Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday

This week's topic: What word processing program do you use to write you manuscript, and can you share one handy trick you've learned in that program that has helped you while you write?

This week I'm way more excited to read everyone else's tips than contribute one myself.

I'm not of the computer generation. I do not touch function keys or the ctrl alt keys. I knew how to cut and paste when I started writing but didn't know about find and replace...what a relief when someone told me about that, especially for changing character names.

I'm definitely a Word girl. I've never tried a Mac.

The only thing I managed to stumbled upon along the way was how to do em-dashes, which is good because I tend to use them about as liberally as some people use exclamation points.

Just in case anyone doesn't know how to do em-dashes, if you have a word/letter then hit the dash key twice (the one to the right of zero) then write another word/letter and hit the space bar it will become an m-dash.

If you want an em-dash at the end of a line of dialogue, to indicate interruption by the next speaker, you need to put two quote marks after the two dash lines then delete the first one after the space bar is hit to leave only the quote mark that's facing the right way (on Word).

What about you? Any computer tricks of the trade to share?


  1. Whoa, I did not know that step to m-dashes. And I use them all the time. (My version of Word magically autocorrects to m-dashes as needed, but only about 85% of the time.)
    Although I am a Word for Mac person, which I guess is slightly different?

  2. Great tip on the m-dash. I don't use them that much but I'm sure these tips will come in handy.

  3. Em-dash addict right here. I use those puppies WAY too much. In fact, when I revise I have to seriously cut down on the em-dash usage. And I have to confess that I only just learned how to use the CTRL+F function within the last six months. That was especially handy when I had to change a character's name.

  4. Like Rebecca, I always just let Word fix the em-dashes for me. Thanks for sharing! I've been using the search function since my first manuscript. It really comes in handy for finding words and even scenes, if you know a scene has a certain phrase in it.

  5. I'm a fellow em-dash junkie (I actually have a blog post about it: )

    I had to re-learn how to do em-dashes when I switched from using Word to using Open Office. The shortcut is a little different, but I'm glad I found it, because I still use those buggers liberally.

  6. I didn't know that tip - thanks!
    Love search and replace, particularly when i overuse a phrase.

  7. Another em-dash addict in the group. :)

  8. Very good hints for a non-computer person Jennifer! I'm impressed. :0)

  9. It's different for Mac. I am using a PC right now, but I think on a Mac you can hit shift + option + -. I'm also a Word user.

  10. One of my very first writing CPs taught me that and I was ever so GRATEFUL. I LOVE me some em-dashes!

  11. Fellow em-dash addict here! One tip I have is to right click and choose the Paragraph properties.. set your first line indent to .5" -- then you'll never have to "tab" a new paragraph again.

  12. its such a nice & Awesum blog provide info
    hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!
    for more plz visit
    Claim your PPI Refund