Created 2002-06-01 | Updated 2009-12-30

Text Formatting Information & Guide

There are several ways to submit stories or chapters to the site. Each way has advantages and disadvantages. You can submit in plain text, html and tagged text.

Each one of those formats allow certain level of control over how your work shows up on the site formatting wise. This page is designed to provide you with as much information about the formatting process on the site to allow you to make up your own mind how much you want to control the look of your work on the site.

Also there are few tags that you should know about:


General

Some things apply to all types of submissions.

One of the more important issues is white space. For scene separation and transitions many authors use multiple empty new lines to signify a scene transition. However, HTML coding and various text handling of various authors and computer systems render this option a tough issue to handle correctly. So the only thing that the formatting system here on the site does is to ignore all empty lines beyond the two required to form a paragraph. So no matter how many empty lines you put into your text in succession, they will be ignored.

To show a scene change and transition, use a horizontal rule in your text. The way to insert a horizontal rule is to type **** or ---- or ____ into your text, between scenes, on a line of its own.

Asterisks ( * ) and underscores ( _ ) are almost reserved characters. Try not to use them in your writing unless you're using them as formatting markers. All asterisks will be converted to <strong> tags and all underscores will be converted to <em> tags.


Plain Text

Advantages: Compact files, not much can go wrong.

Disadvantages: Not much control over final formatting.

If you submit your work in plain text then it will processed and formatted in very simple formatting. The only thing different would be the title and the author name.

Some formatting control can be used in plain text formatting through the use of what is conventionally called 'Plain Text Formatting'.

Plain text formatting has been used for years on the internet before the web, (on Usenet and email) to convey formatting even though the text being sent was plain text. The processing utilities created for the site can understand those simple instructions and convert them to proper html code that would show what you need to show.

Plain text formatting is simple.

To make something come out Bold on the site you need to surround the text to be bolded with asterisks *like this*.

Once the text goes through the processor it will come out like this.

Italics are made _like this_ with an underscore.

Once the text goes through the processor it will come out like this.

Bold-Italics are made _*like this*_ with an underscore and an asterisk, again no space between them and the text that you want to make bold-italic.

Once the text goes through the processor it will come out like this.

The last thing is Horizontal rules, a '*****' or '-----' or '______' or '++++++' (two or more instances ? without the quotes) will all be converted to horizontal rules.

That is it for plain text formatting.

Notes:

  1. Plain text files must have a double line separating paragraphs, otherwise you'll get the whole story in one paragraph.

  2. Plain text formatting is respected in HTML and tagged text submissions as well. So if you type *like this* and submit in html format, then it will come out like this.

  3. Logical scene separation must be done by inserting horizontal rules between scenes. If you insert multiple empty paragraphs, it does not have any effect on the formatting. In html, any number of empty lines count as 1, so if you insert 10 returns/new lines it will have no effect.


HTML files

If you feel like submitting your own html files you can do so. However, keep in mind that all html code gets stripped from your files with very specific exceptions, and your files get reformatted from scratch.

The exempted html codes carried over to the site are:

The site's conversion utilities try to support centered and right justified text, but it doesn't work very reliably due to the different ways this may be acheived.


Tagged Text

Tagged text is what is actually used by the site's formatting utilities to produce what you can see on the site usually. It's plain text with some tags that give the formatting utility instruction on what to do with the text to produce html code with the site's look and feel.

Advantages: Advanced control over your stories and how they look on the site, while maintaining compatibility with the stylesheets used on the site. So when the site's look changes, those instructions will provide the new look without any modification.

Disadvantages: Pain in the ass to use.

Note: Tags will work and be properly converted in plain text submissions as well as html submissions. If the tags are present and valid, then they'll be respected by the system.

The instructions are enclosed in curly brackets to make the tags. A tag looks like this {block}, so you must use the tags as written, including the curly brackets. NO WHITE SPACE IS ALLOWED INSIDE THE TAGS.

Inline Tags

Inline tags provide formatting for a specified amount of text mostly for text style. The text is enclosed between an opening tag and a closing tag.

Note: inline tags cannot span multiple paragraphs. If you have two consecutive paragraphs that you want to come out in italics, you need to close the italic tags at the end of the first paragraph and reopen a new one at the beginning of the second one and of course a closing tag at the end of the second paragraph too.


Character Style

Bold is specified by {b} {/b}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{b}This Text is bolded{/b}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text is bolded.


Bold is also specified by {strong} {/strong}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{strong}This is bolded{/strong}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This is bolded.

However, {strong} has another significance, it's not just bolded text. The <strong> tag in html causes text readers (like those used by blind people) to be strongly emphasized. So it will sound different when read aloud by text reading machines/programs. Because of this difference, {b} and {strong} are not exactly interchangeable. It should be used only for short sentences or words where a character shouts or something. Long passages in {strong} (anything longer than 10 words) are really annoying to people depending on those machines to read your stories, so use it only sparingly.


Italic is specified by {i} {/i}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{i}This Text is italicized{/i}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text is italicized.


Italic is also specified by {em} {/em}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{em}This Text is emphasized{/em}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text is emphasized.

However, {em} has another significance, it's not just italicized text. The <em> tag in html causes text readers (like those used by blind people) to be emphasized. So it will sound different when read aloud by text reading machines/programs. Because of this difference, {i} and {em} are not exactly interchangeable. It should be used only for short sentences or words where a character emphasizes part of their speech. Long passages in {em} are really annoying to people depending on those machines to read your stories, so use it only sparingly.


Small is specified by {small} {/small}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{small}This Text is small{/small}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text is small.


Superscript is specified by {sup} {/sup}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{sup}This is superscript{/sup}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This is superscript.


Colouring Text

Three colours are supported: Red, Green and Blue.

Red is specified by {red} {/red}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{red}This Text is Red{/red}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text is Red.


Green is specified by {green} {/green}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{green}This Text is Green{/green}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text is Green.


Blue is specified by {blue} {/blue}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{blue}This Text is Blue{/blue}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text is Blue.


Other Text

Two other formats are supported: Teletype text, and Strike through text.

Teletype is specified by {tt} {/tt}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{tt}This Text is monospace
and like a typewriter{/tt}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text is monospace and like a typewriter.


Strike through is specified by {str} {/str}.

Example:

This sample shows tag usage.
{str}This Text should have a
line in it{/str}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This Text should have a line in it.


If you want to mix inline tags you can, as long as you understand nesting. Which means that the first tag to be open must be closed last, and the last tag to be open must be closed first. And each tag must be in its own set of brackets.

Example:

Correct:

This sample shows tag usage.
{b}{i}This is bold-italic{/i}{/b}.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This is bold-italic.

Wrong:

This sample shows tag usage.
{i}{b}This is bold-italic{/i}{/b}.

The mismatched tags would cause a formatting error.


Paragraph Styles

Paragraph tags provide formatting for a complete paragraph. The tag is present at the beginning of a paragraph and does not require a closing tag.

{r} at the beginning of a paragraph will cause the whole paragraph to be flushed right.

Example:

{r}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is flushed
right.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is flushed right.


{c} at the beginning of a paragraph will cause the whole paragraph to be centred.

Example:

{c}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is centred.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is centred.

{#} the # can be any number from 3 to 6 for headers. so for the start of a section you can use {3} at the beginning of the paragraph and the whole paragraph will come out large and red. (1 and 2 are reserved for story title and author name, so don't use them).

3 gives the biggest text and 6 the smallest.

Examples:

{3}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded
and in Red.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded and Red.

Only 3 comes out in red, the rest of the numbers come out in black.

----

{4}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded.

----

{5}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded.

----

{6}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded.

# Tags and alignment tags ({c} or {r}) can be combined for flexibility in alignment. for example {3c} will come out big, red and centred, {3r} will come out big, red and flushed right.

{3c}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded
and in Red.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded and Red.

----

{3r}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded
and in Red.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded and Red.

----

{4c}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded.

----

{4r}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded.

Would look like this:

This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded.

----

DO NOT USE {#}{r}, it will not do what you would expect. Only one paragraph tag is used at the beginning of a paragraph, and the first one only will be respected. If a paragraph tag is not the first thing at the beginning of the paragraph it is simply ignored.

{3}{r}This sample shows tag usage.
This whole paragraph is bolded
and in Red.

Would look like this:

{r}This sample shows tag usage. This whole paragraph is bolded and Red.

----

This sample {3}shows tag usage.
This paragraph is {r}bolded
and in Red.

Would look like this:

This sample {3}shows tag usage. This paragraph is {r}bolded and Red.


Multi-Paragraph Tags

Multi-Paragraph Tags are not a paragraph tags or inline ones. They affects a bunch of paragraphs and they require a closing tag.

Multi-Paragraph Tags must be on lines of their own and must be separated by two blank lines from the paragraphs they enclose.

Indenting Blocks of Text

The {block} {/block} tags cause the text to be indented and it can enclose many paragraphs, so it needs a closing tag and must be on a line of its own, separated from the text by double returns on either side. Indented text will come out in blue.

Usage is restricted to small blocks of text that need to be distinguished from the main body. Example for use is a note or letter in the story.

Example:

{block}

{3}This is a header

This sample shows {b}tag
usage{/b}.
This is the first paragraph.

{r}This is the {i}second{/i}
paragraph.

This is the third paragraph.

{/block}

This paragraph is not indented.

Would look like this:

This is a header

This sample shows tag usage. This is the first paragraph.

This is the second paragraph.

This is the third paragraph.

This paragraph is not indented.


Highlighted Blocks

The {notice} {/notice} tag causes the text to be enclosed in an outlined, pale yellow box. The text comes out smaller, in sans-serif.

Example:

{notice}

{3}This is a header

This sample shows {b}tag
usage{/b}.
This is the first paragraph.

{r}This is the {i}second{/i}
paragraph.

This is the third paragraph.

{/notice}

Would look like this:

This is a header

This sample shows tag usage. This is the first paragraph.

This is the second paragraph.

This is the third paragraph.


The {end-note} {/end-note} tag causes the text to be enclosed in an outlined, pale yellow box. The text comes out in sans-serif (bigger than the 'notice' text).

The only difference between {notice} and {end-note} is the size of the text.

Example:

{end-note}

{3}This is a header

This sample shows {b}tag
usage{/b}.
This is the first paragraph.

{r}This is the {i}second{/i}
paragraph.

This is the third paragraph.

{/end-note}

Would look like this:

This is a header

This sample shows tag usage. This is the first paragraph.

This is the second paragraph.

This is the third paragraph.

Please note that the highlighted boxes were created for small notes and notices to separate a note's text from the body of a story or paragraph. Use them very judiciously. If they're used for actual body text, they will be deleted.


Lists

Two types of lists are supported: Bulleted Lists and Numbered Lists.

Bulleted Lists

You can instruct the system to build a Bulleted list out of a series of consecutive paragraphs by inserting the tag {+} at the beginning of each item of the list. The whole paragraph will be a single item in the list.

Example:

{+}This is the first item in the
list.

{+}This is the second item in the
list.

{+}This is the third item in the
list, which is much longer than
the other two items simply to show
how a long item in a bulleted
list would look like.

Would look like this:


Numbered Lists

You can instruct the system to build a Numbered list out of a series of consecutive paragraphs by inserting the tag {n} at the beginning of each item of the list. The whole paragraph will be a single item in the list.

Example:

{n}This is the first item in the
list.

{n}This is the second item in the
list.

{n}This is the third item in the
list, which is much longer than
the other two items simply to show
how a long item in a bulleted list
would look like.

Would look like this:

  1. This is the first item in the list.

  2. This is the second item in the list.

  3. This is the third item in the list, which is much longer than the other two items simply to show how a long item in a bulleted list would look like.


Line Break: {br}

You can use this almost anywhere in your text if you need to. It gets converted to a <br> tag. Which causes the text to jump to a new line.

It's useful for things like poetry among other thing:

Example:

This text is{br}
broken into{br}
three lines

would look like this:

This text is
broken into
three lines


The last thing is Horizontal rules, a '*****' or '-----' or '______' or '++++++' (two or more instances ? without the quotes) will all be converted to horizontal rules.


You can use the site’s formatting previewing page (alpha software quality) to preview the results of your use of the site’s tags


Story Version Tags

The site supports two different in-text version tags:

{version: x.xx} and $Revision: x.xx$

x are digits only, no letters in the version numbers.

The tags must be on a line of their own in the story's text and they only work for whole story repost or new stories even. If a new story is posted containing one of the above tags, the version will be assigned properly, even if it's the first post.

So for example, version 1.75 have to be represented like so:

{version: 1.75}

or

$Revision: 1.75$


html code in the text will come out as a text representation of your html code, it will not have any effect. So if you type <b>text</b> into your text it will be converted to html code like this &lt;b&gt;text&lt;/b&gt;, so it will not work.


Remember, just because you have something does not mean you have to use it. So if you would like to use the Tagged Text formatting, use it wisely. Overusing the above tags can result in a horribly looking text.
And something else to remember is that no amount of formatting can be a substitute to good writing. A good story will still be a good story even if it is just text, and a bad story is still a bad story no matter how beautifully formatted it is.


Created 2002-06-01 | Updated 2009-12-30