Recently, I did something that I haven’t done for a couple of years: submitted a story. Over the years, I’ve learned the basic submission format, but since it’s been a while and things change, I’d take my time and go through the sample this magazine uses. And I think the only new aspect I saw was the whole one or two spaces question. But as I was reading through this format example, it reminded me of a formatting experience I had years ago.
It was probably fifteen, or more, years ago and I wanted to submit a short story to an ezine. And I think they were trying out this newfangled electronic submission thing. Which was great, except the software they used to publish stories on their ezine was seemingly held together with chicken wire and duct tape. I think they even called it “The Beast.” You could send in a story in whatever format, but then they’d have to retype it if they accepted it, or you could make it easy for them by following this forty-step program to convert your story into the proper format.
So I started out on what I think turned into an almost hour long journey to convert my story to the right format for them. It started easy with put everything to this font and this size and so on. But then you got into stuff like putting <I> before anything you wanted italicized and so on. Some of these steps I could skip because I didn’t have anything Bold or Underlined or whatever. And then things got weird. I had to open the “Insert” tab, then open some sub tab, and get into some page function that not only had I never bothered with but had never heard of, to turn something off. I think the reason it took me an hour or so to properly format this two thousand word story, was because I had to get up and walk around my apartment because I was getting so stressed.
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