Going backwards to go forwards

A bit of a glitch this week. The main file, which hadn’t been backed up in a few days, developed a fault where each line had a page break after it. I suspect that is because I work on different machines with different OSes and different software. I know from the past when I used to write a Diplomacy Newsletter that the same version of MS Word on different machines could SNAFU the formatting.

SO. A fair bit of time wasted just cleaning up the text and some thoughts to myself. In an ideal world I would use IAwriter on my iPad for text. It’s nice, works and I have it. I bought Pages for some formatting, but it doesn’t do tables. Or, if it does, it doesn’t take them from Word 2003 and it doesn’t do ODT.

Tables now. There is a thing. SO! That got me thinking about my addiction to tables. Common enough in RPGs and wargaming. Even in my websites I tend to use tables for formatting in a way that is NOT what you are supposed to do, that’s what CSS is for, is it not?

SO then. Text is text. The first thing to do is to get the information down. Whether it is scribbled in a notebook, often my first stab, then into a file. Only when you have it all in the file should you be doing the format thing. I suppose I waste time tweaking the format rather than get on to the actual work.

A job for this weekend then. Get the file. strip out the table formatting, put it into simpler. “old school” paragraph like bits of information. Nothing more complex than a TAB, and as few of them as possible. An example. Instead of

Name Where found Description
Wyrm Desolate places Wyrms are an adaptable creature, anywhere where they can secrete themselves when they sleep yet come out and head to more populous places for prey is to their liking. After feeding the become torpid.
Wyrms have no wings and cannot fly, and, despite legends, do not breathe fire, though they do drip a venom from their fangs which withers vegetation that it falls on.

This

Name          Wyrm
Where found   Desolate places
Description   Wyrms are an adaptable creature, 
              anywhere where they can secrete 
              themselves when they sleep yet 
              come out and head to more populous 
              places for prey is to their liking. 
              After feeding the become torpid. 
              Wyrms have no wings and cannot 
              fly, and, despite legends, do not 
              breathe fire, though they do drip 
              a venom from their fangs which withers 
              vegetation that it falls on.

even this may be too fancy

If nothing else, it will let me put in a bit more flavour text, rather than trying to cram everything into the restricted space of the field, and moving columns around and tweaking the font and all the other distractions that mean I am not actually creating.

 

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2 Responses to Going backwards to go forwards

  1. Dave Elrick says:

    It also opens up the possibility of ePub and other ebook formats. I’ve found that tables, headers and footers tend to be poorly supported, certainly in ePub format.

  2. hurcheon says:

    True

    Though I think that would suit shorter, lighter projects.

    It might be my ereader, but I don’t find ereader’s great for manuals. a tablet seems to be better

    One advantage I am finding with the simpler format for writing is that I can keep the file in Dropbox, and work on it from a variety of machines without difficulty

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