Journal News 2015 – Step 4 – fixing author intent & accident

Making the document readable sounded easy, but it’s not. Each entry poses its own problems, so now I’m going through each entry, one by one, opening the original files to compare with the new, and looking for:

  1. Bold text:
    1. Luckily this is easy to see in the original document. Find everything that should be bold and re-bold it.
  2. Paragraph breaks:
    1. If the author typed blank lines between paragraphs, I need to remove them.
      1. I could search for ^p^p and replace with ^p, but this would remove all blank lines, including those the author intended to keep.
      2. Instead I just go through the piece, removing blank lines that don’t appear differently in the original.
    2. Some documents contained hard returns, creating paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences. I try to remove these based on the first letter of the paragraph being uncapitalized.
    3. Some documents contained double hard returns to end paragraphs. This removes all spacing between paragraphs. I click on “show-formatting” and delete these, one by one, replacing with soft returns to fix it.
    4. While “show-formatting” is on, I can see those unwanted blank spaces at the ends of paragraphs too, so I remove them by hand. But I’ve only done this for pieces that were difficult to format. I’ll have to finish it later.
  3. Paragraph indentation:
    1. Some authors indent their paragraphs by hand with tabs. I could remove all tabs by searching for and removing ^t, but I’m wary of doing that yet. Instead I look for paragraphs that appear excessively indented and remove the tabs.
    2. Some authors indent with multiple spaces. Again, I could remove these by searching for and removing “space space,” but this would mess us intentional blank spaces. Again, I remove them by hand.
    3. Some authors do both randomly. Help!!!!
  4. Story breaks:
    1. Some people use blank lines, some use stars, some use straight lines, some even use page breaks! Last year I turned them all into stars, but the more professional approach is to make them all blank lines.
  5. Since all this involves looking pretty closely at (but not reading) the entries, I try to notice and respond to Word’s red and blue highlights. (I’m ignoring green for now.)
    1. “No where” should be “nowhere.”
    2. Can’t breath” should be “breathe.”
    3. Going out for “awhile” should be “a while,” while “mean while” should be “meanwhile.”
    4. “Can not” should be “cannot” unless there’s good reason.
    5. “House keeping” should be “Housekeeping”
    6. “When Tom and Jill walks” might need to be “walk” unless somebody’s speaking.
    7. The “lose” shirt should be “loose,” but don’t “loose” track of what I’m doing.
    8. “The man who’s box” should be “whose.”
    9. Holding the young “mans” arm should be “man’s”
    10. etc. I know I’m not catching everything, but it’s a start.

Finally, since all change involves the possibility of error, I use Word’s “review-compare files” feature to compare the initial big ugly file (everything combined, nothing formatted or changed) with this new, reformatted version. Try to resist the temptation to rush!

Make sure I save files to a new name when I make changes. That makes it easier to check up on what I’ve done.

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