and a wife to pamper. That explains my weekend adventure and the movie I watched last night.

I bartered weekend time with Kim by taking Ben to the largest livestock show and rodeo in the world on Saturday while she studied for a test at home. I’ve been to the San Antonio Livestock Show (which I’m guessing must be the second biggest), but this was my first exposure to the Houston one. It was a lot of fun. The park & ride shuttle made transporation easy. The exhibits were neat. If Ben were about three years older it would have been a really awesome experience for him. As it was, he had fun in the petting zoo and elsewhere. On the downside, carrying him around (30+ pounds) half a day got pretty tiring and everything was super expensive. ($8.50 for three tamales and a coke?!?). In addition to just being a fun time with my son, it also bought me seven hours of uninterrupted layout time on Sunday. Pretty much a win-win deal in my book.

Kim and I also watched Troy over the course of three nights. Yes, it was exactly that riviting. All it had going for it was eyecandy for women, which means it had absolutely nothing going for it as far as I’m concerned. Really, the acting was a joke. Even the fight sequences were so choreographed as to be wooden. It certainly had little redeaming value from a historical/literary perspective. Thank goodness it was a Netflix movie. At least I don’t feel like I actually wasted money on it. We still have The Village and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Until I’m finished with Layout Mode, they’ll probably gather dust on the entertainment center.

The layout, incidentally, is going really well. This is going to be one good-looking RPG. Not that my other layouts aren’t also good looking; this one is just better. I’ve got a handful of photos left to create, then the main layout will be done. After that it’s just a matter of fine tuning. If I weren’t gaming this weekend, I’d probably be finishing it up on Sunday. Okay, that’s probably a lie. I have something cool in mind for the Lexicon section, but I suspect it is going to be time consuming. Thankfully, it shouldn’t be labor intensive the way the Equipment section was, just time consuming. Next Monday I’ll be posting the intro page from the Guide on our site, so you’ll have a better idea of what I’m talking about.

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