1. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Microsoft word - is it evil?

    Discussion in 'Software' started by JadeX, Jul 21, 2015.

    So far I've been doing all of my writing on MS Word, because it's what I have and it's what I know how to use, and I don't really see the point in downloading any new programs when what I have works just fine and well for my own personal purposes. However, as a writer, I can't help but feel bad about using it because... well, it's Microsoft Word, what more do I have to say? It's just... basic. I feel like nobody is ever going to treat me seriously as long as I use it. I feel like it's akin to a graphic designer using MS Paint, or a Motocross racer riding a child's tricycle, or a professional marksman using a water gun... you get the picture. Just the fact that I use something so basic and ubiquitous, something that everyone else has, it's embarrassing.

    My question is, am I just being paranoid and overly self-conscious, or am I right in fearing that any publisher will laugh heartedly and blacklist me as an 'amateur' before tossing me out into the street without reading a singe word? I personally have no problem with using it as long as nobody else does, but I can't imagine that they wouldn't. If I continue to write using MS Word, am I committing writer's suicide?

    (note: please don't just take this as an opportunity to push programs on me. I would like an answer to my questions first. Thanks.)
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, most publishers prefer you send your MS in doc or docx format.
    So... yeah.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    MSWord is the standard, so no one is going to think twice about you using it. It puts you in the majority as far as I can tell. Lots of markets want Word docs specifically. Smashwords recommends .doc format in their style guide. It's not basic, either. If you want a basic word processor, there are dozens of alternatives. What gave you the idea that using Word was unacceptable?
     
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  4. Snoreos
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    Snoreos Member

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    You have made me feel quite amateurish for writing my story on Microsoft Word and backing it up with Google docs.

    The point is, at the end of the day, does it really matter what processor you use? It's your words that count, and even if it does matter, there is always ctrl+A, ctrl+C and ctrl+V into a new word processor if absolutely necessary.
     
  5. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Really? Wow, I had no idea. That's literally the opposite of what I expected! Thanks... that's quite a relief to learn.

    I don't know, probably the fact that default programs (and especially Microsoft programs) are generally laughed at in most other fields of work. From my experience, you're not considered a "professional" at anything unless you use some kind of unique, non-mainstream program that only professionals use, usually one that you have to pay for and is uber-expensive (like Abode Photoshop in graphic design, for example). In just about everything else, "free" = "beginner-level". So just the fact that it's a default program that comes pre-installed on most systems is more than enough to make me leery about it. Not to mention the level of disdain most people hold for Microsoft products in general.
     
  6. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    @JadeX

    What caused you to expect people to be so judgmental?
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe an idiosyncrasy within certain professions. I have worked in scientific research, and, for the last 15 years, in law firms. I also deal with engineers and scientists every day. Almost everyone is using Word, and these are all professionals. When it comes to the publishing market, a lot of people who don't write in Word end up pasting into Word for submissions when the market wants Word format.

    Use what you're comfortable with. If that's Word, you're using what most people use.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Also, I note that Word isn't free. You used to get a stripped down word processor called Works, and I think you still get a free, stripped down trial version of Word on many PCs when you buy them, but if you want to use Word beyond that initial period you have to buy the software or the $9.99 per month subscription. There was a preview version of Word at one point that might now have expired, but it was stripped down to fairly basic functionality.
     
  9. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    If anything, what a "professional" needs is not expensive or non-mainstream software, but software that enables the user to get the job done. Sounds like Word lets you get your job done just fine. And its file format is about as ubiquitous as PDF; you can expect anyone to be able to read and edit a Word file even if they do not have Word installed.
    Do you encounter a lot of LaTeX?
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Not really. I don't think I've ever had a client using LaTeX. Or maybe they use it internally and send documents out in another format. I've tried it a few times in Linux but didn't care for it.
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't understand why you'd want to use anything other than MS Word. It's a good program - does it's job perfectly well.
     
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  12. JadeX
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    JadeX Active Member

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    Thanks everyone, you've been a great help. For once, I'm glad to find out that I'm totally wrong and over-paranoid! xD
     
  13. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    MS Word is perfectly fine for writing.

    I can understand people wanting to use the fancy writing software, but MS Word has everything you need.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ah, but Adobe Photoshop still produces a standard file type, right? (Is it TIFF or am I in the past?) Nobody says, "Oh, you're using that standard file type that everybody can use and open? How silly! Use this fancy exotic file type that nobody can use, and then they'll know you're a professional!"

    Word is more of a file type than a tool. You can produce Word files with Word, but also with Scrivener and other things. Really, all you want is a big bag of words, very simply formatted.

    Now, Word is also a sufficient tool, because the primary tool that you use in creating your manuscript is your brain. Photoshop offers all sorts of things that expand what your brain can do, but with writing, it's really just your brain and language. I find Word not underpowered, but overpowered; it's cluttered with all sorts of nonsense that I have no use for.

    (Edited to add: Scrivener, arguably, may expand what your brain can do, with all of its organizational and other tools. But the end result is still a big bag of simply-formatted words, so no one needs to know or care what tool you used.)
     
  15. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As others have said, the importance lies not in which program you use to write the text, but rather in the format you present it when submitting to a publisher. Word is a strong word processor (probably the strongest), so there is no reason for it not to be the standard in many industries. Because of this, files are often expected to be in .doc or .docx format. As long as the word processor you end up using has the possibility to save in .doc(x) format (or you're willing to copy-paste into Word and spend hours fixing the page format), it doesn't matter what software you use to write in.
     
  16. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    In fact, the opposite is true. Commonly used standard formats are preferable to obscure formats and open standards are preferable to proprietary formats.
     
  17. Song
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    Song Active Member

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    I think it's evil just because I can't delete American English from it and it likes to switch back to it as default. I have my whole windows system in Chinese but because I had the American English language pack in it, the system totally switched back into English (which I don't want because I'm trying to maintain my second language in the UK).

    Oh well, first world problems can be a pain!
     
  18. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    I had that problem for a while, but I just changed it in the option and hit 'OK' and it's been fine ever since. :)

    American's English is meh. :supertongue:
     
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  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I cannot imagine anyone thinking of MS Word as evil or "writer's suicide". Nope, not even me, and we all know how much I dislike MS Word. As everyone else has already stated, all that matters at the end is that you hand over an acceptable .doc or .docx file. How that file came to be, how it was birthed, its provenance, lineage, parentage, however you want to look at it, is of no importance to the person who will be judging your writing. You don't hand over a copy of your Microsoft Office or Scrivener license key along with your manuscript, right? Right. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that you use something that works well for you. Know yourself as a consumer and a user and make your decisions accordingly. Ignore those who would sneer or snub you for your use of one platform or another. Their focus is in the wrong place.
     
  20. Patrick Burrows
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    Patrick Burrows New Member

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    MS Word is definitely the standard. Everyone wants that when you submit your article to a publisher, agent, or whatever.

    That said, I often think Word is evil just because it is relatively easy to lose your work. Recent versions have made that better because they save drafts -- so if your computer crashes (or reboots or whatever) before you've hit save, you can go back and recover your work. But it still isn't perfect. You can still make "dumb" mistakes yourself (like accidentally highlighting a paragraph and then typing, not realizing that you just overwrote a paragraph! (wait, no, that's never happened to me! no, really....)). Using an editor that tracks your revisions with every keystroke just makes me feel safer. If i screw up, I can easily go back and recover what I accidentally deleted.

    (makes revising easier, too).
     
  21. Song
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    Song Active Member

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    It's good for Americans but MS seem to forget the other countries in the world haha. I just deleted the language pack from windows 8, so now it can pretty much only select Chinese (which has an English option anyway).
     
  22. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ctrl+Z and the deleted text is instantly returned to its former glory. :)
    Ctrl+S once a minute (or more), and there's no risk of losing one's work. ;)
     
  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No, not really. And please forgive me for being admittedly painfully pedantic in this, but this phrasing is what perpetuates the idea that MS Word is the one and only thing one can use to submit something professional. MS Word is not what publishers want. A .doc or .docx file is what they want. One thing is not the other.
     
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  24. fivetoesten
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    fivetoesten Member

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    How about LyX?
    LyX is a pretty nice LaTeX frontend.
     
  25. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really like LyX. There has never really been anything I wanted to do with it and could not do, and it is a pleasure to use.
     

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