Embarrassing submission

Tuesday, on my way to work, I had this fun idea for a short story. Suffice to say, it’s a zombie story, but not your typical blood and brains kind of story.

So during breaks and lunch at work, I hand wrote it. When I got home, I had six pages of my scribble on legal paper to transcribe. Which I did. Then I edited it. Then I tried to figure out a genre. I guess zombies fit in as generic sci-fi, depending on how they came into being. It definitely isn’t a horror story.

Then I opened up Duotrope and did a search for likely markets. There were several that came up and randomly I picked “Clarkesworld.” “Fantasy and Science Fiction,” which I’ve been trying to break into since childhood still only takes snail mail dead tree paper submissions and since it was already after 10pm, I was too tired to print everything out and create a submission package. So “Clarkesworld” it was.

As an aside, I have a new computer and I use LibreOffice, a freeware Office Suite modeled after Microsoft Office. I’ve generally been happy with it until that night.

“Clarkesworld” uses on online submission form and they prefer their submissions in .RTF format. No problem. LibreOffice exports to that. So I made the file. Submitted everything. Then went to bed.

The next day, I was working on another story and converted that story to a .DOC format. Then I opened it and realized I had lost my headers. That’s when something made me open the .RTF from the previous night.

Crap. Not only were the headers gone, ALL formatting was gone. The document was now single spaced and all screwed up. I knew that as soon as the slush pile reader over at “Clarkesworld” opened it and saw that I didn’t follow any manuscript formatting guidelines that I’d be rejected out of hand.

Which it was. I knew a zombie story, even a non-traditional one might be rejected anyway, since it says in their guidelines that zombies are a hard sell, but because I didn’t do a simple double-check of my converted document, I ruined whatever small chance the story might have had to begin with.

So like any good writer, I decided to blame my tools. It was all LibreOffice’s fault. What’s the point in having menu options for saving your work in other formats if doing so causes all sorts of glitchy shit? (If you’re wondering how I submitted in the past, my older laptop had an ancient version of MS Office 97. I usually wrote everything in OpenOffice, saved to Word, opened in Word, then saved to whatever format I needed. But I didn’t load MS Office 97 on my new Win8 laptop. I just assumed it wouldn’t be compatible, so I downloaded LibreOffice and simply forgot I used to have that extra step of resaving from Word.)

So a Facebook friend suggested trying the Atlantis Word Processor. It’s similar to LibreOffice and OpenOffice in that it has the look and feel of MS Office. But it differs in that it actually does save documents in .RTF or .DOC formats without losing anything.

So far, I’m really liking this program, especially the typewriter sound effects, and at this point I anticipate buying the program outright when the trial period is over with.

So, thank you, Mary, for the suggestion.

But now I have a ton of writing to convert from LibreOffice’s own native .ODT format. I’m going to be busy, busy, busy.

-30-

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