Want .doc/.docx format, or a plain text download

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Want .doc/.docx format, or a plain text download

Postby crit27980 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:28 am

I have found the critiquing of text files to be overly burdensome. Of particular note is the requirement to delete all non-critiqued lines. This is a huge waste of time.rr

I critique in several groups, and I do it by adding comments to the .doc/.docx files. While I agree with the FAQ that not everyone can read these, could we get these files via a download link in the email?

I have not been active for a couple years because using email on my iPad is an extremely frustrating mechanism. I use Word on my iPad to do all my critiques. If I could use Word, I would be active again; otherwise, I should simply drop out.

If the submission is a pure text file, I would still want a link; I could import it to Word and comment on the imported text. Even trying to extract the text from an email on an iPad is frustrating. But as soon as I have to start deleting lines, I have found that the cost to me is so high that I do not even want to start. It often took me more time to do the selective line deletion than it did to do the critique. This was no longer viable, and I stopped. In particular, I sometimes deleted lines earlier than made later critiques hard to understand. For example, on what might have been page 3 there is a description of a nine-foot green alien, and on what might have been page 27 the alien is six feet tall and bright orange. I had no critique of the lines on the hypothetical page 3, and they got deleted. But a critique of the lines on page 27, given the text was not paginated, I can't even refer back to the earlier lines, because they were deleted. I consider the whole mechanism to be lose-lose. Yes, you have been doing it for 21 years, but how many more critiques might you have gotten done in that time if the mechanism had been more seamless? I cannot be the only person frustrated by the format requirements.
Name: Joseph Newcomer
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 4:58 am

Re: Want .doc/.docx format, or a plain text download

Postby crit33533 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 4:30 pm

This is kind of a crosspost from the Script, Screenplay, and Stageplay Writing workshop.

I have to agree. The plaintext limitation is particularly burdensome for screenwriting. While I do understand the use of plaintext interchange to simplify estimation of critique wordcount and thereby facilitate fairness in the guild-style points system, the problem is that it simply does not work for screenplay critiquing.

A screenplay must adhere rigidly to font, margin, and indent/tab standards. Underscores and asterixes substituting for underlining and italicization can significantly bloat dialogue and action line count, and can push page count higher. And of course it slows down the read with visual clutter. An important part of a screenplay critique is evaluating appearance of action and dialogue on the page, and of course page count is the first thing that industry readers check.

The screenplay text of screenplay crit "#26691" as-received is unreadable and unsalvageable, a real misery (to try) to read. Proper screenwriting programs can export to .rtf or the de facto industry-standard Final Draft .fdx format.

Finally, it is burdensome to have to mess with cutting and pasting huge blocks of text from email into a proper editor-- a real disincentive to participation here. Why not be able to provide links to a dropbox or google docs folder?

I would encourage critique.org to broaden its awareness of industry standards vis-á-vis screenplay format, and to update its critique points system to accommodate file formats and online accessibility that meet the real-world needs of writers.
Name: alex templeton
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:07 am

Re: Want .doc/.docx format, or a plain text download

Postby crit33524 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:59 am

There is free software for many operating systems - Windows, OSX, Linux, Android, and iOS, among others - that can read and edit docx files. Including multiple versions and descendants of OpenOffice on each of those platforms that I'm personally familiar with.

Google Docs also supports docx, so in theory anyone with an internet connection and a web browser can work with that format.

I strongly suspect that not supporting docx costs this site more users than would be lost by insisting on using it exclusively. And of course there's the in-between option of allowing more than one format.

Maintaining two "official" versions of a document is not an option sensible people accept, so any format your writing software doesn't directly support is inconvenient - how inconvenient, varies. And who wants to write, nowadays, with software that doesn't even support word-wrap?

My tool of choice (oStorybook, runs on machines with Java installed) likes to export in HTML format. LibreOffice can read that and write it out again in docx or several other formats - including a text format that does not meet Critters specifications. As a newcomer with nothing invested and no reputation I was about to give up on the Critters group and look elsewhere, but instead put a couple hours into developing a Linux bash script (see below) to fix that text format.

(For anyone who wants it, here's that rather-short script - it uses only very-standard Unix/Linux utility programs, and runs very fast with no user feedback):
Code: Select all
# convert single line breaks to double,
# concurrently change em dashes to en dashes,
# then format it to 67 chars with word wrap
sed -e '/^$/d;G' -e 's/–/-/g' "$1" | fmt -w 67 > "$1.fixed.txt"
Name: Don Edwards
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 4:09 am

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