Friday, September 13, 2013

The Typewriter is Dead! Stop this Crap!

One of the most aggravating thing about being a publications editor is the fact so many dingaling writers still have not figured out the typewriter is obsolete. They send in stories that were technically typed on a computer, but they don’t use the features of a computer. Whether you’re using Word, WordPerfect or even one of the open source products, they all have basic features. Yet so many writers ignore these features and continue to pretend they’re using a typewriter. It’s not cute. It’s not quaint. And someday I’m going to create an android army to hunt them down.

Tabs are not how to type on a computer. Computers will start a new paragraph at any indentation you set up, automatically. More than half of the writers who send me stories are still hitting the tab key.

All the major programs have page numbering. They will automatically number pages for you and do so at the top or bottom of the page–wherever you want. So, most writers set up headers. And an astonishing number even try and manually put in page numbers. Headers are tough to reformat. Manually placed page numbers get messed up if you hot a wrong key and create an extra line somewhere.

And I’m not even getting started on things that are embedded into the file to make it look cute.

Stop this!!!!! It is not quaint. It is not cute. It creates serious trouble in reformatting that file, which is what is going to happen to it. Armies of typesetters are not in the basement of the magazine you’re submitting to. It isn’t done that way anymore, excepting certain antiquated publishers who still want a SASE for your form letter. Your computer is not a typewriter. Learn how to use it.

On the last anthology I edited, a writer was using tabs to start paragraphs. I warned him to knock it off. He turned around and sent me another submission the same way. I rejected it without looking at it. If you think ignoring this warning will get you literary success, think again. Retribution is at hand.

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