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How to Format Poetry



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Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:37 am
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Aley says...



How to Format Poetry with HTML


As you may already know, formatting poetry on YWS is not always easy. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't. The same trick doesn't always work the same way. In this article we will be exploring all the ways in which you can work around the double spaces, poor breakings, and all around nightmares that the HTML codes can provide for us.

If you don't want to learn about HTML you can use Methods Two - Four just as easily.
If you already understand HTML you can skip down to the Methods.

Understanding HTML

To better understand the problem, we must first have a basic grasp of HTML. HTML is a coding system with which programmers can tell their site to recognize for coding pages into doing certain things. They can be as complex as creating an entire site, to as simple as making something bold. Now you may already feel familiar with HTML if you pay attention to what happens when you use BBCodes like

Bold
Italics
And Colors

Similar to HTML, we have brackets of some sort which indicate to the website that something special has to happen. As you can see below, these go to either side of the thing you want to visually change. I call them the start (at the front) and end (with the / ) brackets. You can see these below.

Code: Select all
[b]Bold[/b]
[i]Italics[/i]
[color=#BF000F]And Colors[/color]


HTML is very similar in codes but instead of using [these] it uses <these>. Some differences include special codes which only mark a place for something to happen, which don't have end brackets, and some of the words or letters used to indicate what the code is supposed to do are different for HTML.

We can see the HTML codes when we edit our works by clicking the [</>] button which is the first button in the button toolbar above the text box. You can know if you're looking at the HTML part or not through the text box color. If the text box is black instead of white, you are in the HTML mode.

For more information on BBCode, and those active on our site, please visit The Big Book of YWS Codes

The Codes We Need

Now that you can see the basics of HTML here are the differences in the codes we need.

Whenever we hit enter, or we have a paragraph symbol to the computer, it automatically translates that into HTML for the submission. This translation comes out as <p>paragraph breaks</p>

All of the text we input is indented about an inch, and the HTML is courteously kept off to the far left. This means that you will see paragraph breaks appearing as this:

<p>
_______There will be text
</p>
<p>

_______There will be text
</p>
<p>

_______There will be text
</p>

These breaks are indicators to the program to double space, which we are trying to get rid of. The complementary code is called "break" instead of "paragraph" and it does not have an end bracket, because it is just a marker to go down a single line, instead of to group everything as a paragraph together.

The code for break is simply <br>

Now that you know all the terminology I'll be using to explain what to do, here are several methods employed to solve the problem we all face.

Method One

With this new or old information, we can now apply it to making a poem. Each stanza is considered a paragraph, so at the start of the paragraph there should be a <p> (start paragraph) and at the end of the stanza there should be an </p> (end paragraph). This will make each of our stanzas look like stanzas and stand apart from one another. Erase all extraneous codes that are not paragraph markers you want or break markers. Extra spaces, tabs, and empty areas in the [</>] do not matter. Don't bother erasing them unless they are between words.

After this step your stanzas should look like this:

<p>
_______I am writing two couplets
_______for an example, and hopefully
_______this is long enough for you to see
_______what I'm doing.
</p>
<p>
_______you can forgive my blatant
_______disregard for poetry.
</p>

Next, at the end of each line, there should be a <br> which will take the place of a </p><p> set which currently marks the improper place to start and end your poetry.

Now your text should look like this:

<p>
_______I am writing two couplets<br>
_______for an example, and hopefully<br>
_______this is long enough for you to see<br>
_______what I'm doing.
</p><p>
_______you can forgive my blatant<br>
_______disregard for poetry.
</p>

This should make your poem fix itself when you click the [</>] again and change back to the live preview.

It should turn out like this:

I am writing two couplets
for an example, and hopefully

you can forgive my blatant
disregard for poetry.

Make sure you have no dangling paragraph or end paragraph markers (<p> and </p>). They come as a pair, so make sure you have that complete pair and no more, and no less.

You can stack break codes in order to make the stanzas by placing two <br> codes directly after one another, but the spacing will be a little different. The paragraph space seems to move things down a full 2.0 space while using the <br> twice only moves it down about 1.75 space, so if your poem looks funky with the internal stanzas, it could be because you're mixing using the paragraphs to identify stanzas and using breaks to identify stanzas. Make them uniform in the coding and it will follow suit.

Method Two

In this method we don't go into HTML but instead use our keyboards more effectively. The text area is programmed to create a break instead of a paragraph if we hold shift and hit enter at the same time (Shift+Enter).

This means if you want to create a break, simply delete the inappropriate paragraph markers by putting all the text on one line, and then hold shift with one finger, such as the pinkie or index, and hit enter with the next finger such as the index or middle.

When you want to create a stanza, just hit enter or leave it how you entered it originally if you are copying and pasting.

Method Three

I call this the "I give up!" method because while it works, it by no means fixes the problem.

This method simply makes the stanza breaks extra wide usually by putting in some symbol like --- or *** or ~~~ in the place where you wish to have a stanza break.

When using this method, please do not stretch the page.

Method Four

If you are writing on something like a Word Document, sometimes what you can do to solve this problem is simply to transfer it into YWS codes, and then paste it in.

One method that may or may not still work is to use the PMs to do this.

Open a PM
Paste the text of the poem with the proper stanzas into the PM
Re-copy the poem
Paste the poem into the Publishing Center.

Last time I tried this, it didn't work, but it had been working for a very long time.

Closing Notes

If you have any more methods to solve the problem of stanzas, please share them with us as this problem updates and changes.

Here are other useful article about how to format your poetry on YWS.
Formating Poetry #2
Formatting poetry #3
Indenting in the Publishing Center
Last edited by Aley on Sat May 07, 2016 4:56 am, edited 6 times in total.
  





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Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:11 am
Pompadour says...



Adding to this: For folks who're wrestling with formatting using a device like an iPad or even a mobile, you can place italics in your work using HTML like this:

<em>*insert words here</em>


And for bold you can use <b>*text*</b>

That's as far as my knowledge regarding HTML stretches, anyway. ^^

Thank you for such a helpful article!
How to format poetry on YWS

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Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:21 pm
Lightsong says...



Regarding Method 1, why do we have to use <br> code between the paragraphs (stanzas) instead of using a pair of <.p></p> for each of them? You know what, I think I've already answered my question..., haven't I?
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Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:15 pm
Vervain says...



@Labrador -- I think it's a personal choice, but the <br> codes are a lot easier for me to see, count, and make sure that I haven't done anything weird with my coding. Proofreading is just as necessary for coding as it is for writing, so I tend to use whatever's easier to double check. :P You can, but it's a question of whether you, personally, should.
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Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:14 am
Lightsong says...



I see. Thanks. @Arkhaion.
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The subject is a catalyst, a character, but our responsibility is, has to be, to the work."

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Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:22 pm
Aley says...



Another reason why I suggest using paragraph codes to make stanzas is because it keeps the spacing between stanzas a little wider and you don't have to delete as much. You actually can save some of the original coding instead of having to go through and delete everything.

You can, like Ark said @Labrador, use <br> for the whole thing, but you have to stack it in order to make your stanza break and while that might be simple, it can get tricky if you mix and match the methods. You have to stick with one of them or you might end up with weird spacing. If you're going to just use <br> then make sure to delete every <p> </p>.
  





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Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:06 am
Lorelie says...



You can now edit it on a word processor and upload it directly to your work. Just click "Click here to upload a document" on step 1 of adding a new work. I don't know if this helps with formatting, though.
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Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:54 am
Aley says...



Unfortunately because the formatting recognizes the enter key as a new paragraph, uploading the document doesn't help the double spacing between paragraphs.
  





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Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:31 am
Lorelie says...



You can also add line breaks with Shift+Enter, with the added advantage of being able to reveal the formatting in your document before uploading it. I find it a lot easier than reformatting your work before publishing.

By the way, with the risk of going off-topic, I ought to say your signature is linking to a thread with missing screenshots (maybe outdated?)
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Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:10 am
Lightsong says...



^ Hmm, I'll try that way for my next poem.
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The subject is a catalyst, a character, but our responsibility is, has to be, to the work."

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Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:10 am
Charm says...



I've been using Method three because all the other methods don't work. At first it works but when I log out of YWS and log back in, it's all just one big paragraph.
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Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:30 pm
Lightsong says...



@AliceAfternoon: How about you make a poem in Microsoft Word and copy/paste it. It would look like it's a huge stanza with huge spaces, and you can edit from there by clicking Shift and Enter (Shift first before Enter, and press both of them for a while) to go to a new line without the huge space.
"Writing, though, belongs first to the writer, and then to the reader, to the world.

The subject is a catalyst, a character, but our responsibility is, has to be, to the work."

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Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:37 pm
niteowl says...



Pasting it in the <> section and adding <br> tags to the end of every line has always worked for me.

I think if you write it in WriterFeedPad and paste it, it will work as well.
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Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:32 pm
Charm says...



@Lightsong Thanks! @Aley ended up showing me what I was doing wrong. Still I might use that, it sounds easier~
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Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:43 am
Awru says...



Grateful^~^
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