Saturday, November 27, 2010

Am I Normal? Or is it Just Me?

     Thanksgiving is over. Missouri Folklore Society conference is finished. The drawer where the mouse was trying to build a nest is emptied and filled with metal pan lids (try chewing those up, little feller . . . gotcha!).
     Two big important events coming up: Christmas and the surprise in February (NO, I'm still not ready to tell. But I will later.)
     Preparations are underway. Not enough preparations, but at least I've started. Hey! Don't rush me! There may be lots to do but I've still got time. God knows I produce best under deadlines.
     Anyway, I've started shopping and I've got little lists all over the house and I'm working on it. The thing I'm avoiding, though, is (one of ) the deadline that is looming closer and closer and closer.  And that is the current (new) book.
     Junkyard Bones is a kid's mystery and it is basically finished. In fact it has been finished for the past year but I've not had too much time for marketing lately so it set on the shelf (figuratively speaking) through my surgeries, conferences and numerous family crises.
     Now, though, I've got a publisher who is willing to take a risk with it and I'm supposed to be sending it off.
     That was lovely until I began messing around with the finished product.
     I had written the whole ms in WordPerfect, which was the medium I worked in for years and years. Now, I know most editors really prefer Word, so I would convert things when I got ready to send them off and it worked out pretty well, but just about the time I finished writing Junkyard Bones, my old old OLD Word program crashed and I couldn't do anything more with it.
     So . . . I ordered the newest version of Word to be downloaded into the computer.
     And off I went to have the second of the two surgeries, never dreaming that it was to be a whole new ball game when I resumed working on the ms.
     During the past few months I've messed around with the new program by writing some short things and trying to familiarize myself with all of the new stuff. And let me tell you . . . it ain't been easy! (I hate computers.) Anyway, I thought I'd pretty well mastered the basics.
     So a couple of nights ago, I merrily converted Junkyard Bones from my WordPerfect program into my new Microsoft Word and opened it up to have a look.
     At first glance, everything was fine.
     At second glance (or glare) is was not.
     First of all, I had to figure out how to remove the headings, which wasn't too bad. That turned out to be fairly simple and I was feeling really puffed up about myself.
     BUT . . . and this was the BIG BUT . . . the blooming program replaced every blessed quotation mark in there with something else.
     Now, I can use Search and Replace. That's fairly straightforward. But in this case, the quotation mark at the beginning of the sentence is replaced with a bold-faced capital A and the quotation mark at the end of the sentence is replaced with a @ sign. And, since each sentence is of different length there is no way you can put in a string, not to mention that you certainly don't want each capital A in the manuscript replaced with a quotation mark.
     So I am going over the blasted ms word by word and replacing each and every one of those capital bold-faced As and @ signs.
     I'm going to have my own manuscript memorized by the time I get it ready to send it on to the publisher.
     Talk about line editing!

1 comment:

  1. That stinks, Betty. I hate when programs treat you so poorly! Isn't there another way? Like putting the WP output into Notepad, then into the new Word? If you have a Windows computer, you should have the editor program Notepad.

    This will strip out any bolding and italics, but that would mean fewer corrections than every blinking quotation mark!