# Sightless Scribbles

News and thoughts from a blind romance writer.

## How to convert Markdown to Shun manuscript format

Crossposted from How to convert Markdown to Shun manuscript format

I love Markdown. I love it so much that I’ve adapted my whole workflow around it! From writing fiction podcast scripts to drafting blog posts, it’s just pure plain text, and I love it because it’s so portable and universal.

I wanted to write Markdown manuscripts and then convert them to Shun format industry standard documents. In short, I’ve figured out how to do it, but it’s a very involved process. If just opening up Word or otherwise works for you, do that. Seriously, don’t try to adopt this workflow unless you really, really, love writing in Markdown as much as I do.

Because I’m a Windows user, the below is going to be Windows centric.

I write all my stuff in Markdown and then convert it to other formats using Pandoc. This way, my work is very portable, and I don’t have to transfer every single Macro to new computers. Text files are much smaller than document files so they don’t take up space in my cloud drives.

The below, though, will definitely take some time to set up. It requires you being comfortable with using the command line and downloading things from the internet and installing programs.

For the command line, we’re going to use PowerShell for this because it’s more versatile.

After you install Pandoc, restart your computer. Now, you should be good to go.

Now, we’re going to split this up into two sections. A DIY template that you create, that you can use anywhere, and a preconfigured script someone else made. The DIY method is good for those that don’t want to rely on third party developers.

## DIY manuscript conversion.

This method requires a lot of setting up, but it’s going to be worth it in the end. You will only need to set this up once. After you set it up, you can just make copies of your reference document.

The below will convert your manuscript into Docx format. Everyone I know uses Docx so I haven’t figured out templates in LibreOffice yet.

This tutorial has reference files for LibreOffice

First, get acquainted with Pandocs commands with this getting started page. All commands start with -Pandoc, and are usually one line for this tutorial.

The first thing we’re going to need to do is make a template. When exporting into a Word format, Pandoc references templates so it knows how to style your outputs.

It can’t reference any template, though. It needs to reference a template based on its structure. This is why we need to make our own template.

Making your own Pandoc reference template.

After opening up powershell, navigate to where your Pandoc installation is or any directory where you want to store templates. To navigate to a directory, you’d do something like this,

CD C:/users\YourUSERNAME\downloads

Alternatively, you can open up a powershell window at any location from Windows explorer.

To open powershell at any location, navigate to the folder you want to store your templates and manuscripts in. It works best if everything is in one folder, but we’ll worry about that later.

Powershell

And hit enter. No spaces should be between power, and shell.

Now that powershell is open where you want to have it, Let’s make a reference document.

## Making a reference document.

To make a reference document, you’d type,

pandoc -o refdoc.docx --print-default-data-file reference.docx

To make a LibreOffice reference document,

pandoc -o refdoc.odt --print-default-data-file reference.odt

I don’t know how to edit styles in LibreOffice so the following is going to be for Microsoft Word users.

After your reference document is created, open up your reference document in Word.

Use this guide to edit the, first paragraph style, and the, body text style, styles so that the  line spacing is double, first line is indented 0.5 inches, and the font is 12 PT, Times New Roman.

After editing the styles, save your edited reference document.

Move, or copy, the edited reference document to the same folder as your manuscript.

Now you have all files where you need them, we’re going to convert Markdown to Shun Manuscript format.

With your manuscript all in one text file or Markdown file, use the below command to convert your manuscript.

pandoc -s ManuscriptName.md --reference-doc= refdoc.docx --output manuscript.docx

If you don’t want to specify a reference document every time, we need to make Pandoc use our modified reference template as the default template.

## Changing default reference template for our DIY conversion.

Navigate to where your Pandoc is installed.

In the address bar, type, powershell, and press enter.

next, we make our reference document.

pandoc -o custom-reference.docx --print-default-data-file reference.docx

edit the styles like before, making sure to change the body text style, and the first paragraph style, to 12 PT font, Times New Roman, Double line spacing, with the first line indented 0.5 inches.

After all styles are edited, save and close your reference document.

Now, you won’t need to specify the reference document every time, so your command will look like this,

pandoc -s ManuscriptName.md --output manuscript.docx

Below, I’ll show you how to convert and merge multiple files with our modified reference template.

## Merging multiple files with your DIY template.

The easiest way I’ve found of doing this is to put your custom reference document in the data directory so that Pandoc uses the document every time it converts to Docx.

Navigate to where your Pandoc is installed.

In the address bar, type, powershell, and press enter.

next, we make our reference document.

pandoc -o custom-reference.docx --print-default-data-file reference.docx

edit the styles like before, making sure to change the body text style, and the first paragraph style, to 12 PT font, Times New Roman, Double line spacing, with the first line indented 0.5 inches.

After all styles are edited, save and close your reference document.

Now you can merge multiple files without having to specify a reference document every time.

If you want to split your chapters up into separate files, you need to specify each input file name, in order, so that it will merge all the files into one document.

Let’s say you have a folder called Book. Inside of that folder, you have text files.

Make sure you specify each text file in the command. For example,

pandoc -s -o Book.docx ch1.md ch2.md ch3.md ch4.md ch5.md

## Converting multiple files into Markdown.

Just in case you wanted to convert a directory of Docx files to Markdown, use the below command after navigating to the directory containing the files in power shell.

gci -r -i *.docx |foreach{$md=$_.directoryname+&quot;\&quot;+$_.basename+&quot;.md&quot;;pandoc -f docx --wrap=none -s$_.name -o $md} The above will make Markdown versions of your Docx files. It won’t merge all of them though, only make an MD version of your Docx files in the folder. Now, onto a script that will do all this for you! ## Using a script. This Pandoc script will do all the hard work for you! To download the script, expand the, code, button, then click download as zip or download Master. Extract the folder to a folder where you’ll remember it. Open up powershell and then navigate to this folder, the unzipped script folder. Alternatively, you can navigate there using Windows Explorer. Navigate to the folder and then type, powershell, in the address bar. Inside this folder, you can make folders called work, or BookDraft, all one word, or anything you want. The simplest thing to do is just use the test folder to store your manuscripts and short stories. Inside the test folder, you’ll find a short folder and long folder. Go into each folder, open up each first MD file in notepad, and edit the YAML data at the top. You’ll only need to do this once. Change all contact information to your own contact information. After you change your contact information, save the documents and then close the files after deleting all the sample text below the YAML data. Now, all you need is the below commands. You can even split your book up into separate documents and merge them all with one command. To convert single files, you’d use the command below, making sure to tell Pandoc where your manuscript file is. If you wrote everything in one long file, use the below command, replacing name’s as needed. .\bin\md2short.ps1 -overwrite -modern -output$env:USERPROFILE/Desktop/Book.docx './test/long/Book.md'

If you created a short story, use the below command, replacing name’s as needed.

.\bin\md2short.ps1 -overwrite -modern -output $env:USERPROFILE/Desktop/ShortStory.docx './test/short/story.md' With this script, you can merge all files in a folder in order. When saving files to a folder, or renaming files, make sure to save the files with sequential numbers. Like this, 001 intro. 002 Start. 003 END. The important thing is to have the numbers at the beginning the same length, and make sure they are in sequential order. After all chapters have name’s in sequential order, use the below code. .\bin\md2long.ps1 -overwrite -modern -output$env:USERPROFILE/Desktop/Book.docx './test/long/*.md'

## Some notes about writing manuscripts in Markdown.

Your chapters are going to be headings, so, if you want to make a new chapter heading, you’d just write, either,

\# Chapter 1

Or,

\## chapter two.

To automatically convert “dumb” quotes into “smart” quotes, as well as turning fake em-dashes — the kind made with two hyphens — into real em-dashes (—), and turning three periods (…) into ellipse, add the below to any of the above commands for outputting books and other documents,

--smart

I hope this helped someone! It can take a lot to set up, but when you do get it set up, you can just write in plain text, and convert it to a beautiful, formatted, document in seconds!

from Robert Kingett https://sightlessscribbles.micro.blog/

## How to write a fiction podcast script in Fountain.

Crossposted from How to write a fiction podcast script in Fountain.

Aside from writing a bunch of books and short stories, I also write fiction podcast scripts. Luckily, the fiction podcast space isn’t so rigid as other industries, but still, there’s a few conventions I stick to in order to make everybody happy.

I write all of my fiction podcast scripts in Fountain. It’s free, portable, literally, and can be converted to almost anything, even Word files.

Sidebar, [try the Audio Drama directory or the Fiction Podcast directory.

This isn’t going to be a guide on Fountain. The Fountain syntax is the best place to learn how to write in Fountain. This is a testimonial as to what I do after the writing process.

Because I’m blind, writing in plain text and then formatting it later is the best workflow. If you’re a visual learner, fountain isn’t the best thing for you. It’s plain text with special characters.

You can write text with any program, on any device, so why not take advantage of that portability?

The challenging bit comes in after I’ve written a fully-fledged script.

I write in LibreOffice and even Word with some special autocorrect keys set up. For example, if I type, BBL, it transforms into, “I’ll be back later.”

I’ve added a bunch of autocorrect entries to help with capitalization and dashes and similar, so, for example, if I type, EXT/, it transforms into EXT. LOCATION – TIME and it does it in all caps.

The script is the easy part. I just open my program of choice and start typing.

When I’m all done, I make sure to save it as a .fountain extension.

It’s the formatting and submitting process that’s the most time consuming, but even that can be streamlined a bit, especially in my case.

I don’t write in online editors like Google Docs because I’ve found it to be very slow and clunky, plus, it doesn’t have a robust autocorrect system the way Word and Office do. Their autocorrect system is very basic and most of the time doesn’t even work.

But Let’s get to the meat of this post, the formatting and conversion!

## Formatting a script using Pandoc and other tools.

Even though Fountain is very portable, not every podcast producer I’ve worked with could open Fountain files or even work with Fountain files, so I needed a way to convert the Fountain file into Word format.

There’s a fantastic open source tool to convert Fountain into HTML and PDF but it doesn’t support converting to Docx format. Plus, even if Word can open PDF files, it just isn’t a solution for everybody. PDF doesn’t work well with screen readers unless tagged, and, this is just my personal opinion, it’s very clunky, bulky, and, ironically isn’t all that portable in my opinion. I like lightweight documents and lightweight workflows and PDF just doesn’t cut it for me.

That being said, if your producer wants a PDF file, Wrapped will be everything you need and you can stop reading!

If you need a way to convert Fountain into Word, Pandoc can do this with a custom interpreter.

First, you need to get Pandoc for your operating system and install it.

Pandoc can convert a whole bunch of things, so I’d encourage reading the user’s guide to Pandoc if you want to explore other capabilities.

Then, you need to download this custom interpreter for Pandoc to convert Fountain to Docx files.

Unzip the file, and then make sure to put your script into the unzipped folder.

Using Pandoc, navigate to where you unzipped the custom interpreter that also contains your script file.

Run this command, replacing the input and output file names as needed.

pandoc -f fountain.lua --reference-doc fountain-ref.docx sample.fountain -o sample.docx

One thing to know about the instructions, I don’t know why, but they didn’t work unless everything was on one line for me.

For example, the Windows code only works if you have it on one line, like this.

pandoc -f fountain.lua --reference-doc fountain-ref.docx sample.fountain -o sample.docx

That’s it! While it’s not as quick or fluid as sending over a Fountain file directly, this will make sure your scripts look fabulous while writing everything in plain text.

from Robert Kingett https://sightlessscribbles.micro.blog/

## Thank you Romance writers

Crossposted from Thank you Romance writers

I have a confession to make. I used to devalue romance. I used to be among those that believed romance wasn’t actual literature. That changed, of course, and now, you could say I’m the biggest romance fan ever. At least, in my head anyway. I know there’s tons of other romance fans out there in RomanceLandia, but sometimes, when I’m reading a romance book, I sometimes think they were written especially for me, even though I’m, ironically, probably out of the target audience for most romance books.

I’m a gay, white, blind, male that still doesn’t have a stable partner. I don’t date anymore, instead, I write letters to prisoners. People tell me I’m old now  when I felt old at twelve. I can’t stand generational marketing. For example, this book has wonderful Gen alpha swordplay! I can’t stand the generational nicknames and identifiers, and, honestly, there’s just something about generational hype that really bugs me. I mean, really. Makes me grind my teeth and shake my fist at the sky yelling about marketing language. Maybe this is what it feels like to be old, older than my old soul age of sixteen? I don’t know and honestly, I think it’s all tied to ageism anyway.

I have a lot of thoughts about ageism, of course, about how we spit on the elders and think the younger people are supposed to automatically change the world. Perhaps I’m just not in the right time period, but I honestly can’t stand people putting an emphasis on age, of any age. Old, young, your twisted version of old and young, all of the above. This is probably why I’ve become the biggest fan of romance books, ever. Humans are timeless, no matter what generation they are in.

Back when I was younger, I devalued romance. The stories were predictable, I thought, so the stories didn’t hold as much value as other stories. I, of course, was wrong, but I’d like to stop and let you know the societal pressure I was under to think that way in the first place.

Perhaps it’s because romance is seen as women work, that it’s automatically of lesser value. I’m sure both cis women and Trans women are equally mocked in different ways for writing romance. Our society just doesn’t like women, of any kind, so when a genre used to be dominated by straight white women, well, misogyny can still happen to straight white women. They are not shielded from societies shortsightedness or unwillingness to listen.

I was constantly fed the notion of humans are predictable and shallow, and so stories about love and humans are just as vapid and meaningless because they are not imaginative. In fact, it echoes the anti-human thinking that goes on today with AI. In societies mind, beauty and love and, yes, even sex, are not worth it because these are all human things, and humans are flawed beyond reproach and should just die already.

I’ve written about my thoughts on AI so I don’t want to hash that out again, but when I gave romance a chance, that’s when my perceptions opened up. That’s when my understanding opened up.

After catching COVID-19, even though I took a billion steps to avoid it, I wanted to gaze into the hearts and minds of some of these authors. What better way to understand them then read their wish fulfillment, hopes, and dreams, in their romance novels. I was over the science fiction genre for a while. I wasn’t really in the mood to have something parotid back at me through a dystopian lens or some deep commentary about life and death and AI and more. My needs shifted. I wanted wish fulfillment more, not knowing that I’d run head first into understanding humans by reading their wishes, fantasies, and wish fulfillment.

There’re all kinds of subgenres in romance. There’s historical romance. There’s fantasy romance. There’s mystery romance and contemporary romance and more. All romance stories, though, have common threads, or conventions. The story must be about relationships. The story must have, either, a happily ever after ending, or a happy for now, ending.

If I knew how a book was going to end, I thought, unknowingly, what was the point of reading it?

On a whim, I tried romances by Black writers first because it’s good to read outside of my lived experience. One author I quickly gravitated to is an author I deeply adore today. Kennedy Ryan.

Kennedy wrote tons of books, but I got sucked in with the Grip series and the Hoops series. The Grip series especially spoke to me in a way no other romance series had at the time. It told me that it’s okay that we don’t know everything about injustices, the important thing is that we become better people than we were yesterday. It helped me understand what someone might desire from me, as a person. It helped me question what I really want out of human relationships. Do I just want understanding, or do I want to be with someone that will encourage me, and help me learn and listen more every day?

I soon devoured every book Kennedy Ryan ever wrote, and I’ll continue to devour her books. I also started branching out to other kinds of romances, like romances with Disabled characters. The next book I fell in love within RomanceLandia was Jeremiah, by Jayce Ellis.

As I devoured more romance books, I started to actively find books with Disabled characters in them, if only to see what people thought our happy endings could look like.

I felt touched in a way I couldn’t describe. Authors spoke to me through their romance books about love. These books might be predictable to some, but I’ve found a much deeper examination of my own desires as I continue to read romance books. Reading romance books helped me understand my needs as a Disabled person seeing partners or lifetime companions. Reading what makes these authors feel and wish helped me to understand that, sometimes, the world is imperfect. People make mistakes. People say the wrong things. People don’t always do the right thing, but it’s always good to stop and listen to someone’s else’s hopes and dreams because they will help you sharpen your own.

I’ve been in a romance bubble this past year and I don’t think it’s going to end any time soon. That’s not a bad thing though. The world is bad, sometimes. More times than not, these days, I want to enjoy someone else’s happiness. I want to enjoy someone’s wish fulfillment or tributes or winks and nods. I want to enjoy what makes an author feel sexy. I want to enjoy all the human elements I can enjoy while I’m alive, because it will help me listen more, and it will help me really assess what’s important in my loved ones lives.

So, with that being said, I guess I’ll end this by saying thank you, Kennedy Ryan, and thank you all other romance writers out there that help us listen through happy endings. Thank you for telling me that I’m not alone. Thank you for reminding me that, eventually, everybody has joy in their lives. Keep writing joy. Keep writing sex scenes. Keep writing wish fulfillment. Keep reminding quiet readers like me that it’s groovy to enjoy each other’s joy. Just, thank you, and keep reminding us of joy, even when things are fine.

from Robert Kingett https://sightlessscribbles.micro.blog/

## How to write a radio script in Fountain

Crossposted from How to write a radio script in Fountain

Aside from writing a bunch of books and short stories, I also write fiction podcast scripts. Luckily, the fiction podcast space isn’t so rigid as other industries, but still, there’s a few conventions I stick to in order to make everybody happy.

I write all of my fiction podcast scripts in Fountain. It’s free, portable, literally, and can be converted to almost anything, even Word files.

This isn’t going to be a guide on Fountain. The Fountain syntax is the best place to learn how to write in Fountain. This is a testimonial as to what I do after the writing process.

Because I’m blind, writing in plain text and then formatting it later is the best workflow. If you’re a visual learner, fountain isn’t the best thing for you. It’s plain text with special characters.

You can write text with any program, on any device, so why not take advantage of that portability?

The challenging bit comes in after I’ve written a fully-fledged script.

I write in LibreOffice and even Word with some special autocorrect keys set up. For example, if I type, BBL, it transforms into, “I’ll be back later.”

I’ve added a bunch of autocorrect entries to help with capitalization and dashes and similar, so, for example, if I type, EXT/, it transforms into EXT. LOCATION — TIME and it does it in all caps.

The script is the easy part. I just open my program of choice and start typing.

When I’m all done, I make sure to save it as a .fountain extension.

It’s the formatting and submitting process that’s the most time consuming, but even that can be streamlined a bit, especially in my case.

I don’t write in online editors like Google Docs because I’ve found it to be very slow and clunky, plus, it doesn’t have a robust autocorrect system the way Word and Office do. Their autocorrect system is very basic and most of the time doesn’t even work.

But Let’s get to the meat of this post, the formatting and conversion!

## Formatting a script using Pandoc and other tools.

Even though Fountain is very portable, not every podcast producer I’ve worked with could open Fountain files or even work with Fountain files, so I needed a way to convert the Fountain file into Word format.

There’s a fantastic open source tool to convert Fountain into HTML and PDF but it doesn’t support converting to Docx format. Plus, even if Word can open PDF files, it just isn’t a solution for everybody. PDF doesn’t work well with screen readers unless tagged, and, this is just my personal opinion, it’s very clunky, bulky, and, ironically isn’t all that portable in my opinion. I like lightweight documents and lightweight workflows and PDF just doesn’t cut it for me.

That being said, if your producer wants a PDF file, Wrapped will be everything you need and you can stop reading!

If you need a way to convert Fountain into Word, Pandoc can do this with a custom interpreter.

First, you need to get Pandoc for your operating system and install it.

Pandoc can convert a whole bunch of things, so I’d encourage reading the user’s guide to Pandoc if you want to explore other capabilities.

Then, you need to download this custom interpreter for Pandoc to convert Fountain to Docx files.

Unzip the file, and then make sure to put your script into the unzipped folder.

Using Pandoc, navigate to where you unzipped the custom interpreter that also contains your script file.

Run this command, replacing the input and output file names as needed.

pandoc -f fountain.lua --reference-doc fountain-ref.docx sample.fountain -o sample.docx

One thing to know about the instructions, I don’t know why, but they didn’t work unless everything was on one line for me.

For example, the Windows code only works if you have it on one line, like this.

pandoc -f fountain.lua --reference-doc fountain-ref.docx sample.fountain -o sample.docx

That’s it! While it’s not as quick or fluid as sending over a Fountain file directly, this will make sure your scripts look fabulous while writing everything in plain text.

from Robert Kingett https://sightlessscribbles.micro.blog/

## A small sample of ableism

Crossposted from A small sample of ableism

Here I am, popping my head up to talk about blindness and Ableism with that @MrBeast video. Ready? Oh, and if you’re blind and wanna force me to be cured of my blindness, you may wanna sit down for this one.

Let’s talk about the @MrBeast video. Let’s talk about how it is ableism.

On its face, the title sounds inspirational, right? 1,000 Blind People See For The First Time. I mean, who wouldn’t get all mushy and feel good about that. But, now with that video title, and with your feel good smile, let’s think about why you feel inspired that someone got rid of their disability.

Is it because you want those poor, helpless blind people, to experience the world the way you experience it? My question to you is, what is better about having vision? I mean, having vision is all you know, right? You don’t know what it’s like to live in a culture without vision. Do you automatically think your way of living is better than mine because you can see?

If you don’t think that, then why did you feel inspired when you saw that title?

To feel inspired, you have to believe that someone will finally get the chance to be fixed so they can experience the same world as you. To you, you probably believe we are missing something. You probably think my life isn’t complete. But it is, you see. It’s actually very rich!

Ask any one of my friends. They will introduce me with one of many variations, some of which include,

I know this funny blind guy.

I know this goofy blind guy, but he’s really sweet.

I know this cute white blind person, he’s really smart… etc.

The people in the video shouldn’t be criticized. While I wouldn’t want to erase my blindness completely, that was their choice, and their choice alone to cure themselves. Basically, you do you, fellow blind people, and I’ll continue to do me.

But just think about how this would sound if I said something like,

being gay sucks. You should cure your homosexuality.

being Black sucks. You should cure yourself of your blackness.

More importantly, let’s turn it on women.

Being a woman sucks. You should cure your genetics.

Now, let’s drill down to what that indirectly says.

You, as a sighted person, wanting everybody to be cured of the thing that makes us who we are is positioning you as the superior one. By parading the video around, you want us to believe that you are superior to us because you can see.

It’s all about moral high ground. By constantly gushing over the video of blind people curing themselves, you are psychologically positioning yourself to believe that your life will always be better than mine, while completely disregarding my happiness.

It keeps trying to convince everyone that you are morally superior to me, and every other Disabled person that exists.

As for the cure bit? Well, like I said, I personally wouldn’t want to be cured. I actually don’t want my blindness erased, because if it were erased, I’d miss out on some really wonderful blind culture.

But let’s say I did wanna be cured of my blindness. The only person that gets to make that choice is me. You don’t have the wisdom to dictate which world is better, the blindness world and the sighted world, because you know only one world. You don’t know what it’s like to be in the blind community, to go to conventions and bond over Braille codes and blindness tech and blindness jokes. That world is outside of your vision. I’m peaceful in my blindness world.

Sure, there are days when I am frustrated that I can’t drive like others can, but then I realize that traveling walkable cities and meeting kind people on the sidewalk is just as epic.

To my fellow Blind people,

It’s okay to be frustrated about your disability. It’s okay to be frustrated that you have to realize, again, that this world wasn’t built for you. You don’t need to bow down to an outsiders whims of who you are. You get to make that choice, alone, nobody else can, and should, dictate how they think you should live on this earth. That is ableism. Taking away our agency because they believe that our bodies are broken, when, sometimes, maybe it’s their perceptions that need fixing instead of our bodies.

from Robert Kingett https://sightlessscribbles.micro.blog/

## My Bookshop store.

Crossposted from My Bookshop store.

I love Bookshop. It's a great way to shop indie bookstores, and, now, you can support me and check out my own bookshop store!

In addition to showing off books and anthologies I've been featured in, you get to see other books I enjoy!

Visit my store

from Robert Kingett https://sightlessscribbles.micro.blog/

## Journalism and essays.

Crossposted from Journalism and essays.

Before I became a romance writer, I was a journalist covering a wide array of beats.

That work was very fulfilling. View my journalism profile or check out other links below.

View all bylines.

Portfolio and highlights

from Robert Kingett https://sightlessscribbles.micro.blog/