Saturday, November 26, 2011
Tips and Tricks...
This month's blog is on hyperlinks. Hyperwhat? Hyperlinks...those little blue underlined words you see in the middle of articles that when clicked, link you to other places on the web.
So? What about them?
I'll tell you...
If they end up attached to your manuscript, even in a hidden, innocuous way, they will wreak havoc in your digital formatting.
Like a parasite, they attach themselves to words or phrases in your manuscript, and you most likely won't realize it until it's too late. Trust me...I just went through the nightmare of cleaning up the mess they can cause.
If you're like most writers today, you use the internet to do research. You look up facts, double and triple check the sources, order books on historical topics or locations...all with the aim of giving your readers the most factually correct information you can within the fiction you create. This is where a hyperlink can attach itself without your even knowing it. All it takes is one cut and paste. It can be something as simple as cutting and pasting the proper name of a place or historical person, (even if it's just for the correct spelling), and BAM! Hyperlink. The source text doesn't even have to be blue...or underlined, to contain a hyperlink. That's what makes them so hard to catch.
So, what can they do to your manuscript?
How about missing words or even missing blocks of text, for one. In my manuscript, the entire second half of my book ended up underlined. The hyperlink was attached to the name of a town in Spain that I had gotten from a source article. One word caused a tremendous amount of trouble, and the problem wasn't detected until a reader emailed me. Even the master digital copy my publisher had didn't show the problems. It wasn't until the digital file was converted for Kindle and Nook that the problems became visible.
Needless to say, the hyperlink had embedded itself in the last half of the document, three layers deep. It took days of line by line reformatting to fix.
I have since emailed Microsoft, and found that removing a hyperlink when the manuscript is still in word format is the easiest way to handle things. Select all and hit CTRL+SHIFT+F9 and that should remove all hidden hyperlinks from your document.
I'm not sure how well that works, but I do know one thing. I will NEVER cut and paste a proper name from the Web...or anything else for that matter...again.
Readers are hard enough to come by and keep, without adding to things.
I hope this post helps some other unsuspecting author from making the same mistake I made.
All the best,