So if you didn’t know, I’m in the final stages of editing book 2, aka The Mercy of Men, which means going through the proofreading notes from my editor and performing any last tweaks.
Some of these are stylistic, like whether to capitalize the word mohawk (I don’t) or to write out numbers in percentages (I do). Some are things like fixing one last clunky phrase. But a lot of it is formatting.
Lucky for me, this being a sequel, a lot of that has been done for me. I take my old file for What Boys Are Made Of, delete the content, and paste in The Mercy of Men. An hour of fiddling with chapter headings later and voila, a new book is born!
Except for one little detail. One tiny, silly little thing. Nearly inconsequential.
MS Word, in its infinite wisdom, took out all my italics!
I might actually end myself.
I am what we in the writing world call “italics-happy.” I use them for emphasis, I use them to show where something should be stressed, and to denote when something is a text message or a voice recording. Thanks to my editor, I now also use them to denote when a word is being referred to as a word. (“Did you just say landmine?”)
And now they are gone.
And I have to hunt them down.
MS Word is what I like to think of as a “necessary evil,” sort of like Createspace and Amazon, and, if we’re fair to ourselves, the entire free market.
Me: I want to move this picture!
MS Word: I want to fuck up your entire life!
Me: You know, this picture is fine right here.
It took out all my italics because when I pasted the text in, I chose to keep the existing page’s style. Apparently italics are style, not PART OF THE FUNCTION OF THE DOCUMENT YOU STUPID THING.
Ahem. Be nice to the computer, children, or the computer will get revenge.
I’m using a Createspace template, not because I like the template for my novel, but because when I tried to make my own I couldn’t for the life of me get the margins right, even after copy/pasting them exactly from the other. That is why I have one copy of book 1 that is twenty pages longer than all the others. I tried, I failed, and I’m using the template.
But this template hates me and all other free-thinking creatures. The first page is always a bit wonky, and Smashwords complains bitterly it contains tables even when it doesn’t. Of course, Smashwords also complains about the metadata, the table of contents, and the fact that I didn’t eat free-range organic eggs for breakfast. In Smashwords’ ideal world, I would upload my document in plain text through Microsoft Notepad and then people would read my book in Times New Roman, possibly without paragraphs. Ew.
Repeat after me: Times New Roman is not an acceptable font for you novel. Nor is Papyrus. Nor Comic Sans. Nor Courier. Right now, I am actually helping with a theater production in which the entire script is printed in Courier and hasn’t been proofread since 1979. Ten minutes into every rehearsal I’m actually considering re-typing the thing just so I can get some relief from eyestrain.
Of course, knowing my luck, if I did that MS Word would just decide I don’t need the word to or something like that and the whole project would be in vain.
In case you couldn’t guess, formatting drives me up the blinking wall. Nevertheless, this is how books are made.
Right now, I’m contemplating which would be faster: re-copying and pasting every single chapter of my manuscript, one at a time, into the new document, and hand-formatting them just so I can have my italics correct, or hunting down all of my italicized font and fixing it that way.
I had the template! I thought this would be easy, painless! Simplified!
What is that sound in the distance? It is every computer in the world, laughing.
01001000 01100001 01101000 01100001 01101000 01100001 00100001
Who else hates MS word? Raise your hands. I know you’re out there. Tell us, because we do too. (Though I will admit that the Word Twitter account is pretty funny.)
Hey! I haven’t pointed it out in a while, but I have a short story that you can read for free right over here. It’s rather fantastically dark and creepy, but not in a scary way, more in a “oh man oh man!” way. If you’ve been reading my blog, pop over and try it, and maybe even buy a copy to show your support! It’ll make my day.
Oh, okay, have the whole page…
…because this is a call for early readers!
The Mercy of Men is slated for release in late June, and before that happens, I am in need of early readers!
Do you have a blog you like to post book reviews on? Or even one where you will happily make an exception this once? Are you the sort of person who tells everyone on social media what they love? Do you write for a newspaper, or a review site? Just loved What Boys Are Made Of and are willing to make all sorts of outlandish promises in order to get your mitts on the sequel that much earlier?
If this sounds like you, either comment below, contact me on Facebook, send me a message over Twitter, or shoot me an email at shunternisbet [at] gmail.com!
The copies I will be sending out will be ebooks in PDF, Epub, or Mobi format and I will be sending them out at the beginning of June. I send you a book, and when the book comes out (or just before) you leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, someone else’s blog, other social media, a billboard in Times Square, or wherever else you can think of.
And yes, I mean honest.
Please get in contact with me! It’s thanks to my fantastic team of early readers that What Boys Are Made Of has been able to get further reads and reviews. After all, people want to read what other people think is good–early readers make and break books.
Thanks for reading, and chat with you later!
3 thoughts on “MS Word, Thou Art A Jerk and CALL FOR EARLY READERS”
but I use Pages and put my backup on Drive. But when I copy from Drive to Pages ALL THE ITALICS DIE AND SAMMMMMMEEEEEEEE
(also, same with Wattpad and I spent like an entire afternoon getting that done because I published a thing there)
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To avoid heartache and pain I stay away from MS Word as much as possible.
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I gave up on MSWord years ago, back when it was MSWord 95 and it goggled up all my precious graphs from my ME thesis. When I began a PhD, I vowed to find something better, and I did. For my PhD, I used LaTex, however for writing, LaTex is a beast of a program and the outputs are limiting. Now a use Scrivener for my writing, and I don’t look back. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s incredibly powerful and much easier to do massive edits and reshuffles compared to MSWord. Even better, you can output to DOC, ePUB, MOBI, RTF, TXT, PDF and many other formats. To sweeten the whole program, it was designed for novelists and screenwriters, so all features are what a writer might actually want, not what developers think we want. And it’s cheap.