Weirdness with Word

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I email my Word copy of a manuscript to my Kindle as part of the proofreading-editing-finalizing process before publishing. Lately I’ve found a problem, not with the manuscripts themselves, but with the chapter titles. I use a customized Word Style based on Heading 1, with built-in centering and a bold 14-point font (as opposed to the 12 point font for the body of the piece) for chapter headings.  The problem I’ve found is that not all chapter headings are being centered when it goes to Kindle.  It’s been very erratic; maybe the first few are centered, followed but a random few that aren’t, and then, about mid-way through, none of the chapter headings will be centered.  Mind you, on Word itself, it looks just fine, with all the chapter headings centered.

I posted the problem on the formatting forum on the KDP community. I got some suggestions that I should be using HTML rather than Word for a manuscript. That’s not going to happen.  I know enough about HTML to create italics or a bold type, but that’s not going to get me through an entire manuscript. Someone suggested that once the manuscript was uploaded to KDP, the problem would resolve itself on its own during the conversion to Mobi.  It didn’t.  Another suggestion was that I covert the file to Mobi myself. I suppose a conversion to Mobi on Calibre or whatever the program is that does that would become easy after I’d done it a few times.  But I’m not a techy and once I learned you could use Word for a KDP manuscript, I decided to stick with that.

One kind person, however, made the suggestion that I hit Enter before I start typing the chapter heading so that there is one empty line above it.  And that worked. All chapter headings have been centered since I started doing that.  (Prior to learning this trick, I simply changed them to flush on the left rather than have it look like I was, at best, inconsistent when I prepared the manuscript, or at worst, drunk.

If you find your headings coming out wonky, try the Enter trick. I hope it will work for you, too.

Does Writer = Drama Queen?

That thing that you do, after your day job, in your free time, too early in the morning, too late at night. That thing you read about, write about, think about, in fact fantasize about. That thing you do when you’re all alone and there’s no one to impress, nothing to prove, no money to be made, simply a passion to pursue. That’s it. That’s your thing. That’s your heart, your guide. That’s the thing you must, must do.” 

—Jes Allen

I received the above quote in a daily email  from Values.com. It seemed to fit in perfectly with what I had realized lately:  that there are two things I do which, once I start, I’m reluctant to stop. They are working in my yard and garden, and working on my books.  The two are actually related, because yard work is kind of mindless, and I use that time to plot and plan books.

Earlier this week, I had to take the morning off to wait for a repairman.  He was due at 11, and after working on my book from about 6 to 8, I decided I still had time to do some weeding. An hour turned to two, but I forced myself to stop so I could clean up and not be forced to keep at least 10 feet away from the repairman.

It was then that I discovered I had a tick bite.  The first time this happened it freaked me out – I mean, a bug has burrowed under my skin!  But I don’t live in an area with many deer and I have never heard of an outbreak of Lyme disease anywhere near me, so it ceased being a big deal.  I just pinched it out of my skin and went on with my day.

Or so I thought.  By noon, the area was swollen and red and about the diameter of a quarter.    By two, the area encompassed most of the underside of my arm and was giving off a lot of heat.

I try not to be a hypochondriac.  I was raised by one, who also, I sincerely believe, had Munchausen’s by Proxy given the number of times she’d drag my sister and me to the doctor having self-diagnosed us with some fatal disease (wishful thinking on her part?).  As a result, I tend to be dismissive of all things medical, and if I feel sick, I simply tell myself I’m not.

But this swollen arm bothered me greatly.  I began imagining what it would be like if I ended up having my arm amputated.  How would I write?  Yes, that was my big concern.  It was my right arm and I’m right handed. I didn’t think I could write with my left hand, and I prefer to use a computer anyway, and how could I type with just one hand? I know there are programs where you can dictate to your computer, but I much prefer writing; verbal communication is not my thing. I prefer email to phone without a doubt.

Long story short (or is it too late for that?), a few days have passed,  the swelling is back to being quarter-sized. It is still red and blistered where the tick had burrowed in, but otherwise, I am back to normal.  And I’m wondering why I had such a dramatic reaction to a bug bite (my mental reaction, not the physical reaction).  I don’t want to believe I’m turning into a hypochondriac, so I’ve decided it has to do with being a writer. I was giving my imagination free reign to play the situation to the hilt just in case there was something there I might be able to use someday in a scene in a book (thought that’s not the type of thing I write, at least at the present).

Has anyone else found that becoming a writer has turned you into a Drama Queen (I’m using the term generically; Drama King just doesn’t have the same ring to it)?