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Old 10-15-2010, 08:23 AM   #1
cybmole
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out of context ? in lit source novel

I have a source whcih contains strange ? intermittently e.g.
" She waved a hand, dismissing my words. "Ech. Don't tell me about a bad day?you should have the kind of bad day I've had." Then she laughed. "Oh, wait?you did."

I cannot guess, from contexts, what character(s) these ? are replacing, sometimes they are where I'd expect to see a comma,

e.g.
" I tore my gaze from that macabre display and scanned the shelves full of bottles?rows and rows of them?that lined the small room."

but sometimes there is one at the start of a spoken phrase
"Mo ain't got the balls to squash a bug. Me and her got into it right and proper, and I almost had the skinny bitch until she shoved me backward. Then bam?" Caprice smacked her hands together, making me jump. "? out went the lights. Next thing I know,

& sometimes there's none at all for 2 - 3 pages.

I've tried conversions with thw transliterate unicode box ticked but makes no difference, neither does the smarten punctuation tick box.

could they be replacing some sort of font change instruction as they do seem to occur in pairs ?

apart from this strange puzzle the source seems to have a full character set, including italics, lots of correct punctuations, some correct usage of ? ....

I doubt there's a practical auto-fix - that would require having the original source used to make the .lit, because inside of the .lit source it's just ? characters within the text strings.

but can anyone offer an explanation of how these could have gotten into the .lit ?

Last edited by cybmole; 10-15-2010 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 10-15-2010, 08:31 AM   #2
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From the examples, I would bet that they were at one point m-dashes (long hyphens). The one after the " would be a strange usage, but I have seen similar when the author wanted to indicate a pause at the beginning of the phrase.
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Old 10-15-2010, 08:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
I doubt there's a practical auto-fix but can anyone offer an explanation of how these could have gotten into the source ?
Try setting the character encoding of your source in Look & Feel. I'd try CP1252. They may be emdashes or endashes. You could open the file with a hex editor and look at the hex code for those characters, but trying several different character encodings is easier.
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Old 10-15-2010, 10:18 AM   #4
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thanks guys - the emdashes idea is plausible.

i don't have the real source -source, I only have the .lit, and in that file they have already become question marks.

I'll look for a different format source or sample though, & see if the emdashes idea checks out- thanks
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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You can extract the HTML out of the lit file using some utilities. Google convert lit to html.
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by dmapr View Post
You can extract the HTML out of the lit file using some utilities. Google convert lit to html.
You can use debug during calibre conversion to look at the html, but as the poster said it won't do any good because the source lit file is already corrupted.

Unless of course he is using calibre to view the lit file, then it could be a encoding problem because calibre converts the lit to epub for viewing.

@cybmole are you using Microsoft Reader to view the source file?
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
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You can extract the HTML out of the lit file using some utilities. Google convert lit to html.
yes, but like I said earlier the damage is already done. I view the lit source in calibre wizard & see that the strange ? are already embedded within the text.

I can't convert to .rtf & do the word find & replace all trick as some ? are correct & it would take ages to manually confirm each change
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Old 10-16-2010, 02:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dwanthny View Post
You can use debug during calibre conversion to look at the html, but as the poster said it won't do any good because the source lit file is already corrupted.

Unless of course he is using calibre to view the lit file, then it could be a encoding problem because calibre converts the lit to epub for viewing.

@cybmole are you using Microsoft Reader to view the source file?
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yes, but like I said earlier the damage is already done. I view the lit source in calibre wizard & see that the strange ? are already embedded within the text.

I can't convert to .rtf & do the word find & replace all trick as some ? are correct & it would take ages to manually confirm each change
My mistake, I understood those to appear after converting the LIT file to another format.
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Old 10-16-2010, 03:39 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
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Unless of course he is using calibre to view the lit file, then it could be a encoding problem because calibre converts the lit to epub for viewing.
I view the lit source in calibre wizard & see that the strange ? are already embedded within the text.
As I stated previously calibre converts the lit file to epub on the fly to view it in the calibre viewer. This means it is possible that there is a character encoding problem with the lit to epub conversion. To find out if the lit file is corrupt try viewing it in its native format using Microsoft Reader.
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Old 10-16-2010, 04:37 AM   #10
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ok - let's see I got the microsoft reader - confusing piece of software - no apparent way to add books to it's library... so navigate to calibre library & try open with....

I still see the ? within the reader text e.g. in this extract , pasted from MS reader screen

"I opened my eyes, relieved but not really surprised.
After all?it wasn’t...."

& this one
"Irene’s dead. Says she died yesterday?right here in this hospital

from the context in which these ? are appearing, it would make perfect sense that they began life as emdashes

so the auto-fix instruction would have to do this: locate any instance of a ? which is not preceded by OR followed by a space character and then replace it with space+emdash+space.
that should not change genuine end of sentence ? marks.
could that be done in regex ?

maybe that yould be done but in the meantime I've now finished reading teh book already so it becomes an academic challenge.

interestingly - the next book of the same series ( same source, same format) does not have this problem.

Last edited by cybmole; 10-16-2010 at 04:44 AM.
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Old 10-16-2010, 06:13 AM   #11
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ok - let's see I got the microsoft reader - confusing piece of software - no apparent way to add books to it's library... so navigate to calibre library & try open with....

I still see the ? within the reader text e.g. in this extract , pasted from MS reader screen
Well now we know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cybmole View Post
"I opened my eyes, relieved but not really surprised.
After all?it wasn’t...."
My copy of the book has -- every place a emdash should be.

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interestingly - the next book of the same series ( same source, same format) does not have this problem.
So how was the book?
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:33 AM   #12
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Well now we know.

So how was the book?
the book was "Terri Garey - Dead girls are easy" - book 1 of Nicki Styx
- seems everyone & his dog is writing "urban fantasy" / chick/vamp series nowadays but it was good enough for me to plan to read the rest of the series
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Old 10-16-2010, 08:36 AM   #13
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the book was "Terri Garey - Dead girls are easy" - book 1 of Nicki Styx
I was able to tell the book by a simple Google of the phrase "Irene’s dead. Says she died yesterday"

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seems everyone & his dog is writing "urban fantasy" / chick/vamp series nowadays but it was good enough for me to plan to read the rest of the series
Thanks for the info. I had it tagged as a Paranormal Romance vice Urban Fantasy but there is usually a large overlap between the two so I tagged it as Urban Fantasy as well.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:08 AM   #14
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You can extract the HTML out of the lit file using some utilities. Google convert lit to html.
If they do not have DRM, just use Calibre to do it.
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Old 10-16-2010, 09:09 AM   #15
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You've downloaded a poor copy of Dead Girls Are Easy By Terri Garey.
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