Microsuck Word is the spawn of the devil
Working with Microsuck Word is like discussing nuclear physics with an idiot child, excepting that the idiot child will certainly be more likable. Word, on the other hand, is simply stupid and frustrating.
How did people become convinced that Word is an effective word processor? Word is a piece of shit. It is possibly the worst word processor on the market. Open Office Writer, which foolishly emulates Word, may be the second-worst—but at least the price is right. WordPerfect, which nobody seems to use anymore, is the best. But because the world believes that .doc is a standard document exchange format, if you write, you will be forced to use Word.
I am wrestling with Word this evening because June 7 is my deadline to send in certain excerpts of my upcoming novel to certain magazines, or to face the certain wrath of their editors. And if MS Word is hell, then excerpting novels is the vile purgatory to which you’re sent not because of any possible redemption, but simply because Charon is patching a leak in his boat.
Editors of little magazines are correct in their refusal to run excerpts that are not self-contained, and no excerpt really is. Trying to excerpt a chunk of novel that’s almost self-contained is painful, I find. It is not simply that the excerpt must somehow break free of the novel’s plot. It’s worse than that.
The real problem is that the best writing in any decent novel comes about after the novel has developed its own internal language. As relationships between characters develop, dialogue begins to carry weight that is understood only in the context of the whole. This is true of the narrator’s words also. The words don’t carry any weight out of context, so everything that is good about the work is lost.
I believe that any chunk of a novel that you can easily excerpt—any chunk that depends neither on the novel’s plot, nor on its internal language—is probably filler that you should have cut out.
Nevertheless, this task is finished.
I am now in the unusual position of having nothing left to do on this thing—unusual, because I’ve been hacking away at it for seven years. I’m sure there’s a typo in there someplace, but that doesn’t count. I feel bereft.
It’s frightening, actually. I might have to come up with a new idea.