tagHow ToHow to Format on Lit

How to Format on Lit

bySean Renaud©

I'm one of the longest running active authors on lit so I speak with a little authority when I say the things I'm about to say. I'm not the most talented author on here , not by a long shot, in fact a lot of the time I've been called a talentless hack who should give up writing, set my computer on fire, and kill myself and not always in that particular order. I'm not the most famous or popular or anything like that, but I'm also a ravenous reader of Lit, and a proud owner of the original book. Believe me even if you're like me and your name isn't featured in that grand tomb it makes for one of the best conversation pieces money can buy. Though you might want to remember to get it off the coffee table when your parents show up or your sister brings the younguns. It certainly started a conversation but not really one I was interested in having.

One of the things that I've noticed over the years of reading Lit is that very few authors use any sort of formatting in their stories and that's for a lot of reasons. Literotica doesn't come with instructions on how to properly format your stories, I had to dig through the forums to find out what the accepted formats are. There isn't or at least wasn't a How to explaining this shit and for new authors there really should be, especially since many of the authors don't know themselves how to do some of this.

Now some of you are long time readers might be thinking what's the point in having formatting in your stories and if that's you I can only shrug. I mean if I have go and explain the amount of character it adds then helping you might be beyond my power.

I think it's past time we got this moving don't you? So it's time to get this moving a bit more swiftly. So lets pick one thing and start there.

All of these formats must be put between angle brackets which are those alligator things from school that eat the bigger numbers over your comma and period. When you are finished with a format be it bold, italics, centering, underlining or block text you need to end it with a forward slash or virgule. Yeah, most of us have never heard the word virgule and it sounds kinda dirty.

Italics. I tend to use this when someone is thinking something but not necessarily saying it, it's also good for when something is supposed to be said icily so it sees a lot more use amongst my female characters when they are being a tad bit bitchy than anything else. Hell I should probably just title it the bitchy font and move on from there though they have other things. If you want to use italics the letter you need to use is an i. It doesn't matter if it's capitalized or not between.

Bold. This is another favorite of authors. I tend to use it on the rare occasion that I need to info dump something secret agent style or when someone is shouting and caps lock just won't accurately convey the thunder in their voice. You can of course is it for whatever the hell you want. I sometimes call it the shout or thunder font. The letter for it is b and follow the above with the angle brackets and virgule.

Underlining. I don't find a lot of use for this in stories to be honest. It's intrusive and doesn't seem to portray (to me) a particular mood or anything. If I use it it's usually to give a specific bit of information that's going to be important later or if I'm making a messy scene change. So I might use one like a time location stamp but probably not.

Blockquoted text.

I never use this at all, and actually had to stop to look up why you would and as a story writer I can only imagine using to for if your character receives a letter and you want to show it completely. Personally I would use italics here but that could be the one of the reasons why I don't have a crap ton of those lovely red H's that tell you you're a great author not a hack.

Finally we have centering and it's ugly.

The way to code it I mean. It's borderline real computer programming for fucks sake.

Centering is a great option for authors because it allows us to set titles and chapter breaks neatly, if you're one of the very few writers who decide to write novels and novellas or even particularly long stories on Lit. Most of us can't be bothered with that either as writers or as readers but still it's nice.

[p align="center">Those square brackets should be angle brackets. [/p]

Given the amount of detail there I assume there are other things we can do like right aligning in fact

>Hey it worked!

There are probably more but that's a little past my pay grade unfortunately.

You can use hyperlinks but since you can only use other Lit stories and I've yet to find an etiquette rule for linking to stories that aren't yours it's a bit pointless. Though I have occasionally mused about writing stories where characters are reading other, better stories. Then I realize my readers won't come back and screw that!

I hope this has been helpful, I wish I'd known some of this sooner. If you know of any that I skipped please leave them in the messages below.

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