(WARNING: NSFW due to language. Unless you’re from Jersey like me, then nothing new here)
Since I’ve owned personal computers, I’ve always used Microsoft Word for my word processing needs. I will admit to downloading Scrivener a few months ago, which with Mac-based Vellum are the sexy writing apps these days, but I found it ridiculously convoluted with features I knew I’d never use. Scrivener at least offers a lengthy tryout period before it requires payment, so I’m glad I got a chance to look at it and decide it wasn’t for me before shelling out money.
So, Word. Three years ago I got an Office 365 subscription, considering it to be a good investment to get the most up-to-date software instead of being stuck with the one that came with the laptop. I’m also a fan of OneDrive, which enables me to write at my soon-to-be-ex-job without having to tote everything between home and work on a thumb drive.
Unfortunately, I’ve learned that the newer versions of Word don’t like the older versions, and they refuse to play nicely together no matter how many cookies I offer them or names I call them.
What has evolved into the Gilded Cage series started out as a couple of pages about six years ago. Back then, I had Word 2003 on my work computer and Word 2007 on my home laptop. At one point in the writing I still had 2003 on my work computer–for a company that claims to be on the cutting edge of technology Ginormocorp really hates updating software–but I’d evolved to Word 2013 at home. When I was ready to launch Merely Players, I was formatting the manuscript so that it could be uploaded into a program to convert it to .epub and .mobi files–and this is when I discovered the little tiff the Word versions had with each other.
WORD 2013: Okay, looking good … wait, who are you?
WORD 2003: Oh, this is a part from way back that fits in well here.
2013: I don’t know you, old man, take your ball and get off my court.
WORD 2007: ‘S cool, man, I know him, we’ve played before.
2013: I told you to get out too. Look at your old asses trying to get in here with Normal formatting. Real players use Heading 1, brah.
2003: Who you callin’ old man, punk?
2003 then proceeds to infiltrate the entire document, making a once lovely and perfectly double-spaced document a mess of separated paragraphs.
PATRICIA: What the fuck? FORMAT RIGHT, DAMMIT!
2003: Teach you to call me old ass, muthafucka!
Eventually I got it straightened out, and Merely Players was published. This past week, it was time to format Another’s Audience. I’d thought I’d vanquished Word 2003, having put all three books on one master document formatted with 2013 a while back. However, my writer’s brain intervened.
WRITER’S BRAIN: Remember that scene you wrote a while ago about (two important characters) and you were kind of meh on it? I think you need to put it in there.
Patricia finds the scene and reads it.
PATRICIA: You know, you’re right.
PATRICIA copies the scene and pastes it into the new document … before remembering that this was written in … oh, no–
2003: FREE AT LAST, MUTHAFUCKAS, FREE AT LAST!!
2003 merrily wreaks the same havoc as it did on Merely Players‘ manuscript.
PATRICIA: GAAAAHHHH GODDAMMIT!! FUCK YOU 2003!!
So in case you were wondering why Another’s Audience didn’t go up on the twenty-first, that’s why. The problem is mostly solved, but I can assure you that I’m already doing preemptive strikes on the third manuscript.
Nobody tells you about shit like this in the indie author self-help books.