Tag Archives: headers

Some days you’re the hydrant

Old What’s Her Face and I had a nice date last evening. Dinner at one of our favorite places that didn’t succumb to the whole Covid situation. This caused me to drag my feet getting to the writing cabin this morning.

I made a quick pass over my last 2000 words, then added a couple of dozen new ones before groaning. “Agghhh!”

“What’s wrong?” Percy the Space Chimp asked.

“Formatting.”

“Who cares about that? Let’s move this story forward.”

“Sadly, I do.”

“Look, it might just be another project to you, but it’s my life here, and I’d like to get on with it.”

“I have a problem doing that when I’m hung up on something. I started off putting small headers on certain chapters to tell readers where this part of the story takes place. Something small like what planet, what government, occasionally a city. Then it all went to crap.”

“Okay, so delete them all and let’s rock.”

“Not that simple. Early on, I think it helps readers to understand more about this environment. After a while, they get it, and you’ve traveled to some places multiple times. Then, some of this didn’t conveniently happen at the beginning of a chapter.”

“Okay, so leave the early ones, then give up on the idea.”

“That isn’t consistent. Readers will notice something like that.”

“What are you going to do?” Lisa, my robot girl PA asked.

“I’m going back through and adding them for consistency.”

“How long’s that going to take?” Percy asked.

“As long as it takes. Why? Do you have a hot date, or something?”

“I do if you write me one.”

“Look, I have a Muse. I have a PA who for some reason decided to wear a fur vest today—.”

“It’s a fake fur.”

“Who for some reason decided to wear a fake fur vest. Even the Research Sirens come around to bother me, but wind up helping. Unless one of you knows some Formatting Fairies, or something, this is all on me.”

Lisa straighten her vest. “It’s because Auburn has a vest like this in the story. We met the Green Fairy years ago, maybe she knows someone.”

“That was a long time ago, and we don’t want to talk about her. I think I should keep the headers.” I went to work using copy and paste, then over typing whatever I copied from.

“Dude, this is an endless loop.” Percy took a swig from his coffee. “Today you add them, later you delete them all, only to add them back down the road.”

“You’re not wrong. This is the kind of thing I have to deal with. They’re very helpful at the beginning. After about fifty-thousand words my readers are experts and don’t need them anymore.”

“You’re right. I don’t get it.”

“After I add them all we can move the story ahead.”

“Then delete them all later.”

“Probably. At least they exist if I want to leave them.”

Percy stood, then dusted his hands. “Looks like you don’t need me today. I think I’ll step into the forest and gather some wood. It’s stormy and clammy here, and a nice fire sounds like the ticket to me.”

Lisa assumed his former position on the couch. “I’ll do some Googling. Maybe there’s a Header Hobgoblin or someone who can direct you.”

“Thanks. At least you’re being more helpful than he is today.”

***

That’s how I spent my writing time today. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

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