This experience somewhat tickled me, because even though the exercise they took us through in this particular session was such a basic and fundamental one in the process, that when I applied it to the visual dummy I had already made for book three, it revealed an opportunity I missed to create a little suspense through the use of a spread.
To re-cap from a previous blog post, I created the “roadmap” for this book very differently from how I created the ones for books one and two. I used the storyboarding approach by making rough thumbnail sketches to match the part of the text I chose to segment out for each page, thus more effectively testing the pacing of the story. I had thought back then, well now the hard work is done; I’ve thought of visuals for every single page, and so now all I have to do is draw!
Once the speakers guided us through the making of an actual physical dummy, we then began writing sentences from our manuscript onto each page. I realized that as early as page two, I had missed a chance to spread an event across two pages instead of crowding it onto one!
As you might have guessed, this had quite a ripple effect. First, with the addition of this new page it threw off all my planned-for page turns that followed. What appeared before on a left-side page (non-page-turning page) now was bumped to a right-side page (page-turning page). It also created problems like potentially crowding the following page by cramming the info that got displaced by the new page-turning page onto that successive page in order to avoid adding an additional FOUR pages. Why four? In the printing process, printing is done four pages at a time in what is called a signature. Therefore, it wouldn’t be possible to add a single page to get the left-side and right-side pages properly re-positioned.
At this point, I had to play out the ripple effect, and proceeded to evaluate how the new page-turning page flowed into the next page and the next. This was instructive in determining if a natural condensation of information (both text and visual) would reveal itself, if information in two pages could be condensed, or even omitted. It also made me more discriminating about the page turns I had already incorporated: was it truly "page-turn-worthy," or, could I get rid of the page without disrupting the sequential flow of the story?
It’s been a painful process and is still frankly in progress. However, I keep in the forefront of my mind that I wouldn’t want to go to all this trouble to produce this book, and forever look at the obvious suspense or page-turn opportunities that I didn’t include. Or worse, didn’t execute well.