Around and Around I Go

Around and Around I Go

You can guess by my picture up there that I haven’t invested much time in Murder Dollhouse. And that’s okay, because people need to recharge every now and again.

But I won’t leave this blog empty for a fortnight. So I’m going to trawl through my history of writing stories. To whit – the editors I’ve been using to make the things I do.

When I was a kid in the late 70’s, computers were big, clunky things with the reel-to-reel tape drives and the beeping noises. If you have seen the old Six Million Dollar Man or some episodes of The Goodies you know the ones. The Original Star Trek invented the concept of keyboards. So when I wrote, it was by hand.

And like any person with sufficient intellect – my handwriting was a pain in the arse to read. I could write quickly or I could write neatly. There was no middle ground.

So when computers began to get affordable, my teachers greeted the news of me using a word processor with a song in their heart and a smile on their lips. That was my Amstrad, and I had to use a series of keys to get things like italics or bold text.

But that’s not the cyclical part. That happened in the 90’s, when I discovered the internet. Therein came ASCII coding.

Things like _this_ for italics or *that* for bold, because the internet of the era didn’t bother with fancy formatting. It was all basic characters, no frills, and we still had to communicate anyway. And ALL CAPS was shouting, and therefore bad.

You can see it in some of my old fanfictions, where I had a code key in the preamble before I dove into the smut fanfic.

Of course, things changed. Formatting became a thing, and we could all have the fancy stuff. I still wrote in ASCII because that was what I was used to. When I got around to doing pro stuff, I had to get used to doing things properly.

I went through quite a few editors, and I could not name them all to save my soul. I know for a pace, I was writing in HTML, but that was a flash in the pan compared to others. I spent quite a time with Pages, because I learned quickly that the Blue Screen Of Death is the horror of writers everywhere.

Apple is just more reliable. At least until you hit the point of planned obsolescence. It doesn’t up and crash for random reasons that I usually call The Fickle Finger. [You’ve heard of Green Thumbs? The opposite of that, and for technology, is having the fickle finger] But I digress.

I’ve gone through more than a few editors, as I said. Pages lasted the longest, but I also graduated through Open Office and other MSWord emulators. And then I learned that assorted publishers, agents, and whatnot require different formats.

Beloved came to the rescue a few times, reformatting my completed works. The love of my life complained that all would be so much easier if I wrote things in MarkDown instead.

Where the formatting had things like _this_ for italics and **this** for bold, as well as numerous other little tricks.

Needless to say, I adapted pretty quickly.

Ironically, I now use proper formatting in my fanfics and my professional stuff has gone to the ASCII encoding of MarkDown. Why? Because AO3 lets you copy-paste italics and whatnot into their rich text editor.

And I still have trouble switching from one to the other. Because I’m a dummins.