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Writer’s Word

February 16, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as , ,
Keeping Track
by Jenny Hansen

Do you have critique partners? Editors? Agents? Family and friends that look over your Work in Progress?

I’m betting that you trade manuscripts with these people and that, for those of you who don’t know how to use Track Changes, you buy a lot of paper. And ink cartridges. And red pens (or whatever friendlier color you use to write in the margin and remind your critique partner to use an active verb).

Consider this article my Valentine’s gift to ease the bottom line on your purchases at Office Depot – we’re going to talk about how to use one of my favorite features in Word.

Microsoft Word’s Track Changes feature can be activated a few ways:

– Go to the Tools menu and choose Track Changes
– Hit Ctrl+Shift+E (remember, you don’t type the plus signs)
– Double click on TRK in the status bar at the bottom of your Word window.

Note: Your status bar is the area that starts with “Page 1” and “Sec 1.” On the right side of this status bar there is an area that says REC and TRK – these are grayed out unless they are activated. You may double-click on the TRK to activate the Track Changes feature (the REC is to record a macro, which is not covered here). You may double-click on the TRK again to toggle the feature back off. The darkened TRK in the status bar is the easiest way to tell at a glance that Track Changes is on.

When you turn on Track Changes, the following Reviewing toolbar will appear:

If you would like to turn this toolbar on and off separately from using Track Changes, simply go to the View menu and choose ToolbarsàReviewing, or right-click on any existing toolbar and then choose Reviewing from the shortcut menu. Since the Insert Comment and Reviewer Pane buttons are also accessible here, as well as a button to turn on Track Changes, this is an extremely great toolbar to keep on your screen.

Note: For those of you who are now using Word 2007, you do not have menus anymore –you have the Ribbon. You may add buttons and features to the Ribbon with the right-click method described above. Additionally, all the old shortcuts like Ctrl+Shift+E will work.

While the Track Changes feature is on, everything you do to a document is being recorded. The Reviewing toolbar has a great button on the far left that allows you to choose things like Original, Final or Final Showing Markup. This button is invaluable if you want to print out the manuscript without all the changes showing.

If you have set up your User Information in the correct tab in Options (located under the Tools menu) your initials will even appear next to the changes you make. If your critique partner decides to print up the document with the changes he or she will be able to tell your manuscript changes from that of your other critique partner who might be wild about head-hopping and adverbs.

My favorite part about the Track Changes feature is that the person receiving the critique can activate it on his or her own computer and choose to Accept or Reject Changes. Every change offered by a critique partner, editor or agent does not have to be accepted, as you know. At the end of the day, this is YOUR book.

Be sure to turn your Reviewing toolbar on and play with it – pass your mouse across all the buttons so that the yellow tool tip will tell you what each button means. As always, you can email me at jennyhansensmail@aol.com if you have more questions about the content in this blog.

In the meantime, Happy Writing! I hope Cupid was nice to you and your manuscript this month.

By day, Jen manages the sales and marketing for a national training firm (after 12 years as a corporate software trainer, it’s nice to be able to sit down while she works). By night, she writes women’s fiction, chick lit and short stories as Jenny Hansen.

She has been a member of OCC since 2001 and has served as the Orange Rose Contest Coordinator, as well as on OCC’s Board of Directors in a variety of capacities.

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Writer’s Word

December 17, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as ,

Words on 2007…
by Jenny Hansen

I planned an article on Track Changes for this month…really I did. Yet every time I’ve sat down to work on the blog, I’ve found myself writing other things — stories…emails…miscellaneous thoughts.

Christmastime is a very nostalgic season for me filled with family, traditions and memories of loved ones who are no longer here to celebrate. December marks the birthday of my first “baby girl” – 90 pound Akita, Hoshi – who just turned 12 today. That might not sound like a lot in dog years but in human years, she just turned 84. Impressive.

I made a celebration out of what could very well be her last birthday – bought pink party hats and a snazzy birthday bandana, gave her extra treats. We took her Golden Retriever friend, Tatum, to Dog Nirvana in Huntington Beach for a snack and a two mile walk…not bad for an old girl like Hosh.

Dog Nirvana is better known to locals as the Park Bench Café in Huntington’s Central Park where doggies get to eat breakfast (Hoshi had the Wrangler Roundup) with their humans and then walk along numerous trails, sniffing doggie smells and chasing ducks. If you’re an Orange County dog owner and you haven’t visited the Park Bench, you’re missing out! http://www.parkbenchcafe.com/

As we walked the trails, I looked down at my girl and lived in my memories of her. I thought of the changes we have weathered together these last twelve years: my entire 30’s, the tragedy of September 11th, the tearing grief of my mother’s death, the shining joy of my marriage. I’m hoping she will see the birth of my children and the advent of my 40’s next November.

Now that the party is over, she’s lying in a patch of sunlight in my office while I finish this article, snoring away as holiday music soars through the air.

After I post this, I will finish the baking I do every year at this time, bringing to life the treasures I’ve made each year for all my memory, as did my mother and her mother and grandmother before her. I make recipes like divinity, Almond Roca and Russian tea cakes that have been handed down through our generations.

Each November, I look forward to pulling out the package of papers and special notes, this one written in my grandmother’s elegant penmanship and that one in my mother’s bold scrawl. Each year, the ritual brings the shimmering presence of these strong women into my kitchen where I’m able to visit with them for a short time.

In a few hours, my house will smell like the home of my childhood and Hoshi will come lay her head against my leg and look up to give me “cute eyes”, begging for treats. In these final days of 2007, I wish each of you such a perfect day.

Next month is soon enough for the article on Track Changes…today is for family.

Happy Holidays!

By day, Jen manages the sales and marketing for a national training firm (after 12 years as a corporate software trainer, it’s nice to be able to sit down while she works). By night, she writes women’s fiction, chick lit and short stories as Jenny Hansen. She has been a member of OCC since 2001 and has served as the Orange Rose Contest Coordinator, as well as on OCC’s Board of Directors in a variety of capacities.

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Writer’s Word

November 17, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as ,

“Replace” the Tendonitis
by Jenny Hansen

At the November meeting our Esteemed Presidents plugged my column at the podium and invited anyone who had a question about Word to email me. One brave soul stepped right up and shared with me that her editing was giving her a BAD case of tendonitis.

Her question: I’d like to see the Find feature be enhanced in Word. When I edit, I use this to find my overused words like- she/her, was, “ly” adverbs, etc. I highlight them in different colors, then go back and edit them out. Problem is, I get tendonitis in my arm from working the mouse back and forth between the word and selecting the color! Is there any way to “hold” or “lock in” the color selection?

No one should have to deal with tendonitis from writing, especially with something like this that can be done so much easier. There are actually two fixes – one is more manual and one is more automatic. I will share both of them with you, along with some of my thoughts about the beauty of the Replace feature.

Manual method:

In all Microsoft programs, the F4 button on the keyboard means “do that again!” So if you highlight the word you want and set the color, then the next word you highlight should allow you to hit the F4 key and give you the color again. I can’t say this has a lot of finesse, but it will save your arm when it comes to changing the color of the words in the first place.

Note for those of you who do not know how to change the Font color in Word:
You can click on the Format menu and choose Font and pick a color from there (CTRL+D brings up the Font dialog box with no mousing) OR you can simply click on the last button of the Formatting toolbar. It looks like the letter “A” with a colored line under it. The color of the line will most likely be black but, if you’ve been playing with the colors, it will be the shade of the last color you chose.

Automatic method:

If the F4 method doesn’t work for you (perhaps you want your words to be bold AND purple), you might want to use the Replace feature instead.

The Replace command is located in the Find dialog box – it is the second tab. To use the keyboard: Find is brought up with the CTRL+F keyboard shortcut, Replace is brought up with CTRL + H. I also know people who like to double-click with their mouse on the Status bar at the bottom of the screen in Word – this is the one that says “Page 1” and “Sec 1” and sits at the bottom to the left of the page numbers (these look something like “2/12”). If you double-click on the Status Bar, the Find/Replace/GoTo dialog box will pop up. Simply click on the Replace tab and you are in business.

In the Replace dialog box, there is a button called “More” with a double arrow on it. If you click on that More button, it will expand the dialog box to where you see an entire lower section that contains a bunch of nifty stuff. In order for you decide for yourself which nifty stuff you really like, I encourage you to click on the question mark in the upper right corner of this dialog and see what is here.

Now that you have expanded the “More” section, that same button will read “Less” to shrink things back down. Definitely take a look around here – this is a jackpot for writers.

For example, if you wanted to find all the “she” or all the “her,” you could put the same word in both the “Find what” and the “Replace with” lines. Then highlight the word in the “Replace with” line and click on the Format button down in the lower section of the dialog – pick the font color and style you want. Hit the Replace All button. This will replace every instance of that word with the same word in the formatted style that you want. You can always do the same thing with a different font/color request to change everything back. There is no mouse involved in this, hence less tendonitis.

The unnamed Chapter Member who asked this question found a piece of “shareware” out there that I thought I’d pass along. It’s called Fore Words. It’s an add-on to Word, and will find repetitive words and phrases. It is priced at $14.95 and I’ve included the link: http://www.cro-code.com/forewords.jsp

If anyone thinks up another question that MUST be answered, just email me at jennyhansensmail@aol.com. Otherwise, prepare for a column on using Track Changes next month. By then, my Christmas baking should be all finished!

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Dating By Committee

February 24, 2006 by in category 25 Days of Romance, Contests, From Our Archives tagged as , , ,

25 Days of Romance | Marianne Donley | A Slice of OrangeJ
By Jen Crooks

I’ve always had a good track record among my friends for dating losers. I spent all of my teens and 20’s perfecting this gift. Every guy I dated was potentially Mr. Right and I would try the idea of “forever” on to see how it fit, which it never did.

Finally, the day came when I turned 35. I’d broken up with the last Mr. Right and was moaning about the years that I’d wasted. Was I going to ever get married, ever have children, ever belong in a partnership with someone? The prospects were looking dim.

Obviously, with a Romance Record like mine, I have very patient girlfriends. When I bemoaned the wasteland of my love life and the biological clock that was hurtling me with G-force toward menopause, my three best and most patient girlfriends listened to my tale of woe.

Every one of them said the same thing to me: I needed a better system in my quest for Mr. Right. I needed to let someone who knew better (they all three mentioned that they were happily married) be pivotal in the decision making process. In short, I needed to date by committee.

My current plan was Speed Dating. Each agreed that I needed to continue with that plan. I got to meet maximum numbers of men (10-15 in an evening) with minimum effort (I just had to sit and talk to them each for 3-5 minutes).

The Dating Committee encouraged me to date as many of these prospects as possible with one single caveat: at least one person on the Committee had to meet them before 1) any significant physical contact, defined as anything past a good-night kiss outside the vehicle I was driving home or 2) by the third date—whichever came first.

I threw myself into Speed Dating, often having as many as four “first dates” in one week (completely exhausting, I don’t recommend it). I was excited that these men shared so many desirable characteristics in a first date, most had jobs, their real hair and wanted to meet women. However, not a single one of them tempted me to either get to the significant physical contact or go on the third date.

My friends began to suspect that Secret Dating was occurring. I assured them this wasn’t the case, just hadn’t found anyone worthy of putting before the Committee yet from Speed Dating. I began to look around at Rapid Dating and Pre-Dating, to beef up my pool of prospects.

Then my mother died suddenly and my 35 year-old world got a reality check. I did all the tasks that accompany death, and I grieved. I stopped dating completely, I’d decided that life was too short to spend on losers. My patient girlfriends dragged me back into life, ignoring my bitter protests, and one night one of them coerced me out on the town.

We went to a place in Newport Beach. I danced and danced with my girlfriend and her husband and had a lovely time. In the middle of this evening, I met a man. We danced. He bought me a drink. We were beginning to engage in the usual inconsequential dating chatter.  I had forgotten completely about the pact to date only by Committee when my girlfriend, who’d downed enough Vodka Tonics to be entertaining, zoomed up to exercise her Committee Rights.

She stopped in front of the guy who came to be known as Newport Steve and held out her hand in introduction. “Hi, I’m her girlfriend Mary. How are you?” And she proceeded to pepper the man with questions.

What do you do? Oh, a Computer Guy! Uh-huh. Great! Jen works in computers!

Where do you live? Oh, Newport Beach, close by! Great!

How old are you? Forty-four? (She gave him a suspicious stare.)

Have you ever been married?

Really, did you have any kids? No? Well do you want to have kids?

(I tried to slink off right about this time but my girlfriend trains dogs for a living and she’s got a grip like a pit bull.)

How do you feel about pets? Oh, you’re afraid of dogs? Well, cause she has a dog, but Hoshi’s a really nice dog. She really likes men, Hoshi, not Jen.  Well, I mean Jen likes men too. Anyway, you guys will do great!

What kind of dog? An Akita.

And on it went. Newport Steve stood up to the Inquisition, answering her questions without stammering or stuttering. He joined us and at the end of the evening we traded information on cocktail napkins. Less than a week later we went out.

Bit by bit we fell in love, though I kept struggling against the feeling, thinking about my other Mr. Rights. Steve was always relaxed and so certain that we were meant to be together and I couldn’t figure out how he “just knew.”

A few months after we met, I had my 36th birthday and he took me out to a wonderful dinner. He gave me beautiful jewelry and watched me blow out my candle. I made the wish to keep him always while he smiled at me from across the table.

“What did you wish for on your birthday?” I asked, referring to the birthday he had right before we met.

He looked in my eyes for a moment before he answered. “I wished for you,” he said. “I’m pretty sure your mom heard me from Heaven and pulled a few strings.”

I started crying, right there in the middle of the restaurant, and I felt my mother’s spirit. I could hear her voice in my head, telling me to quit worrying and relax. I realized in one of those stunning moments of clarity that my former boyfriends were all Mr. Maybe, practice trials to help me truly appreciate the man that my mom “picked out.” Evidently, she’d been on the Committee the whole time.

Newport Steve is now My Steve, and I can’t imagine my life without him.

Thanks, Mom!

Jen Crooks writes women’s fiction, chick lit and short stories as Jenny Hansen. She has been a member of OCC since 2001 and has served on OCC’s Board of Directors as Newsletter Editor, Membership Director and Program Director. She is currently the Contest Coordinator for the 2006 Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers.

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