Sunday, January 27

From Moleskine to Microsoft

I think I've discovered the trickiest part of writing. It's not the character development. It's not smoothing out the plot inconsistencies. It's not even editing and proofreading (though I am a firm believer in the fact that you can only achieve 99% on this -- even professionally edited books from the big six will always have a few small problems).

What is it?

Microsoft.

Your opinion may differ from mine and that's just fine, but I find that the only part of the writing process that leaves me arguing with my computer screen and wanting to just walk away is making programs like Word, Libreoffice, and all the other assorted clones out there (I've tried a few) that have become the namesake of modern word processing do what I ask of them. And I'm not computer illiterate, either. I've been opening up CPUs and rooting around in them since I received my first 100mhz Pentium back in 1995 for $1400. I can build a working system from a pile of parts, and though I am not exceptionally proficient with software, I can follow directions with enough competence to create my own basic programs.

Yet despite that, I find battling with modern word processing to be exceptionally tedious. Even with the exceptional help of Gregory Mahan, it took me three solid days to get the paperback version of The Goldenwealth Light up to the point of proper polish for something you might find on a shelf at your local bookstore. And don't even get me started on translating that back into a workable Kindle version!

Well, things are a bit easier now that I've figured it all out, but at some point I think I'm going to have to write notes just so I can remember what I did. Once upon a time when I was young, I wrote down story ideas in a notebook. I doubt Hemingway would have had much use for filling papers with Word formatting reminders, and though modern convenience is a wonderful thing...I can't help but have a bit of envy for the way he probably did it.

What are your thoughts?

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