10 August 2014

Updates from the void.

I’ve been busy formatting the Encyclopaedia Elyden, dividing it up into 4 volumes and editing each to conform to a tone/layout I’ve been working on. I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time figuring out fonts/typefaces I want to use and have been struggling with page breaks for numbering the pages differently (the preface and introduction pages of each volume will be in roman numerals, with the content pages in normal Arabic numerals). It took me a while to get figured out, but I’m, glad I managed as it makes the pages look better.   

I’ve also tracked down a simple java programme to turn the pages into signatures for printing and later hand binding (I’ll be doing that myself, also). For the uninitiated, a hardback book is made up a several smaller booklets, each of which consists of a stack of anything from 4 – 16 pages folded once into a small booklet or signature. Of course when printing such pages on a conventional printer you need to make sure that pages align correctly page 2 is not followed by page 3 when making signatures (the below image might make this clearer)

book signature

It’s next to impossible to copy/paste pages to follow that strange numbering order without losing formatting (like column justification) in the process. Luckily I was able to find a programme that takes a complete pdf document and sorts it out into signatures in a new pdf that’s ready for duplex (2-sided printing). Each sheet will be A4: that’s A5 book size after folding the signatures, which corresponds with the feel I’m aiming for. I might change my mind at a later date, though even if I do I doubt I’ll use anything larger than A4, and probably a customer size that’s a bit shorter than full A4 and perhaps a bit narrower.

Of course I won’t be doing any of this quite yet as none of the 4 volumes are anywhere near close to completion. The closest is the 1st volume, which is the encyclopaedia itself – lots of short entries I 2-column format, similar to classical encyclopedias we all know. Here’s a taster of the first 2 arabic-numbered pages.


The tome currently clocks in at over 400 individual pages though once complete it’s likely to at least increase by half (many entries are little more than place-holders for now) and I’m constantly adding to it. If it becomes too unwieldy for my DIY bookbinding I’ll just divide it into 2 volumes (A-M, N-Z or thereabouts)

The volumes themselves will be divided thusly:

Volume I: glossary of core terms
Volume II: articles detailing geography, taxonomy, regional histories and information etc.
Volume III: Mythologia Elyden, detailing the main nations' 'bible, other religions, myths, Demiurge histories, genealogies of their descendants etc. 
Volume IV: Atlas Elyden including various political and cultural maps

and volume IV is what's giving me trouble. My prototype maps so far have been made at A4 size, assuming that each leaf is to be A4, implying that each signature is A3. I'd like volume IV to be the same size as the other books so as to have them look nicer as a set, though that would mean having to make the maps smaller. I'm thinking of making each map a 2-page spread, effectively keeping each map as an A4 page, though in landscape format with the page crease down the middle, rather than a full portrait-format page. Hopefully that will get me the detail I wish to include. At worst I'll just need to add other pages with more detailed, larger-scaled 'inset' maps - which is no bad thing! 

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