Friday, November 1, 2013

The Formatting Wars





In theory at least, what you see on your computer screen should be what prints out on paper. NOT. There are all kinds of gremlins in that Word program to make your prose skedaddle to another line or make your double-spaced manuscript show up with monster-sized breaks.

When I wrote The Moses Conspiracy and The Scent of Fear, it was before I had some important lessons on the art of formatting a manuscript. Moses gave everyone a headache, but Fear - sigh - was pronounced beyond help. I had to properly format a new document and re-type the ENTIRE manuscript.

The strange/wonderful thing about this adventure is how God used it to make the book better than it was before. During an earlier edit, I'd prayed that I wouldn't miss problem areas. As the re-typing progressed, I discovered little things here and there that I needed/wanted to change.

While I wouldn't recommend re-typing a manuscript as an editing tool, it worked to my benefit this time around. You can be sure I heeded my formatting  lessons when I wrote my Christmas novella, The Christmas Wish.

Writers: Have you had any disasters that ended up working out for your good?

Readers: Do you get frustrated with computer programs, and how do you get answers?

Photo Credit: miljan




6 comments:

Karen Lange said...

That certainly was an adventure, wasn't it? So glad it is but a memory. :) I'm always learning something about Word, and I really should take some time to investigate its features more.

Happy weekend!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Computer problems make me cranky, but I'm lucky to have a husband who seems to know how to fix almost anything.

So great that there was a silver lining to your formatting disaster!

quietspirit said...

I recently wanted to scan some pages into my computer and put together something as a help to people in ou Christmas play. BUT NO, the printer went on the fritz. I had to enter the information by hand. I kept thinking I needed to get it to someone who would help me get it as we needed it. But I couldn't. Yesterday, I found out why; one of the parts I needed to had to transcribe hadn't been input. I had forgotten to check on the scene.

quietspirit said...

I recently wanted to scan some pages into my computer and put together something as a help to people in ou Christmas play. BUT NO, the printer went on the fritz. I had to enter the information by hand. I kept thinking I needed to get it to someone who would help me get it as we needed it. But I couldn't. Yesterday, I found out why; one of the parts I needed to had to transcribe hadn't been input. I had forgotten to check on the scene.

Dorothy Adamek said...

Hi Susan, I know your glitches caused you grief, but your post made me smile. :)

I once printed out the first three chapters of a story to use in an agent pitch, and somehow the page numbers were not there!!

No real drama, but I learned my lesson. Always check page numbers!

Blessings,
Dotti xx

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. take time away and start again ... I see my ipad hasn't been used for 4 weeks! Tomorrow I start again ...

But plenty of programmes I need to learn over the next few weeks .. fun - but once done - it's done!

Good luck .. Hilary