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Are you paying attention, you two?

Hey there, all you WordPerfect users aspiring to write short fiction! For you maligned folks and you folks only, I've added a new feature to my inexplicably popular manuscript formatting instructions.

I created a set of WordPerfect templates and macros that let you easily create a properly formatted short story manuscript and update the word count as you type with a simple keyboard shortcut.

Downloading, installation, and usage instructions here.

(For you eager users of Microsoft Word, I'll get to you soon. I'm far more comfortable in WordPerfect, which I've been using faithfully ever since version 4.0 for DOS, and even so, the programming and page-building took quite a bit longer than I expected.)


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 18th, 2005 05:08 pm (UTC)
Holy crap, WP gives me problems when I'm dealing with electronic manuscripts! I had to go so far as installing it on my home computer (when I had a PC) so I could translate the files from old versions (which writers inevitably use) into more compatible Word documents.

Don't get me started about the time I got an e-version on one of those big floppy discs ... in 2001!
Aug. 18th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC)
Someone was using an 8-inch CP/M disc in 2001?! (Oops, I'm dating myself.)

I do firmly believe that anyone who insists on comtinuing to use WordPerfect in this Microsoft age must learn how to convert their files to Word format before submitting them. It's just common sense.

Even though I can find my way around in Word, I much prefer the elegance of the WordPerfect file format, with its container tags that emulated SGML and made it perfectly suited to XML conversion long before XML became a standard. That, and I was a developer on WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS back in the early 90s, and I still can't forgive Microsoft for the fake ad they faxed us once that had a picture of Cary Grant running from a plane in North by Northwest and announced the "WP Developer Point-and-Shoot" program, whereby consumers could receive a free copy of Word by delivering a dead WordPerfect developer to Redmond, no questions asked. Okay, it was funny. But still.
Aug. 18th, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
Of course, I won't name any names, but authors you'd expect to know better (like, ones with books out and stuff) have only just made the switch to sending me Word files I can use easily with Quark.

You won't believe the lengths I went through to get that floppy to yield its data. I had to bring it to the local public school, where they ran old computers, and convert it that way into an ASCII text file. How's that for above and beyond? We just didn't have a drive in the office that could handle such an anachronism.

That ad sounds great! I certainly appreciate WP and I know a lot of people still consider it the word processor. I guess it's kind of a shame that these different programs aren't more compatible so people can feel free to use whatever they like at home. Though admittedly a lot of our problems arose back then because we were using Mac systems. Things have gotten a lot more complimentary between Mac and PC in the last few years, it seems.
Aug. 18th, 2005 06:00 pm (UTC)
Boy, I wouldn't have thought you could still get those old discs. (Science fiction writers. Geez.) You certainly went the extra mile for that manuscript!

I keep thinking someone should develop a good public XML standard for manuscript sharing, which every word processor and page-layout app could export to and import from. Screw my rocket car. I want XMLms!

I sure wish I still had a copy of that ad. I used to have it around, but I think it got lost in one move or another.
Aug. 18th, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)
I miss Word Perfect. I think that it was the default word processor for Utah County, unsurprisingly, until about the time that Lotus or Corel or somebody bought 'em. And then it disappeared off the radar.
Aug. 18th, 2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
We were bought first by Novell in 1993 or 1994, and shortly thereafter I stopped being able to refer to WordPerfect as "we." Then Corel scooped them up from Novell's fumble and have owned it ever since. It never entirely disappeared—it's up to version 12 now—but it certainly got rolled and smoked by Microsoft Word. It was still the preferred app for legal offices for quite some time, but I think Word eventually supplanted it there too.

But good ol' WP is making a small comeback these days. I noticed recently in a Dell catalog that most of their new low-end systems were shipping with WP installed.

My only complaint is that they've stopped make Linux versions. Grrrr.
Aug. 18th, 2005 06:03 pm (UTC)
If you're really interested, Pete Peterson, who was like Employee 3 at WordPerfect, wrote a behind-the-sceneser about his time there. And it's online in its entirety.
Aug. 18th, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)
Eeeeenteresting. I'll have to read more of that.

It was weird seeing the strange implosive dance that went on there--I remember my dad telling me that Novell was buying WP, now that I've read the intro, and I remember thinking at the time that it was awesome that the company Dad worked for would soon own WP. (I was, maybe, 14 when all this was happening, and although I watched CNBC like Turtle Wexler, certain aspects of this takeover were totally eluding me.)

And then next thing you know, it was being sold to Corel, and poof! gone! I had to finagle one of the only copies from the Ricks College Lab, which is what I first typed up "In Xanadu" on. (That was my first finished story ever.)
Aug. 19th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC)
I tell you, from the front ranks of the company, all that stuff going on made no sense whatsoever.

Of course, the first big mistake WordPerfect made was not realizing that Windows was going to be so huge. They had a Windows version of WP5.1. but it wasn't very good, and it took them over three years to get WP6.0 for Windows released. Unfortunately, by then the battle was over, and Word had won.

Funny how attached you get to that early software you cut your teeth on. I first used WordPerfect in 1988, when I got back from my mission and found a PC in the house. That blue screen was really something—a field of infinite possibility. WP4.2. Damn.

The cool thing is, you can run WP12 in "WordPerfect Classic Mode," which sort of emulates WP5.1 by giving you that blue screen.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


William Shunn

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