tagHow ToTesting Story Formatting

Testing Story Formatting

byWeird Harold©

This tutorial is in response to a thread on the Bulletin board regarding formatting problems with a story where the author had included the HTML codes for Italics in the text to save Laurel time in preparing the story for posting.

What follows is a way for authors to preview stories on their computer before submitting them. If you follow the checklist step by step, you should get an accurate preview of how your story will look on Literotica, down to the line lengths and font. The test file does not even require that you have an active Internet connection to test your story.


In order to use this process, you will need a word processor than can do the following:

A: Global find and replace on "Special Characters" (Paragraph marks and manual line feeds.)

B: Save files in "pure text" or ASCII format.

C: (optional) Find changed formats i.e. Italics and Bold face.

D: An Internet browser.

The steps:

1: Cut and paste the following HTML code into your word processor and save it as a text only file. Use a name that is simple to remember, and in a place you won't forget where it is. On my system, It is in My Documents as Story Test.txt.

----------- Cut Here ----------

 <title>Story Formatting Test</title>
<body text="#000000" vlink="#0000FF" alink="#FC0000">
 <table cellspacing="5" border="0" width="564">
   <td align="left" colspan="3">
    <font size="2" face="Verdana,Arial,Helvetica, sans-serif">

----------- End Cut Here ----------

2: Prepare your story for submission by placing <I> at the beginning of Italics and </I> at the end of Italics. (Also add whatever other other HTML coding you plan to include.) If your story has no special HTML formatting needs, you can skip this step.

NOTE: If you are using HTML code in your story, the story should NOT include left carets or right carets that aren't part of HTML commands. Use the HTML commands "&lt;" and "&gt;" in their place.

3: Copy both the text file created in step one and your story file to create working copies you don't mind messing up irrevocably.

4: Open your story file and do two global find and replace operations

 a: Find all paragraph marks and replace them with "<br>"

 b: Find all manual line breaks and replace with "<br>"

Note: Do not include the quotation marks.

5: Select the body of your story (without the title and byline, but including any copyright notice or author's comments) and copy it to your clipboard.

6: Open the copy of the text file created in step one.

7: Select the three asterisks near the middle of the text, (They're on line ten,) and paste the body of your story in their place.

8: SAVE the combined text AS a text file named 'TEST.HTM' (or whatever you want to name the HTML file.) NOTE: The file name must end in '.HTM' or '.HTML'

9: Close the combined file.

10: Open TEST.HTM with your browser and examine it for formatting errors.

Repeat steps Two through Ten as required to remove any formatting problems.

(One potential formatting problem that this process can't expose, is a block of Italics that overlaps the webpage break inserted by Literotica's scripts. It occurs somewhere around 3000 to 4000 words or the middle of page eleven the way I have my fonts and margins configured.)

Some potential problems:

Smart Quotes that don't display properly.
Characters with Accent, Umlaut or Tilde.
Single character versions of ellipses and long dashes
Foreign characters like Pound and Yen signs, and the German Essen.
Fractions and Exponents or superscript and subscript characters.
"White Space" (multiple spaces or tab characters.)

Most of these problems can be corrected by adding the HTML codes for the characters that don't display properly. Listing all of the possible codes you may need is beyond the scope of this article, however lists are readily available online or in books on HTML. HTML for Dummies has a fairly complete list.

One final Caveat before I send you off to play: This process will insure that your story properly formats with YOUR browser. There is no guarantee that it will not have problems with other browsers or even the same browser on another system. It will give you a bit more confidence that you haven't missed an HTML command or 'special' character somewhere.

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byWeird Harold© 4 comments/ 69955 views/ 11 favorites

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