Good afternoon, Cyberspace!
I apologize once AGAIN for not posting on time this week. I’ve had a lot going on that was–dare I say it–more important than getting this Smudge out on time.
Anyway! I’m sure the majority of you know by now that I am currently slogging away at my current WIP, everlost, in order to get the first draft finished before Camp NaNoWriMo, which starts on April first. This, of course, means that my days are spent in continuous use of my personal favorite word program, Scrivener, as I
burn my eyeballs out until they turn into a volcanic sludge and leak down my face like tears of fire write the remaining chapters of my book.
Naturally, using a word processor for so long–even one as flawless and beautiful as Scrivener–will eventually cause most writers to either A) groan in annoyance as they flop to the floor like a suffocating fish, or B) make our eyes twitch uncontrollably whilst slamming our numb fingers into the DELETE button.
Sometimes both. Simultaneously.
Because, no matter how hard companies try to tell us otherwise, Word Processers do not understand the average writer. At all.
They don’t know what I go through.
They don’t know my life.
They don’t know the pain and agony of trying to write a book.
They don’t understand that there are some stylistic techniques that I use that are quite possibly unorthodox, so will you PLEASE JUST LEAVE THAT B LOWERCASE, PLEASE, THANK YOU.
Odds are, if you write, you have already encountered the mass quantity of problems that come with a word processor.
In fact, if you use WordPress, perhaps you have already noticed how they
completely butchered revamped the word processor that we are forced to use.
Isn’t it wonderful? I just love how all the things that used to be on the LEFT side of the screen, are now on the RIGHT side. It makes everything so much easier now.
Anyway, let’s get on with the Smudge, shall we?
Five Things That Word Processors Just Do NOT Understand About Writers (or human beings in general)
Number One– The Screen Scroller
For some reason, word processors have it imprinted in their tiny little mechanical brains that writers just LOVE being forced to stare at the bottom of the screen while writing. I mean, who doesn’t love craning their neck down to squint at the VERY BOTTOM line as they type?
Not me! That’s for sure!
Fortunately for me, Scrivener does have a typewriter-scroll feature, which allows the screen to move downward with the text, keeping everything nice and neat in the middle of the screen; however, I always manage to magically turn it off with the sheer willpower of my brain fronds and am forced to spend the next five minutes going through a bunch of combinations of keyboard shortcuts, such as CTRL+SHIFT+G+T, or CTRL+G+T, or CTRL+SHIFT+T+G, or CTRL+T+G.
And I never remember which one it is. But I do end up with a bunch of new untitled documents before I’m done, so that’s a plus.
Number Two– The “Oh! Let me capitalize that for you!!!! :P”
And yes. It makes that face.
Let me ask you a question. Have you ever had to write a paper, or perhaps a title page, and at the very top you give it a wonderfully scripted title, such as–
THE SOAP THAT NEARLY BLINDED ME
–and beneath it you put–
by the infamous Kenzie
Now wait just a moment… Do you see it? That tiny little ‘b’ in the ‘by’? Do you see how nice it looks as a lowercase ‘b’?
No one (meaning me) would ever capitalize that ‘b’. That ‘b’ is supposed to be small. It is supposed to be insignificant. It is supposed to be a transition into the main entertainment that is my name. It is the appetizer to the main course. The Ying to my Yang.
It is supposed to be INADEQUATE.
Yet whenever I go to add that annoying little ‘b’ in Scrivener, it always seems to think, “Oh! The dense and possibly mentally handicapped human has forgotten to capitalize the first letter on the line again! I shall help the poor decrepit human, so that they will not feel bad about their awful grammatical abilities!”
And then–before you even realize what is about to happen–just as your thumb makes contact with the space bar, the gigantic, capitalized ‘B’ springs up into existence like the American flag waving over the golden fields of grain. And no matter how many times you delete and try again, you will never get that ‘B’ lowercase. Ever.
Unless you do some funky mumbo-jumbo, like write ‘By the infamous Kenzie’, move your cursor back to the ‘B’, delete and make it lowercase, murder a small sow, shave your head bald and toss your golden tresses to the wind, refrain from pressing the space bar, perform a blood sacrifice, and click back into one of the other words.
Simplicity at its finest.
Number Three– The Judgmental Squiggly Squig
Any writer who has ever come up with a name for a character in the history of ever has had this problem.
And don’t even get me started on writing fantasy. Just…don’t.
In my current WIP, I have two characters who every single time I write their names get the Judgmental Squiggly Squig. Every. Time. One of them is Thao, and I know that this is a real name, because I plucked it straight from the baby name patch at Nameberry.com.
But no. Thao, apparently, does not exist. And every time I go to type his name on my Kindle, it changes his name to Thai.
So apparently my story features a scientist named Thai Crowe, which, by the way, also gets the squiggly squig. Thao is having a very serious existential crisis right now. He’s wondering if he even exists. He’s wondering if his name is a lie.
He’s wondering if maybe it’s just the Judgmental Squiggly Squig trying to make him feel like a nobody.
Basically, that annoying little red line is laughing at me, judging me. It thinks I’m a loser. It’s saying, “Hey, I know you really like this name, but I’m going to make it look like your manuscript is so severely pocked with red lines that you’re never going to want to read it ever again! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
Number Four– The Non-Existent Squiggly Squig
Ever get so far into a draft that the Squiggly Squig decides that it no longer wants to Squiggle? This is the moment when you realize an infallible truth: the Squiggly Squig is both a blessing and a curse.
For those of us who have
absolutely perfect typing, and therefore MAKE NO MISTAKES, PEASANTS decent typing skills, the Squiggly Squig is mostly a curse. The only times it ever appears is when we’re trying to say something in Elvish and ending up spewing random things like “Horffle Flaggle Florffle” on the page.
(Although that sounds more like a suffocating hamster, but we shall excuse that minor technicality for now.)
However, once you hit that point in your manuscript where the Squiggly Squig labels you as a lost cause and completely disappears…well… Now, you’re in for a treat.
Because now every time you write ‘and’ as ‘adn’, you’ll be completely oblivious. You also won’t realize that you’ve written ‘that’ as ‘taht’, or ‘its’ as ‘ist’, or ‘popping’ as–
Actually, even the Squiggly Squig cannot help you in that situation. I’m sorry. You’re on your own there, friend.
Or basically just any error that even remotely resembles a word in the English language will be glossed over in your determination to vomit the words onto the page.
The Squiggly Squig, you see, is similar to Nanny McPhee. When you do not want it, you will have it. Yet when you want it, then it is time for the Squiggly Squig to go away.
Number Five– The “That’s not a word!! Horf horf horf :P”
Very similar to the Judgmental Squiggly Squig, this happens to be one of its distant cousins on its father’s side.
The Squiggly Squig that squigs beneath REAL WORDS.
And for those of you who are scratching your heads and wondering what in the world I’m talking about, here is proof that I just recently encountered in my own manuscript.
And so, naturally, I wanted to see what the Great and Mighty Scrivener preferred I change it to. The answer, I’m pleased to say, did not disappoint.
Ah, yes. Scrivener has finally pr oven that proven is not a word. How silly of me. I shall refrain from making such an obvious mistake in the future.
Learn from my mistakes, my friends. Learn from my mistakes.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for today! What kinds of things annoy you about word processers? Do they always give you the Judgmental Squiggly Squig? Do you find yourself hacking off your left arm to keep the ‘b’ lowercase? Tell me all your writing woes down in the comments below!!!
Also, I am extremely sorry for yet another late post, but hey! At least there’s always a post each week, right??? Right???
Next week’s post might be a little late again, because I’m still preparing for the countdown thing-a-ma-jig (which I’m still not sure if it’s going to even work out…); HOWEVER, I am going to do my best to get a post to you on Tuesday, even if it’s small.
*throws cookies in the air*