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Noticing Newbies: July 27, 2022 Issue [#11477]

 This week: WritingML Secrets
  Edited by: Jeff
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

"You never know what you can do until you try,
and very few try unless they have to."

-- C.S. Lewis

About The Editor: Greetings! My name is Jeff and I'm one of your regular editors for the Noticing Newbies Official Newsletter! I've been a member of Writing.com since 2003, and have edited more than 350 newsletters across the site during that time. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me via email or the handy feedback field at the bottom of this newsletter! *Smile*

Word from our sponsor

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Letter from the editor

WritingML Secrets

Okay, in the interested of full disclosure, you can actually find all the WritingML coding talked about in this newsletter here: WritingML Help which you can link to by using {code:writingML}). So everything I'm going to write about in this newsletter isn't a technically a secret, per se. I just needed a catchy title for this newsletter. Gotta get them clicks. *Wink*

Some time ago (hard to believe it's twelve years old at this point!), I wrote an article on effective formatting. The goal was to demonstrate the difference between appealing and unappealing formatting and the article included both advice about the general formatting of your writing (paragraph size and breaks), and well as specific WritingML tools here on the site (line spacing, fonts and font sizes, etc.) that you can use to improve the visual appearance of your work. That article can be found here:

Effective Formatting  [E]
A comparison of good and poor WDC formatting.
by Jeff

What I want to devote this week's newsletter to is some of the more obscure WritingML and what you can accomplish with it. While I'd still concede that substance trumps style when it comes to writing, this site has grown a lot over the past twelve years, including adding many new WritingML features. The site itself also has a number of places (the newsfeed, blogs, forum posts and design, etc.) where you can enhance your ability to communicate with more than just words.

This isn't going to be a WritingML tutorial. For those who are looking for basic formatting tips like how to align text, use a quote block, copy and paste embedded GIFs, or link to items or users in various ways, I'd recommend perusing your options at WritingML Help or reading the excellent article about how to Enhance Your Item With WritingML from Writing.Com 101 . But if you're looking for some interesting WritingML coding to use somewhere on the site, check out some of these features:


Did you know that you can highlight text on Writing.com? Just put any text you want highlighted between {highlight:yellow}{/highlight}. If yellow isn't your preferred shade of highlighter, you can also replace yellow with blue, green, orange, or pink!

Popnotes and Dropnotes

Popnotes are a great way of including information in a convenient pop-up window rather than in-line. You can customize both what wording appears in the Popnote you hover over, and what appears in the box that pops up. These can be great for caveats, disclaimers, qualifiers, etc.

Dropnotes , are a great way of including information that you don't necessarily want to have visible at all times. These can be great for rules, information, historical data, etc.

Hide Text

Using the tags {hide}{/hide} will keep anything you place between the tags concealed from view in the item. This is a very handy tag if you maintain a forum or some other item you regularly update and don't want to have to completely revise every time. You can just hide the stuff that isn't relevant at the moment and nobody will even know it's there!

Random Rotation

Did you know you can randomly rotate everything from item numbers to images to font colors? Just add a comma and another variable. For example, {c:red,blue,green}{/c} will make any text between the tags rotate colors between those three options every time the page is refreshed.

Do you have a contest or activity with multiple logos? Use {image:#######,#######,#######} (where the hashtags are replaced with the image numbers) to rotate between them so that every time someone clicks on your activity they see a different logo!

You can even do the same with items, where {bitem:#######,#######,#######} (where the hashtags are replaced with item numbers) will rotate different items using the same link. This can be a really effective tool if you want to promote different items in a limited space. For example, if you want to encourage someone to reciprocate a review, at the bottom of your review there could be a rotating item that says "please consider returning the favor and reviewing this" and then providing a randomly rotating list of a few of your current works so that each review recipient receives a random one. *Smile*

Inverting/Flipping Emoticons

You can also invert/flip emoticons around by adding an "h" or a "v" (or both!) before the "e" in the WritingML. For example, {e:monkey} looks like *Monkey*, but you can also do {he:monkey} *Monkey*, {ve:monkey} *Monkey*, or even {hve:monkey} *Monkey* to orient things a little differently.

Progress Meters

You can insert a progress meter that shows how far you are toward accomplishing a goal with the following WritingML: {code:progress(25%,green,red)}. You can change the percentage and the colors as needed. Here's what that prior formatting looks like:

25% complete

I've used progress meters before to indicate how far along a work in progress is, and to keep track of how far along I am with a particular reviewing or reading goal. It can be a great way to encourage participants in a longer-term activity so they're up to date on how far they've come.

Repeating Artifacts

Have you ever been trying to format something that's required you to repeat a WritingML codes a number of times? Like {indent}{indent}{indent} to get the proper left alignment of a list, or even just a couple of spaces by using {s}{s}{s}? Did you know that {indent:3} and {s:3} do the same thing? This is a really handy shortcut for things like BioBlocks and other places where you have a limited character count to work with but still want to format things a certain way.


Speaking of lists, you can create a number of different list formats with WritingML. I'll actually use a list format to link to the specific different ways you can list things:

1 WritingML Help for list
2 Basic List
3 Formatted List
4 Formatted Lettered List
5 List with a break
6 Multiple Lists


Like lists, there are a number of fun things you can embed in your items, posts, newsfeed updates, etc. Rather than write out instructions for each one, please check out WritingML Help for embed, and the list of things you can embed include:

         - Static or Webpage items
         - Images (which can also be scaled)
         - Photos (which can also be scaled)
         - Polls
         - Audio
         - YouTube videos
         - Awardicons (which can also be scaled)
         - Merit Badges (which can also be scaled)

So those are just a few interesting things you can do with WritingML that aren't often covered by guides that are more focused on the presentation of your work (my "Effective Formatting article included). But the real fun comes with the realization that you can combine one or more of these WritingML effects in creative ways. How about a Popnote that cycles images every time you refresh the page ? How about a Dropnote embedding a YouTube video?

WritingML is a really versatile system of coding that lets you accomplish a lot here on Writing.com. Whether you're looking for entertaining ways of engaging with your fellow members in and around the community or just looking for better ways to present your writing, there's a little something for everyone to be found in the site's WritingML options. You don't always have to go with the default. *Smile*

Until next time,

Logo for Senior Moderators - small

If you're interested in checking out my work:
"New & Noteworthy Things | "The Book of Jeff

Editor's Picks

This month's official Writing.com writing contest is:

Rhythms & Writing: Official WDC Contest  [E]
Use the music provided to inspire your writing!
by Writing.Com Support

I also encourage you to check out the following items:

 My childish reflection on Romance  [E]
I decide to be honest towards nothing but writting.
by Sansa

EXCERPT: I read a series of comics recently( "manga"seems to be the more commonly used name, derived from Japanese) most of which were concerned with romance. I did not mean to read romance manga at first, but driven by my curiosity.

 A Dip in Darkness  [E]
A short story about a man in a cafe. Probably horror-ish (Not quite sure).
by Megalodon

EXCERPT: A man is sitting next to a window in a cafe, scrolling his device. Scribbles flash across the glaze of his eyeglasses as his eyes dart from side to side, processing the texts. He sits slightly slumped on the raised chair, where his feet are perched on the footrest. He occasionally adjusts his posture, shifting his back towards his belly, probably knowing that it will hunch again. Wisps of mist flow up and into the air of the cafe as his coffee sits on the table. The man does not mind that the coffee is getting cold. He does take a sip now and then. He pays no attention to the noise of chattering teens and the noise of the rather loud conversation between the cashier and the obnoxious customer. He continues to move his thumb up and down his screen.

 The Listener (296 words)  [E]
Daily Flash Fiction entry: Dreaming big
by LouLearning

EXCERPT: I was a strange kid. I had the strangest dream. Dad always told me to dream big.

 What?  [E]
This false life we live in
by Tommy

EXCERPT: I can't help but point out the craziness of our society. I think we all take some solace in the idea that when we contemplate being unhappy in America, guilt sets in due to how "well" we have it.

 Valtus and Nevadus  [13+]
History that explains the creation of Quito with fantasy.
by Gabo

EXCERPT: Thousands of years ago, there was a couple who were considered the kings of the mountains. This couple could not have children, so in an act of desperation, the man went to the largest volcano and shouted: “oh great volcano! help me and give me a son”, I will come every night, every year end with a little of his blood to glorify the life that the volcano gave him, a few days later his wife was pregnant.

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Ask & Answer

Feedback from "Noticing Newbies Newsletter (June 29, 2022) about the way we say things:

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