Formatting Text Files For Upload

This document is intended to help authors format their text files so they will be most effectively converted to HTML for inclusion in the archive.

Contributed by Merry Lynne; originally written for the due South fanfic archive. Many thanks to Merry for writing this up!

  1. Use the Preview feature
    The archive now allows you to preview your stories before you actually post them. Please use this option! All the special formatting tricks mentioned below to allow italicizing, bolding, underlining, etc, will be correctly previewed. If you see something looking odd in the preview, it's going to look odd in the final version: try tweaking your text file to fix it.
  2. Saving As Text
    A text file is any file with a name that ends with .txt and which contains no special formatting. This file will have no indents, no special centering, no bold text, no italicized text, no underlined text, etc. Almost every word processor has two ways to save a file: Save, and Save As. If you choose Save As, you will more than likely be offered an option such as "Save as what file type?" or "Type of File" or "Save as Type?" Among your choices will be Text, Text Only, ASCII Dos Text, or something of that nature. Any one of those will usually do the trick. If you have a choice between Text Only and Text Only with Line Breaks, choose the Text Only option. Text Only with Line Breaks makes for a very messy archived story.
  3. Paragraph Formatting
    Every line of text will begin flush with the left margin -- if you have tabs or indents at the beginning of paragraphs, these must be removed before you upload the file. You should hit return an extra time between paragraphs, so each paragraph will be separated by a blank line.
  4. Content of File
    The upload interface will automatically put your story header information in your story file, so don't include anything in the text file that you are entering in the archive upload form, like title, your name, pairings, summary, notes, etc. The archive software will put the title in a nice bold header at the beginning for you, along with your name and email link for feedback. Any your story header information that you enter in the upload form will also be included in the story, nicely formatted and easy for readers to find.
  5. Formatting To Avoid
    Do not use upper case letters to show emphasis like shouting or screaming. Do not use // to show thought or, really, to show anything at all. These things will cause your archived story to look very odd.
  6. Bolding, Underlines, Italics, Divider Lines
    You can bold a line of text, italicize or underline sections of text or insert divider lines.

    *text* will become text

    _text_ will become text

    TEXT will become TEXT
    (Note that this only works on full lines of capitalized text, not a single word or section of text in a paragraph)

    three asterisks on a separate line will become a divider line like below:

    For poems or quotes, indent the lines with five blank spaces and keep the lines short, approximately 40 characters, like this:
         Anyone can do any amount of work provided it
         isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at
         the moment.
         -- Robert Benchley (1889 - 1945)

The End