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WRITING SOFTWARE NECESSARY? : FAQs • Page 6 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

WRITING SOFTWARE NECESSARY?

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
TerryRodgers
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Re: WRITING SOFTWARE NECESSARY?

Postby TerryRodgers » Fri May 02, 2014 8:18 pm

Whenever I hear someone say something bad about Word, I have to assume it's the user. I apologize for the brashness, but I have never ever (to infinity) had a problem with Word. The program does anything and everything I want it to. I've used it since the DOS days up to Word 2013, which I have now. My documents are perfectly formatted. I have read other writers work, both published and unpublished, and almost every time, the manuscript is not formatted properly. I believe most people's problems with the program are that they do not know about the show/hide feature. When you copy text from anywhere else and paste it into Word you have to look at the hidden characters. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the problem people are having is that there are hidden characters causing their problems. For example, tab versus indent, or a soft return versus a hard return. I can almost guarantee that if you are having problems, and you turn on the hidden characters, you will find the issue. Never ever had problems. :D

Like James, I work with a ton of literary agents and many editors. I've never heard a single one say they use anything but Word. Word is the standard, like it or not.

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pls
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Re: WRITING SOFTWARE NECESSARY?

Postby pls » Sat May 03, 2014 9:16 am

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James A. Ritchie
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Re: WRITING SOFTWARE NECESSARY?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sat May 03, 2014 11:17 am

Pretty much as Terry says, the one real problem with Word, and with MS Office as a whole, is that users don't take the time to learn how it works. MS Office is a business tool, and publishing is a very large business. This means MS Office must work well, must be able to any job you hand it, but it also means you need to take the time to learn how this tool works. It's not a typewriter, and it's not a sheet of paper.

I've always thought it odd that so many writers will take the time to learn how to use "writing software" that has a much steeper learning curve than Word/Office, but don't take the time to learn how to use Word/Office pretty much at all. If there's anything Word/Office can't do, I haven't found it, though I will admit that adding OneNote to Office increases what it can do.

I'll also admit that when composing on the computer, I prefer Q10. Part of this is because it really is distraction free, but part of it is also no doubt nostalgia. When it's time to get serious and submit, however, I don't want anything except Word. If you learn how to use Word properly, it can be an enormous time saver.

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mammamaia
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Re: WRITING SOFTWARE NECESSARY?

Postby mammamaia » Sat May 03, 2014 12:29 pm

ditto the positive dittos on ms word...
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bookworm99
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Re: WRITING SOFTWARE NECESSARY?

Postby bookworm99 » Mon May 05, 2014 2:32 pm

You don't need writing software. Everything can be done with MS Word.

I got stuck a few time with some issues re formatting, headers, page numbering, etc... but they have a good help section and Google knows the answer to all your problems.... or youtube.

cynfranks
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Re: WRITING SOFTWARE NECESSARY?

Postby cynfranks » Tue May 06, 2014 10:06 pm

I love Word. I used it from version 1.2 until about 2004 on both a mac and PC. I had to use it for work when I was at AMNH. One day they come in and update MS Office. I think this was 2007. I had to look-up in the help feature how to save a file to a specific folder because they changed Word so much. And some of my keyboard commands did different stuff! It was the last straw for me.

Add to that on my Mac I've always been able to create .pdfs, but on the PC you had to purchase a separate program. My problem is not with Word. I miss it. It's like an old friend. My issues are with Microsoft. I refuse to support their business model anymore.

I've used pages for 10 years and have yet to read one help file. No one knows I use Pages. If they want a Word file, Pages can do that. It's like Word without being improved every two years. Don't get me wrong, Pages is updated, but fundamentally, it works the same. The same commands are in the same menus. No relearning mid-project.

I'm with Terry about the invisibles. It would make me nuts that otherwise smart people seemed to actively try to not understand this. Being a former typesetter who used to type line code for all formatting, I don't understand how people don't get invisibles. I can't tell you how many times I've received urgent late night phone calls from fellow writers in tears because there were strange symbols all over their treatment or play. Or they think their whole project disappeared, but really they inserted a section break.

My choice is Pages for fiction and Screenwriter for scripts. The truth is, I know how to use them all because you just never know what you'll be asked to write and you never want to say no if it means a paycheck.
Ask yourself, "What would Dickens do?"



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