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Expanded formatting guide?

The Outsider

I'm pretty good at looking at things and not seeing them, but is there a resource on SOL to explain the proper procedure of formatting submissions to have the cover pages of stories come out differently?

Specifically, I'm looking for my chapter links on a cover page to increase as they are listed horizontally rather than just in one big column, separate blocks of chapters into story parts and post a cover image. Or, in my ignorance, have I overlooked posting an entire part/section of the story as one, large file to achieve the result I'm looking for?

Thanks.

Ernest Bywater

Check these two pages available from the Authors Page:

http://storiesonline.net/author/posting_guidelines.php

http://storiesonline.net/doc/Text_Formatting_Information_Guide

They provide a lot of info.

I use the Tagged Text mentioned on the second page as Tags to prepare my stories. One thing to keep in mind is: If you place the word chapter as the first word on a line the system will see that as a chapter heading and split the story there, so you can submit the story as one big file with each chapter split at that point.

Lazeez is always happy to answer questions sent via the Webmaster link on each page as well.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

Cover images are handled as a file submission. When you first post your story, include your cover image as the first file, then leave a note to the Moderator that your posting a cover image as your first file. The file limit is 267 x 400 pixels at 72 dpi (pretty small in today's HD world, but not unreasonable considering that this is a story and not a picture site). If you have a cast list, you should also submit this in a similar manner, ahead of any actual chapters when you first post the story. You can update it whenever you like, but it's easier for the Moderator to set everything up correctly the first time.

One important tag to remember is the { t } { /t } tags, as they flag section breaks, rather than the normal chapter breaks. If you don't use these, then don't sweat it.

Also, you don't have to label your chapters as "Chapter ##". The system will take whichever the first line is and make it the chapter title. I typically define mine as H1 definitions, so it looks nice as I'm working on it, and the SOL system automatically converts it to the correct chapter titles.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater


They provide a lot of info.


I don't think they provide the correct info. I read The Outsider's post as asking how to control the formatting of the chapter index page. That isn't covered by either link.

Some stories have the chapters listed in a grid layout and some have a single column of chapters. I'm not sure how the system decides to use which format, but that's what is being asked for.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
The Outsider
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


http://storiesonline.net/author/posting_guidelines.php


Thanks to both of you for the replies. Not sure how the story itself will be received, but I figure I might as well try to present it as well as I can on the "cover..."

Ernest Bywater

I do a Table of Contents as an extra file, here's some examples:

http://storiesonline.net/s/11493:163623

http://storiesonline.net/s/11523:162893

http://storiesonline.net/s/70026:127487

A couple have images in them, as well. If you send me an email via SoL I can send you specific information on how I format the Tagged Text code to do the job. However, it's very simple, I created a list by treating each item as a separate line using the br command and each group as a centered paragraph using the c command.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Some stories have the chapters listed in a grid layout and some have a single column of chapters. I'm not sure how the system decides to use which format, but that's what is being asked for.

As far as I recall, first line paragraph's (considered chapter names) are listed horizontally, but { t } listings are listed vertically (chapter headings are supposed to fit within section headings).

@Ernest

I do a Table of Contents as an extra file, here's some examples:

Very nice formatting, I'll have to study what you did, but ... I'm not sure the benefit to creating your own TOC, since it duplicates SOL's own (and you were poking fun at me for duplicating the ebook's TOC). I can see the extra information being helpful, but I'm not sure it adds much reporting it separately, instead of within the story.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


creating your own TOC, since it duplicates SOL's own


CW, if you look at the SoL ToC for the first link you will see it lists 12 chapters, in my ToC I break those 12 SoL chapters (which I call Parts) into the chapters and sub-chapters as they're listed in the e-pub and print book version. Thus what SoL lists as Chapter 1 I list as Part 01 and have listed below it a chapter title, three sub-chapter titles, another chapter title, and a sub-chapter title.

This is because what I post to SoL is split up into blocks of 5,000 to 10,000 words aligned to the end of a chapter or sub-chapter. SoL sees that as a chapter, so I post the full ToC showing what's in each Part or SoL chapter. That's why the legend at the bottom with the colours. I do this so the readers understand the story structure I'm using. I also use the same page to include things like the diagram image.

typo edit

samuelmichaels

@The Outsider

One thing I discovered is a setting you change by selecting "Authors/Editors" - "Manage Stories" - click on a story - "Show TOC" / "Hide TOC". That controls whether your table of contents (index) page is displayed vertically (this makes more sense with named chapters) or horizontally (this takes less page space).

Replies:   The Outsider
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

but { t } listings are listed vertically (chapter headings are supposed to fit within section headings).

I can't find a {t} in the text formatting guide. The closest thing is {tt} which yields a fixed character space font.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@The Outsider

Specifically, I'm looking for my chapter links on a cover page to increase as they are listed horizontally rather than just in one big column, separate blocks of chapters into story parts and post a cover image.


You can have a cover if you include it with the submission and put in a note in the moderators notes field that it's a cover.

As for the Table of Contents, you turn that on after the story gets posted.

If the story has actual chapter titles, not just 'chapter 1', 'chapter 2', etc... then when you view the story's details in the story management page, at the bottom you'll see a list of the story's chapters and their titles. So if there are custom chapter titles, the 'Show TOC' button will appear and clicking it will make the index page into one column with expanded titles.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Crumbly Writer

Cover images are handled as a file submission. When you first post your story, include your cover image as the first file, then leave a note to the Moderator that your posting a cover image as your first file. The file limit is 267 x 400 pixels at 72 dpi (pretty small in today's HD world, but not unreasonable considering that this is a story and not a picture site).


Actually, there is no specific limit. Since our bandwidth is limited, we try to keep images under 25 KB and we process covers and images in general in a subjective way.

If the image contains a lot of details that may get lost, we don't shrink it as much. We shrink images as much as possible without ruining them.

If you have a cast list, you should also submit this in a similar manner, ahead of any actual chapters when you first post the story. You can update it whenever you like, but it's easier for the Moderator to set everything up correctly the first time.


Correct.

One important tag to remember is the { t } { /t } tags, as they flag section breaks, rather than the normal chapter breaks. If you don't use these, then don't sweat it.


Correction, the {t} tag, which creates a section header doesn't need a closing {/t} tag.

Also, you don't have to label your chapters as "Chapter ##". The system will take whichever the first line is and make it the chapter title. I typically define mine as H1 definitions, so it looks nice as I'm working on it, and the SOL system automatically converts it to the correct chapter titles.


That's not correct.

You should label your chapters properly with the word 'Chapter' or optionally 'part' or 'episode' with a number like Chapter 1, or Part 1 or Episode 1. Optionally with an additional title like 'Chapter 1: Here we go again' etc.

The system doesn't pick any lines automatically for titling if they don't include the 'Chapter' word. The word 'Chapter' at the beginning of a paragraph is the only default that the system looks for. Anything else is done manually by moderators.

If the first line looks like a chapter title, we'll treat it as such by manually adding 'Chapter xx' before it and then processing it.

The list of officially supported parts is:

'Prologue', 'Glossary', 'Preface', 'Prelude', 'Foreword', 'Cast', 'Intro', 'Epilogue', 'Postlude', 'Preamble', 'Afterword', 'Postscript', 'TOC', 'Chapter xx', 'Part xx', 'Episode xx'.

The chapters' numbers are always numerical. If you use the verbose annoying notation of 'Chapter Twenty Three - More wordy title' for example, we run a script that converts it to numeric 'Chapter 23: More wordy title'. This is important as it makes many things more convenient on our end and it's programatically more manageable.

All the above keywords (except 'Chapter') still require manual intervention from the moderator to show up as separate files on their own.

I'll let you in on some of the inner working of moderation on the site. When we encounter the above keywords and the story is long enough to need division or is submitted 'in progress' we tag the above keywords on their own lines with the {p} tag.

So to create a prologue files before chapter 1 we do this:

{p}Prologue

text for prologues....

{p}Chapter 1

text for chapter 1...

{p}Chapter 2: Optional Title here

text for chapter 2...

Then we run a script that converts to html, splits the submission into separate files and sends them off to the server to be inserted into a proprietary filing system that feeds the story delivery script.

Also, the posting scripts always, always work on a single file only. If you submit 10 chapters in 10 different files, the first step we do is to concatenate them into a single file with chapters separated by the keyword 'chapter' if you don't have it at the beginning of each of your files, we add them during concatenation.

So if your text in a single file, don't split it to post it. You would be doing something that we will need to undo. So save yourself and us the effort. On the other hand, if you work on your system with multiple files, then don't worry about joining them before submission, the effort on our end is minimal.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Ernest Bywater

I also sue the same page to include things like the diagram image.


That's one hard headed page...

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

Didn't know that Lazeez. But I have a follow-up question. Because of the length of my titles, I've dropped adding the "Chapter ##: Title" and shorten it to "##: Title". Is there some way I can help the processing of these files. Would adding { p } allow the system to flag the chapter titles?

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)


That's one hard headed page...


OK, OK. Just been and fixed the typo. Now you know why I often re-lodge stories to fix typos. Due to past injuries my hands work at slightly different speeds and sometimes my left hand hits a key before the right hand hits the key meant to be the one in front of the key from the left hand. That's life, I've learned to live with and try to fix the typos - which are usually 'sue' for 'use' and 'teh' for 'the.'

However, people tell me of the typos and I fix them

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Would adding { p } allow the system to flag the chapter titles?


Yes.

{p}22: title for 22

Would work. But you would end up with titles without the word 'Chapter'.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

That's life, I've learned to live with and try to fix the typos - which are usually 'sue' for 'use' and 'teh' for 'the.'

You can set autocorrect (in most word processors) to correct for those automatically (though that doesn't help on the forum).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

{p}22: title for 22

Would work. But you would end up with titles without the word 'Chapter'.

That's perfect. I left off the "Chapter" because, in a chapter index, it's redundant and I'd rather dedicate the space to more descriptive titles. I'm getting ready to post a new story, so I'll adjust it to most the posting easier.

The Outsider
Updated:

@samuelmichaels

Thanks. I saw this right after Lazeez got back to me separately, so this feature is now on for my story over on Finestories.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

You can set autocorrect (in most word processors) to correct for those automatically (though that doesn't help on the forum).


The trouble with Autocorrect is they also autocorrect a heap of things you don't want corrected unless you spend ages deleting all the other entries. Safer and easier to turn autocorrect off, spelling on, and look for the squiggle red lines, except when hot typing in a forum I often hit the post button before looking for the typos.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The trouble with Autocorrect is they also autocorrect a heap of things you don't want corrected unless you spend ages deleting all the other entries. Safer and easier to turn autocorrect off, spelling on, and look for the squiggle red lines, except when hot typing in a forum I often hit the post button before looking for the typos.

Ah, but you can fine tune it, turning it on for certain works (like "hte" and "sue") and off for other types. Still, mankind has been battling the dreaded autocorrect feature for decades now, and it appears to be a losing battle.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

mankind has been battling the dreaded autocorrect feature for decades now, and it appears to be a losing battle.


I'm sure getting an autocorrect feature to work exactly how you want it to would be harder than finding an honest politician.

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