And a word from KD...

Interviews with Contest judges, past winners, current winners, and entrants
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ThomasKCarpenter
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And a word from KD...

Postby ThomasKCarpenter » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:18 pm

Well, more than one word, but who's counting. From KD on the SFF.net forums:

"I'm plugging away on reading entries [from Q3]. One thought comes to mind this quarter:
Please be sure you turn off Track Changes, Comments, and that function (whatever it's called) that numbers each sentence. Also, make sure you don't center your text.

I guess that's more than one thing!"
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby MJNL » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:30 pm

And that's why I'm a fan of entering via hard-copy: no unexpected formatting issues. wotf008
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby soulmirror » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:43 am

MJNL wrote:And that's why I'm a fan of entering via hard-copy: no unexpected formatting issues. wotf008


QFT !
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby E.CaimanSands » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:06 am

ThomasKCarpenter wrote:Well, more than one word, but who's counting. From KD on the SFF.net forums:

"I'm plugging away on reading entries [from Q3]. One thought comes to mind this quarter:
Please be sure you turn off Track Changes, Comments, and that function (whatever it's called) that numbers each sentence. Also, make sure you don't center your text.

I guess that's more than one thing!"


Hmm, I don't even know what she means... wotf005

I was briefly a member of a critique group that used all kinds of fancy MS Word thingys to add in-line comments in red balloons into their texts. Despite one member trying to explain it to me, I never did figure that out either. wotf017
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby s_c_baker » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:04 am

Track changes is really useful when you're critiquing someone's work, but I'm not quite sure how it could be useful when revising your own... wotf021

Why not just save a new version, instead, and make the changes there?
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:08 am

s_c_baker wrote:Track changes is really useful when you're critiquing someone's work, but I'm not quite sure how it could be useful when revising your own... wotf021


Some people don't change their settings very often in Word. Once they set 'em, they leave 'em.
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby s_c_baker » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:34 am

Maybe this has to do with that "don't rewrite" thing again. I like to tinker with my prose, so if I accidentally had track changes on... it'd be pretty obvious from all the underlined red stuff everywhere. wotf007
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby Jess » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:46 am

What's Word?

Seriously, though, I use OpenOffice. I have yet to run across anything Word does that it doesn't, and it's free. I haven't found much need to turn on any of those comment/change settings yet, though. I suppose it's more useful if you're bouncing the file off a critique group, something which I'm currently lacking.

Formatting's another story altogether, though. I work single-spaced with tiny margins, in order to have as much on-screen as possible, so I have to reformat after I finish, or whenever I get to the point that I want to print out a hardcopy. At some point during my process, I usually end up having one printed anyway, so any odd formatting issues would become pretty obvious there.
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby s_c_baker » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:41 am

Hooray for OpenOffice! wotf010
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:53 am

Please... There are a million places on the Internet where people tell me how much cooler their software is than mine... Can this forum please be one place where we discuss writing instead of engaging in tool wars?
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WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!
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REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT! REPEAT!
Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience. Patience.
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby s_c_baker » Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:56 am

Three sentences about non MS-Word software is hardly a war. Barely even a salvo! wotf004

edit: Okay, four sentences if you count "What's Word?"
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby AMcCarter » Tue Aug 16, 2011 11:38 am

I'm an Open Office person myself, but I use Open Office and Word both and I don't know how to track changes or add comments in either and I never really bothered to learn. I'm glad I didn't. My biggest concern is I'm always scared my name has ended up on the manuscript somehow. It's not paranoia if it's true, right? wotf005
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby Jess » Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:22 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Please... There are a million places on the Internet where people tell me how much cooler their software is than mine... Can this forum please be one place where we discuss writing instead of engaging in tool wars?

I didn't intend it as aggressive or anything. The "What's Word?" was supposed to be a bit of playful needling. I actually started using OpenOffice initially because I couldn't find my Word install disc after getting a new computer. That was six or seven years ago, and I still don't know where it is. (I haven't exactly bothered looking, though.)
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby WriteToLive » Tue Aug 16, 2011 7:49 pm

s_c_baker wrote:Track changes is really useful when you're critiquing someone's work, but I'm not quite sure how it could be useful when revising your own... wotf021

Why not just save a new version, instead, and make the changes there?


wotf052

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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby Django Mathijsen » Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:47 pm

AMcCarter wrote:I'm an Open Office person myself, but I use Open Office and Word both


Have you noticed different word counts in Open Office and Word?

Last year, a contestant in the Dutch SF writing contest "Fantastels" (maximum number of words 12.000) asked if his story was okay if Word said it was 11.999 words.

So we ran a few documents through different word processors. And Open Office typically showed a 4% higher word count than Word. After some further experimentation, we found that Open Office made a weird mistake: it counted quotation marks as extra words.
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby s_c_baker » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:00 pm

Django Mathijsen wrote:
AMcCarter wrote:I'm an Open Office person myself, but I use Open Office and Word both


Have you noticed different word counts in Open Office and Word?

Last year, a contestant in the Dutch SF writing contest "Fantastels" (maximum number of words 12.000) asked if his story was okay if Word said it was 11.999 words.

So we ran a few documents through different word processors. And Open Office typically showed a 4% higher word count than Word. After some further experimentation, we found that Open Office made a weird mistake: it counted quotation marks as extra words.


I've had this problem as well. One of them also counts words separated by an em-dash as a single word, but I can't remember whether it was Word or OO.
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby Jess » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:53 pm

As far as word counts go, I'd hazard a guess that 4% isn't going to make or break a story. If it's good enough to win a contest/get published/change the world, it'll manage just as well at 11538 or 12000. I doubt most publishers nitpick quite that much about word counts. (As a caveat, please don't come hunting me down in a blind rage if you run across the exception.)
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Aug 18, 2011 6:52 am

Jess wrote:As far as word counts go, I'd hazard a guess that 4% isn't going to make or break a story. If it's good enough to win a contest/get published/change the world, it'll manage just as well at 11538 or 12000. I doubt most publishers nitpick quite that much about word counts. (As a caveat, please don't come hunting me down in a blind rage if you run across the exception.)

If your story is 9900 words in OpenOffice but Word reports it at 10296, and the market has a 10000-word limit, your story will get rejected before they even look at it. I had one story returned because it was over the count, although they were nice enough to tell me this was the reason and invite me to trim and resubmit. Many places will not bother. Firm usually means firm. :)
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.

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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby Jess » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:06 am

s_c_baker wrote:
Jess wrote:As far as word counts go, I'd hazard a guess that 4% isn't going to make or break a story. If it's good enough to win a contest/get published/change the world, it'll manage just as well at 11538 or 12000. I doubt most publishers nitpick quite that much about word counts. (As a caveat, please don't come hunting me down in a blind rage if you run across the exception.)

If your story is 9900 words in OpenOffice but Word reports it at 10296, and the market has a 10000-word limit, your story will get rejected before they even look at it. I had one story returned because it was over the count, although they were nice enough to tell me this was the reason and invite me to trim and resubmit. Many places will not bother. Firm usually means firm. :)

Different places track count differently, though. For instance, I know I've seen on here that they go with "pages x250," which doesn't usually come as close as 4%. (Interestingly, however, they said above that Word typically reports the lower count, so I don't imagine you have anything to worry about as far as "going over" with OOo. The concern would be coming up short instead, I suppose.)

Also, sometimes you see "firm" and sometimes not. I imagine some places are strict and others not as much. Everyplace I've seen discussion on "how to determine word count," you round it anyway. 10040 is 10k. So is 9960.

*shrug* I admit I'm probably not the guy to ask, and maybe I spoke out of turn. I don't really worry about length too much. I write the story, and however long it is once I'm happy with it is how long it is. If it doesn't fit neatly into a certain box, well, there are other boxes.
Last edited by Jess on Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: And a word from KD...

Postby s_c_baker » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:14 am

True enough!

I don't think you need to worry about speaking out of turn on a forum like this--I was just offering up a counter-example. :)
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.


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