Word Processor Blues

Discussion in 'Indie Writing, Publishing & Marketing Discussion' started by nerodog, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. nerodog

    nerodog New Member

    Sep 1, 2014
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    Looking to replace my MS-Word.

    Let's face it, MS-Word is annoying. They keep upgrading it so its more bloated,
    nothing works, and you can't find the features you used to use every day.

    When I first wrote the novel in question, I wrote it out longhand in comp books
    with a fountain pen. Never again. Because to edit it I had to input it into the computer,
    and that was almost as much work as writing it in the first place. Now I'm an old
    coder, used to work at Los Alamos National Labs, Sybase, etc., so for me, MS-Word
    was almost featureless. You mean you can't program the thing? Very frustrating.
    I ended up using IBM-Via-Voice voice recognition software to enter it by voice. Also
    very frustrating for any writer who has a voice, that is, a non-Murray-Hill-New-Jersey
    voice, the one it expects you to talk in. To ViaVoice, every time I say 'it' it typed 'hit'.
    I didn't even know that everyone in Virginia aspirates that word. I could never get it
    to hear 'talkin' and write 'talking' like all us Southerners do automagically. The problem
    is that I have a character that speaks almost entirely in Appalachian dialect, where
    'Hollow' is pronouced 'Holler', 'horse' is 'hoss', curse is cuss, and burst is bust. I grew
    up with a grandmother in the place where the scene is set, Boliver (pron. BAHliva),
    West Virginia. But that doesn't mean I want to annoy my reader with bad spelling --
    I could go on.

    When I first started using MS-word, it was so buggy and useless that if I put more than
    two chapters in a file, it would crash. I kept the novel in 24 files. But by now, on Win7,
    it's pretty stable. The problem is windows itself this time, and I am ditching windows in
    favour of Linux, where my usual tool for editing and inputting text, a very old program
    called Emacs, which was the code editor for Berkeley Unix, back in the day.

    But here's the thing, MS-word is where this first novel, the one closest to being published
    lives. My second novel, its sequel, was entered straight off into the computer as native
    HTML in my full-featured text editor, Emacs, which is so deliciously programmable.
    Eventually, it was to be put into MS-Word, given the formatting of the other novel, and
    spell-checked (a days-long operation that involved an awful lot of telling the computer,
    yes, I looked this up and it's spelled right. Now I'm thinking of ditching Win7 altogether
    and I have installed Linux, and work on all my other novels in that platform using HTML
    and Emacs. But publishers want MS-Word files. So now, my question.

    What is the best full-featured (actually, I only know 3 features I need, 1: can read and
    write .docx files, including importing them properly and printing them so they look the
    same (I spent *so* much time making it look how it does, as writing is a visual as well
    as auditory medium), 2: will let me continue to use the styles I have set up, and 3: has
    a spell-check that is as user-friendly as MS-Word's and has a decent dictionary
    behind it. I just hate that ordinary words, like afore, nincompoop, and copacetic are not
    in these dictionaries. I have to be able to type and edit, and I don't want a mess of stuff
    getting in my way. MS-Word has an incredibly frustrating habit of filling up the screen
    with useless information and access to features I will never use) word processor for
    Linux? Any opinions? Abiword seems too buggy to use on something you care about,
    and if you don't care about what you are writing, you're not much of a writer.

    Did I mention that digression is my favority rhetorical figure?

    Anyway any opinions would be welcomed.

    -- Max Crane, The Pixie Murders
  2. jedi79

    jedi79 Active Member

    Jan 2, 2012
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    I am not a fan of MS Word ether. You could try libreoffice it is a free software. I use it, and works pretty good for bing free.
  3. hank quense

    hank quense New Member

    Jan 24, 2015
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    I don't use Word (I'm MS free and have been for about 8 years) I write my books, fiction and non-ficition, in Scrivener. The great thing about this program is you have a single file with EVERYTHING about the book in that file so nothing is more than a click or two away. The file has scenes, chapters, character sketches, locations, scene sketches, plot diagrams and anything else you want to put into such as marketing information. You should check it out. Scrivener has versions for Mac, PCs and Lynx.
    Indie Authors likes this.
  4. Indie Authors

    Indie Authors Administrator
    Staff Member

    Dec 19, 2011
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    I've heard about Scrivener, but haven't tried it out yet. I thought it was just a glorified version of Word, and didn't realize it was so tailored to book writing. Thanks for the recommendation. I may have to give it a shot! :)
  5. hank quense

    hank quense New Member

    Jan 24, 2015
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    You should check it out. I've used it for several years. I estimate I use about 30% of the total features. Also, Scrivener has a 30 day free trial version. Mind, if you haven't used a program like this, there is a learning curve.
  6. jimsgotweb

    jimsgotweb New Member

    Jan 31, 2015
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    I agree with Hank, Scrivener is a great software program for writers. It also give you the ability to convert your book to multiple formats like .mobi, .epub, PDF and more!
    hank quense likes this.
  7. hank quense

    hank quense New Member

    Jan 24, 2015
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    It also has templates for novels, non-fiction, scripts and other types of works
  8. Samantha Fury

    Samantha Fury Active Member

    Jan 10, 2012
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    I personally love Word, but some people like ywriter it's got a lot of features.
    ambookdragon likes this.