Basta. Genug. Enough.
So I’m working on Chapter 17 of Storm Season today and inserted a # to indicate a scene break. I centered the hash mark, as I do, and moved the tab over so that the line wasn’t indented. The entire frigging document then centered and lost its tabs. Swearing under my breath, I had to hit Undo to get the text back to normal. Oddly enough, the hash mark remained centered.
This has been an ongoing problem with Word ever since I passed 65,000 words on this book. Word, which is enough of a resource hog as it is, tends to start horking on large documents — it messes around with the header and footer spacing, tabs, alignment, and formatting. I did have the doc set up so that I could use a format for the hash marks as well as italicized text and chapter headings, but after the third time I lost all that and the doc reverted to its standard format, I gave up.
Now, I know a lot of writers get around this problem by splitting their chapters into separate documents and linking all those together with a master document. That’s fine and dandy, but it’s also has its own pain in the ass elements and frankly, I’ve had problems with the pagination flowing smoothly from one doc to another.
Luckily, there is a solution, and I bless the esteemed Jerry J. Davis for cluing me into it. The brilliant minds over at Literature and Latte make a wonderful word processing app called Scrivener that runs on PC and Mac platforms, and is designed specifically for writers. It allows you to storyboard, store pictures and notes, switch back and forth between a virtual corkboard and your document, and contains all kinds of fiction and non-fiction format templates for everything from a short story to a novel manuscript to a screenplay to an article. It also outputs in a variety of formats, including ebook formats .mobi, .epub and .pdf for people who are self-publishing. I’ve used Scrivener before for my self-publishing, but never got around to using it for a novel.
That ended this afternoon, when I imported Storm Season into a new Scrivener doc. Yes, it took an hour to get everything fixed and set up the way it was supposed to be, but as a result I realized that I’d somehow seriously defaulted on the size of Chapter Three and it had to be expanded, which in itself was massively useful. Writing in Scrivener also seems much easier to me, and Lord knows its easier to learn and work with than Word. You can download a free trial for thirty days — if you like it, the app is $45. If you’re developing a loathing for Word that’s interfering with your writing, go check it out. I truly think you’ll be glad you did.