Urpo Lankinen over at the Avarthrel Blog has a post about coming home to Emacs for writing prose—specifically novels. Although he’s a longtime Emacs user, he’s long been wandering in the wilderness looking for a good writer’s editor. Emacs was not a contender because it lacked soft word wrapping (visual-line-mode) and didn’t have a full screen “distractionless” mode. Now that Emacs 23 has these and has fixed a few other things that annoyed him, Lankinen is using Emacs for all his writing.
I’m always happy to have someone (re)discover the power of Emacs and I especially enjoyed his raving about Org mode and how it solves so many problems for him but I am a bit puzzled. I don’t write novels but I know of lots of people who do and who use Emacs or Vim to do it. My books have lots of straight prose in them and I got along just fine without soft word wrap. I don’t have it turned on right now and that’s not because I have some ideological objection to it but simply because I don’t feel the need for it.
Because I typeset my non-web writing with
Troff, I put a hard break after each sentence and don’t otherwise worry very much about where line breaks occur. Perhaps it’s the fact that I use a markup language for typesetting rather than something like LibreOffice that makes this a non-issue for me.
I know fiction writers usually have to submit their manuscript as a
.doc file so Emacs/Vim users import their text into Word or one of its siblings as a last step. Is visual-line-mode an issue for them? What do you do?