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Styles are an authors' friend

Crumbly Writer

Just cause it hasn't been mentioned in a while, I thought I'd toss up a technical tip. If you're a writer, especially if you ever plan to post your stories to a website or post them in ebooks, you'll want to use Styles.

Any Word Processor uses Styles, though they may call it something else. They're a way of defining how different paragraphs are formatted, document wide. If you format (center, italicize and bold) individual words/sentences, then sometimes your choice will be overuled (especially if you bold or itialicize the first word of a paragraph). This has only happened to me when formatting books, but it was really annoying.

In html, you can either use a single file (CSS) to define your styles, or include it in each file (I use a LINK command). For ePub file creation, it's easiest to use a single file for the entire book and include the style definitions in the beginning.

I generally have a standard set of definitions (h1, h2, Normal, Centered, CenterBold, FirstParagraph (without any indentation), etc.).

I'd include a sample, but the Forum's design doesn't allow the coding necessary to show it. However, you can examine my CSS code here. You don't need the CSS code, but the Style setup and the paragraph types.

Note: SOL does NOT support styles, so it won't help you here.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

CW,

Technically, SOL doesn't support styles. However, I write in Libre Office using styles for headers and special paragraphs etc. They easily convert to html and to e-pubs (via Calibre). For SOL I take the html copy and then use the Find and Replace option of my editor to change the different html style tag into the relevant equivalent of the SOL Text Tags. Thus the H1 becomes {c}{red} and the H2 becomes {c}{blue} and so on. It's a little more work than using the SOL conversion wizard but gives me a result I like the look of.

Perv Otaku

I try to craft stuff in essentially plaintext to make it more portable later. My Word Processor is actually a rather old version of WordPerfect, I think it is from before the days when Styles became a thing. You can certainly set whatever formatting you like but those get set as discreet codes that are easily located, much like ye olde HTML.

I know that MS Word has styles or whatever, I always have to change the paragraph formatting stuff from the default because I don't like their default, and while making global style changes is fairly easy, making a change to one small section of text only can be maddening.

I'm not overly familiar with ebook formats but my understanding is they operate much the same way, setting the styles correctly is important.

Overall I think it's best to learn enough to handle the necessary coding or stick as close to plain test as possible.

Crumbly Writer

@Perv Otaku

I try to craft stuff in essentially plaintext to make it more portable later. My Word Processor is actually a rather old version of WordPerfect, I think it is from before the days when Styles became a thing. You can certainly set whatever formatting you like but those get set as discreet codes that are easily located, much like ye olde HTML.

Perv, you might want to switch to OpenOffice, a Free alternative to MS Office. It has the same functions as word, just arranged differently. There's a learning curve, for sure, but there are plenty of people here who can help, and there are plenty of help files on the internet.

Although, there are plenty of authors who write in plain text, though they typically leave it to others to format their stories for them.

Dominion's Son
Updated:

@Perv Otaku

I am one of the author's who uses Open Office.

Not only is Open Office free, but the Open Office file format (ODF: Open Document Format) is plain text with HTML for formatting.

Also, because the ODF format is plain text with HTML for formatting, the conversion to a straight HTML file is quick, painless, and error free.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Dominion's Son

But wherever anyone has posted an ODF file to ASSTR it's looked like a binary file read as text when I opened it, even with Open Office.

Ernest Bywater

@tppm

But wherever anyone has posted an ODF file to ASSTR it's looked like a binary file read as text when I opened it, even with Open Office.


The ASSTR system is set up to handle only .txt and .html files for display from their site, anything must be downloaded by FTP and opened using some program you have on your system

I write my stories using Libre Office and fork from Open Office that is much better in its operation due to the extra work by the core coders who left Open Office after Oracle started making hard links in the OO software into other Oracle software. I find .odt is smaller and easier to send to people and any but the oldest versions of Word can open it and display it well, if they have the right fonts on their system. LO quickly and easily converts the file to any version of MS Word if I want, also html and PDF are simple to do. I make files for SOL by converting from ODT to HTML as a Save as function in LO then use Bluefish to remove any excess code and convert the html code to the SOL Tagged Text code. Thus I get a perfect display on SOL and feel it's work the small amount of time it takes.

Dominions Son

@tppm

But wherever anyone has posted an ODF file to ASSTR it's looked like a binary file read as text


I did miss a point. It's plain text, but it is also compressed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Dominions Son

But wherever anyone has posted an ODF file to ASSTR it's looked like a binary file read as text

I did miss a point. It's plain text, but it is also compressed.


That would probably explain it.

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