Saturday, February 24, 2007

Troubled Waters update

I got a fair amount of editing done on TW this morning--once I worked my way through the formatting problems. I have a love-hate relationship with Microsoft Word. I love the familiarity; I've used it since 1999 and I understand how it works most of the time. However, I hate the new 07 layout and I really hate the way it will--without explanation or warning in the middle of a long document--change the formatting. For instance, during first drafts, I don't bother with indenting and, instead, put extra spaces between paragraphs. I'm not entirely sure why this works for me, but it makes organizing the story easier in my head. I'm almost superstitious about it. During the second draft, when I'm cleaning up the copy and I need to be reading closely anyway, I remove the additional spaces and indent the paragraphs as I come to them--as per standard manuscript format. Apparently the new Microsoft Word is "intelligent" and determines from the way you write the first part of the document how you want the second part to look as well. So when I began indenting paragraphs--it argued me and kept offering me other options.

For instance:

"Look! This is what it looks like when you indent the entire paragraph! Isn't that what you wanted?"

"No," I replied. "I wanted this section to look exactly like the last one."'

"Nooo . . . You don't . . ."

I brought out the ruler, move around the indent settings, and showed it exactly what I wanted, and every so often, I'd have to back and argue with it again.

"This is what you wanted the last time!"

"Put it back!"

"Oh come on! You know you like it when I take control."

"That's it! I'm going back to Open Office!"

"Oh come on. You don't mean that!"

"Exiting now."

"Oh you mean like this . . ."

Headaches not withstanding, I like the fact that it's paid for (not even a borrowed copy this time!) and that when bosses and other people start asking for the new document type (docx), I'll have it ready to use.

TW is moving swiftly enough. This the first time chapter breaks have made sense to me. Sometimes I've wished that I didn't have to fool with chapters, just asteriks to mark section /scene changes. Switching between POVs makes it an easy choice and it organizes the story nicely.

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