Notes Of A Storyteller: The Day Notepad++ Vanquished Sean McGuire

There’s a reason I cancelled my features last week while I was coding The Quest.

HTML is not nearly as easy as it should be. I scoffed when I first found I would have to do it. After much googling, David Gaughran, The Creative Penn, and Guido Henkel convinced me to go through and code the whole novel. This meant putting paragraph codes on every single paragraph, at the beginning and the end, and taking every single quotation and inserting quotation codes, and other minutiae that I loathe and despise.

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate details. When I get the essential concept of something, I don’t like making the effort to learn about all the details that stem from that one concept. You can imagine, then, how much this task seemed like drudgery.

Well, I made it through, and if you don’t believe me, you can check out that pretty fantasy novel on the Kindle Store to find out otherwise. For those of you that also want to self-publish online, you came to the wrong post. I am not the Alpha and Omega of e-book construction. Neither is Guido Henkel, by any means, but please check out his free guide on e-book formatting. It’s the only reason I got my own book online in one piece.

The only thing I have to add is a stern lesson.  I started reading Guido’s guide… and then began to skim it. I felt brilliant. There were only certain pockets of information I needed here! I just needed to pick them out and move on and get the job done! And then I would have more writing time.

This worked out perfectly until I hit paragraph tags. The software I use (and highly recommend) for HTML formatting is Notepad++. There’s a replacement function on there that puts Microsoft Office to shame. Not only can I replace one group of words with another, I can enter in groups of words and symbols that do more advanced things.

There were two different codes that Guido recommended entering for paragraph tags. Either one would do the same thing: put paragraph codes at the beginning and the end of each paragraph… with the click of a button.

<p>It’s really cool. It makes all of the paragraphs in my document look like this.</p>

Well, turns out only one of those codes that Guido suggested actually works in Noepad++. And I was skimming through the document, and th eonly code i saw was the one that didn’t work.

3 days later, I finished manually inserting the paragraph codes for the beginning of the paragraphs. Then I went back to the website and found the regex function that actually worked. 5 minutes later all my codes were in place.

My advice to you is twofold.

1) Read David Gaughran, The Creative Penn, and Guido Henkel.

2) Read them thoroughly and do not skip a single freaking sentence.

3) I am a compulsive liar.

4) Download Notepad++, because it’s hard enough coding HTML on there without grappling with Microsoft Office Word.