Self editing 4 fiction #4 ~ Point of View

e-Formatting Gems for Novel Writers #1

Tips and Tricks of the Trade

These articles are to aid writers who do not wish to pay a formatter, or would rather have a much smaller formatting fee, or who need a fast turnaround (badly formatted manuscripts take longer and are sometimes moved down the work-pile).

In this first article, all of which are for Microsoft Word users, we will remove “bloat” from the Word document – Word harbors invisible, hidden HTML which can show up after a conversion; especially in Kindle mobi files.

Other bloat examples are headers, footers, and page numbers, which can play havoc with epub pages; and also background shading, which one gets if pasting from the internet (the background is invisible in Word but shows up if e-readers opt to read in Sepia or Midnight mode).

We also want to remove any bookmarks, most of which are hidden, because they compromise epubcheck if they are left in and we auto-generate an active Table of Contents or want to make one using bookmarks (more about that later in the series).

Getting rid of all these examples of bloat, in one fell swoop, is quite easy to do – but always save the document under a new name first in case things go wrong.

So, with your document open, left-click on the File tab (top left) and select “Save As” which takes you to your document folder. Rename the document by adding #1 to the file name (next time it can be #2) and your original document is unchanged.

Firstly, if you have been using “Track Changes” with an editor, etc. click the “Review” tab and select “Accept All Changes In Document” and also “Delete All Comments In Document”.  Remember, you still have these changes and comments in the original document, so no need to worry about losing them as long as you have saved the document under a new name as above.

Next thing you need to do is open Wordpad, which is a basic RTF document template. If you can’t find it, click on the Windows logo at the bottom left of your desktop screen and type WORDPAD into the “Search programs and files” field and it will come up under the heading “Programs”. Left-click and a Wordpad page comes up. If it’s not there just google: FREE WORDPAD DOWNLOAD and install it on your PC.

The next step (with your newly saved Word document and Wordpad both open) is to soft-nuke the Word doc via Wordpad:

·        Click on your Word document and press the keys Ctrl and A which will select all the content in the Word document.

·        Press the keys Ctrl and C which will copy all the content you just selected.

·        Go to the open Wordpad document and press the keys Ctrl and V which will paste all the content into Wordpad.

·        Now press Ctrl and A to select all the content that is now in Wordpad.

·        Press Ctrl and C to copy all the content you just selected.

·        Open a new Word document and press Ctrl and V to paste all the content into the new Word document.

·        Save the new document (you can name it as your original and add #2 or some other identifier).

You will not lose bold, italic or underline text, unlike when you nuke a file using Notepad.

You do not need to save the Wordpad document, which is just part of the bloat-rinsing process.

This new document will be the one we tidy up further in the next stage of the process, which will be explained in the next article: Tidying up Ellipses

Thank you for reading this article.

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  1. This technique will clear up most of the Word problems. You won't lose any styles or images in the text. Beware of any text you have highlighted though. The bit about 'Accept all changes and stop tracking' is vital. If you don't do this your ebook will contain the text before changes and after changes. That will lead to reviewers saying it is poorly edited.

    1. Indeed, John - even if not rinsing your draft as above it is important to accept Track Changes made and delete all comments (as well as headers, footers and page numbers).