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Re: Book writing mode?
Re: Book writing mode?
Wed, 26 May 2004 12:44:19 -0400
> Is there any more then me out there who write articles, books or longer
> storys and uses Emacs? If so what mode do you use for easy editing and
> do write your text using HTML, DocBook etc or so for easy publishing?
That's exactly what I do. I'm a free-lance news reporter (local government
and features) in the U.S. who works from home. I figure Emacs makes me at
least a third more productive, at least I like to think so. I'm also
working on my third book.
For news stories, which are short, I write in paragraph-indent-text-mode
generally with refill-mode turned on. I use the block style, which is what
you see here, because I don't need to tab so I don't have problems hitting
the caps lock key. Plus it just seems to me more natural and quicker.
I have a macro to convert the blocks to tabbed paragraphs and long-lines
when I'm done. This is because Emacs' hard carriage return method of line
breaking is not what newspapers want. No editor is going to want to
assemble lines by hand. Also it facilitates searching my old articles by
grep, which I do daily, since for many news stories I need background
material, or at least a small fact, like how to spell the copy machine
Another reason to use block style is that Emacs' tabbing is more set up for
programmers than writers.
I have tons of words programmed into flyspell-mode to fix frequent typos, to
capitalize uncapitalized proper nouns and to expand personal abbreviations
I take on the fly like "gonna" for "going to" or "hs" for "high school."
I use dired after I've completed and saved my story to remove the write
permissions for archival purposes. Faster than using an outside file
manager. I have an index with the entire pathway to the files for which I
have a macro that copies the name into the find-file function and pops up
that file at the push of a button. Yup. I don't work hard.
I have a large file with phone numbers, names and titles that I always have
going in a buffer. It's bookmarked so I can get to it easily. Since it has
the names I can use M-/ for completion of names that tangle my fingers and
for which I don't have flyspelled. I always have a minimum of five buffers
going: the list of phone numbers, my schedule, notes, my current work and
list of people I have to call.
I suspect we're getting into "More than you really wanted to know" here. But
I think that writers that use Emacs are a little underrepresented and maybe
we should trade productivity ideas. For example, I made a macro to take a
date of birth (I write about criminal sentencings also), delete it and
replace it with the proper age. Also another to perform simple addition.
I have three old Tandy 102 portables (only 32K, not Emacs compatible) that I
use to take notes when I'm covering events and meetings. They're great for
this. Obviously when typing furiously I make typos. Also to save time I
take notes all in lowercase. When I get back I feed the raw notes into the
Linux box by modem. After that I take a sed script with Emacs which fixes
many of the typos and capitalizes many of the words. That means I have less
fixing when cutting and pasting quotations.
When I originally started with Emacs I worked with auto-fill off so I could
tab. Now that I don't tab I use either auto-fill on with
auto-capitalization or with refill on without auto-capitalization. The
refill sometimes fools the auto-capitalization and capitalizes in the wrong
place. Since I don't really have a problem with not capitalizing words at
the start of sentences, in the last few weeks I've been switching back to
refill mode so I don't have to M-q.
Yeah, I switch back and forth on a lot of things.
I have refill and auto-fill modes bound to function keys so I can switch
them on and off as the occasion demands. They're both toggles.
As you can see from my signature I've written two books. I'm working on a
third. I wrote them using LaTeX using Auctex mode. It's quite handy (Thanks
David Kastrup). It colors the tags and even puts in some of them using
keyboard shortcuts. There's are even shortcuts for processing (compiling)
the LaTeX file and popping up the viewer. Emacs and Auctex make LaTeX
fiendishly efficient. Its only drawback is it doesn't seem to like refill
mode so you're back to M-qing again. For printing on paper, or for making
PDFs, LaTeX is the best.
So I've come to the conclusion that for people that spend a lot of time
writing--professional writers and probably secretaries--Emacs is the way to
go. The problem is that so few people want to learn something new even if
in the long run they're working less.
I already thanked David Kastrup but there are many others, including some in
this group, that have worked on Emacs, including the person that started it
all, Richard Stallman. Just two more I know of are Kai Grossjohann and
Kevin Rogers. Obviously there are many more and I would name them if I knew
all of them. But again, thank all of you for for helping make the greatest
writing tool in the world.
Author of "Linux for Non-Geeks--Clear-eyed Answers for Practical Consumers"
and "Boring Stories from Uncle Rod." Both are available at
To reply by e-mail, take the extra "o" out of the name.
Book writing mode?, juman, 2004/05/26
Re: Book writing mode?,
Re: Book writing mode?, Thien-Thi Nguyen, 2004/05/26
Re: Book writing mode?, Stefan Monnier, 2004/05/26
Re: Book writing mode?, Joe Corneli, 2004/05/28
Re: Book writing mode?, Joe Corneli, 2004/05/29
- Re: Book writing mode?, (continued)
- Message not available
- Re: Book writing mode?, Peter Milliken, 2004/05/26
- Re: Book writing mode?, Stefan Monnier, 2004/05/26
- Re: Book writing mode?, David Kastrup, 2004/05/26
- Re: Book writing mode?, Miles Bader, 2004/05/26
- Re: Book writing mode?, upro, 2004/05/26
- Re: Book writing mode?, Micha Feigin, 2004/05/27