The Format Of War

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    People I need help. I can not for the life of me figure out how to get line breaks and blank spaces in my poetry. I followed the directions on Writing And Formatting Poetry, but it’s not working. To prove this, I published a post “WordPress And This Poet: War (Revisited)” on my blog that I wrote in the visual editor following the rules. After every two lines of text, there should be a blank space. See for yourself. It’s all one big block of text!

    The blog I need help with is


    When using the “pre” tags, my suggestion is that you put in blank lines from within the HTML tab. Just put the cursor at the end of the line you want the blank line after and press return. The “pre” tags sort of bypass the visual editor on some stuff.



    Thanks for the advice, but I have no idea regarding the html side of things. I just don’t understand why you can’t get a blank line IF you follow the directions WordPress gives you.


    and that page does advise the “PRE” tag, as suggested by thesacredpath in this thread.

    here is a little trickery, I use to use (I still do sometimes)
    to help preserve space:

    1. press the HTML tab in the post editor



    3. press the visual tab in the editor, so your back in editor mode.
    (you will only see the three lines of dots,when back in visual mode.)

    4. Now you can put your poem between the first set of dotted lines.

    5. you can put any other commentary or text, etc. after the third set of doted lines

    6. when you are done: carefully remove the doted lines.

    after doing this a couple times you will get the hang of this.



    I don’t understand why I have to use trickery. The directions in specifically say: “to create a Line Break rather then a Paragraph Break. Instead of hitting the Return key, use Shift+Return . This will explicitly tell the Visual Editor that you don’t want to start a new paragraph, but instead want to force a line break.

    The next line after the line break will start immediately below the previous one, with no extra white space, so you can easily create clearly defined blocks of verse inside your poem. When you do want to add some more space – to start the next block – just hit Return like you usually would.”
    You can add as many line breaks as you want; the Visual Editor will never ignore them. Each time you hit Shift+Return, you’ll get an extra empty line, so you can also use this technique to add really big sections of white space to your poems.”

    This is a magazine I’m getting ready to start. There are dozens of submissions. It would be way too time consuming to have to do it your way. I appreciate your suggestion, and the other suggestion. But it’s not feasible for me.



    I didn’t know about the shift+return trick (shift+enter) for the visual editor. I just tried it and it worked perfectly.

    Another possibility is to use the html editor for the poem, then switch back to the visual and add any other formatting you like. With my theme, if I type a poem into the html editor there are line breaks and spaces where I want them.

    If nothing else works, you always can type the poem in the visual editor, then edit out extra spaces in the html editor.




    timethief, I just published a test post on following the instructions. See for yourself the failed results of this test.



    Just published another test using Windows Live Writer. The blank spaces are good, and so are the varied spacing within lines. But darnit, Windows doesn’t appear to have a feature for inserting special characters such as dashes. And on top of all that, I just noticed another problem. My first test post (using WordPress) is highlighted in blue. Why is that? The test post using windows live isn’t hightlighted like that. This makes no sense.


    long dash, hold down the ALT key and, on the numerical keyboard (of your keyboard) type 0151 (It’s not a trick, it’s the way to do it).

    If you want to do a copyright symbol, ALT plus 0169

    As for your other problems, prior to your recent comment…

    The problem you’re having with the shift enter key combination not working, shouldn’t be happening. Here’s a thought (which may or may not work, but I recall when trying to type out blank verse a year or two ago, having this bother too) – go to your dashboard, scroll down to Settings. Click on ‘Writing’ and where you see “WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically” check the box then scroll down and click the ‘Save changes’ button. If it is already checked, try unchecking it.

    Sometimes WordPress (and other bloghosts, it’s not peculiar to WordPress) changes a bit of code and it gets glitchy.

    If you have no success with that, you could try contacting support as, if the suggestions given aren’t working it seems to me that something else is wrong.

    And if that doesn’t work, well then yes, you WILL have to adopt some ‘tricks’ to get round it. (Either that or try a different bloghost but I can assure you you’re likely to get the same problems with them all. Coding obviously hasn’t been written with formatting poetry in mind, unfortunately).

    And while you obviously prefer not to use Windows Live Writer or another desktop program to write your poetry, if it’s a choice of that or not publishing your magazine – which is the best option?

    By the way – always, always publish your posts as either drafts or private posts in WordPress before you go live. That way nobody will see any of your mistakes and you might not feel quite so frustrated on the learning curve that is finding out how to blog here!



    Thank you. I’ll definitely try out your suggestion.



    This is something you might consider. I have a blogging friend on another blogging platform who is a poet. She chooses to create images (watermarked, of course) of all her poems, rather than tyoping in the text an wrestling with formattting an spacing issues. She also starts each post with a text introduction before she uploads the images ie. poems into the posts so the posts do appear in Google’s SERPs, and she optimizes the poem images for Google search as well.



    If the lines aren’t too long, one crude-but-effective approach is to use a text editor to replace all spaces with the HTML for a non-breaking space, then paste that into the code editor.



    I should add that in my experience if one is going to publish poetry on the web, learning HTML is pretty much unavoidable, just as in the old days you couldn’t expect to master printing without learning how to set type. And for truly responsive design, i.e. long lines that wrap with a hanging indent, advanced CSS is unfortunately required. I keep hoping that someone will write a WordPress plugin for poetry formatting which could then incorporate into the visual editor. That would rock.



    absurdoldbird, your suggestion actually worked! I went to Writing<Settings, and sure enough the “WordPress should correct invalidly nested XHTML automatically” was unchecked! I checked it, hit save, published a test post, and BINGO! it worked. Problem solved. Thank you so much. Thanks to everybody who helped. Peace and Love to you all!


    You’re welcome and I’m glad it worked. :)

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