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FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subject!!

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MeriPie

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Sorry if these are totally daft questions:

1. If you use the tab key to indent new paragraphs, is that right?

2. Are you supposed to double space after punctuation? I feel like I should know this but just the one space has always been fine in academic work so I assumed it would be OK for manuscripts too.
 

Cayal

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Can my psuedonym be Joe Kickass?
 

Culhwch

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Psuedonyms don't have much to do with formatting, and there is a thread about that very topic kicking around, but I'm going to offer an answer anyway:

Only if mine can be Mike Awesome.
 

Cayal

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

I wasn't serious. I was in a stupid mood.

When mentioning double spacing, that is for paragraphing right?
 

Culhwch

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

I was being totally serious. I'm changing all my bylines as we speak.

By 'paragraphing' do you mean spacng between paragraphs? Every line should be double spaced, not just paragraphs. Where else will there be room for the agent or editor to write, 'This is totally awesome, like a Michael Bay movie come to life but on a page!'
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

The whole manuscript should be set at double spaced. (See the first post in this thread, Cayal.) Paragraphs are indented; that's how you know where one begins. We use the extra space between paragraphs for posting things here because the way the software is set up, it won't let us indent.

MeriPie -- Yes, you can use the tab key to indent (that's how I do it, since I use my computer as a slightly more sophisticated typewriter), or you can hit the space bar five times, or set it up in any way your word processor allows you to do your formatting. So long as the indent exists, it doesn't matter how it gets there.

How many spaces to put after a full stop is a bit more complicated. It used to be two, but now it is transitioning toward one. Those of us who were taught to do two generally continue to do it that way automatically. Right now you have a choice, so do whichever comes more naturally.

Certainly, Mike Awesome will be easier for readers to pronounce than Culhwch.
 

Cayal

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Yes I meant lines, not paragraph. I confused myself and not paying much attention to anything at work right now.
 

Ursa major

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Sorry if these are totally daft questions:

1. If you use the tab key to indent new paragraphs, is that right?
Many word-processing packages allow you to set up paragraphs so that they always start with an indent (so there is no need to tab or add spaces). I do this with M$ Word.




If you're like me and omit the indent from the first paragraph in a scene, you may wish to stick with tabs or spaces. I use a seperate style** for first paragraphs (one that is derived from Normal); this has no indent.




** - Not a formatting issue as such, but that should read style(s): I use one basic style for each individual POV narration and one indent-less style for each individual POV narration. Unlike Iain Banks has claimed to have done on occasion, I don't use different colours for these. (I'm not a complete loony, you know. :) And I use text colour for other - temporary purposes.)
 

Culhwch

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

If you're like me and omit the indent from the first paragraph in a scene, you may wish to stick with tabs or spaces. I use a seperate style** for first paragraphs (one that is derived from Normal); this has no indent.
I do this to, but in a different way (I think). I have an automatic tab set for each new par, and then when I start a new scene, just hit backspace to get back to the left margin...
 

Ursa major

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Do you know: I've been aware of the action of the backspace key at the start of an indented chapter for years, but in the context of finding it annoying because it's deleting a character that isn't (strictly) there.

(I'm also guilty - is it a capital offence? - of thinking that M$ staff know what they're doing: that when a paragraph should be indented using the paragraph attributes, it's implemented in that way; whereas Word inserts a ghost character, which does not show up when you've got the show/hide flag set to Show.**)

And in all this time, it has never occurred to me that I could use this for unindenting the first paragraph in a scene. (And it works properly. If you delete the tab, then reinsert it, there's still no tab symbol shown under the Show function.)

Many thanks, Cul: I use the POV-named styles to try to help me monitor and maintain the different narrative voices I use; having two styles per POV (which seemed a good idea at the time) makes this task more complex than it needs to be.



** - If only there was a show/tell editing flag. :rolleyes:
 

MJRevell

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

I'll post my question in here, too, because I hadn't seen this thread when I asked it.

What are the differences between online manuscript format, and the more traditional one mentioned here?

I've seen some online magazines asking for online format, which seems to be a single line between paragraphs, and italics done like _this_ instead of like this -- but is there anything else?
 

J Riff

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Yea. Thanks for this Teresa, but what's with 'online' format.
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

It should be the same for an online submission as for a printed manuscript, unless the guidelines specifically ask for something else. They frequently do ask for something a bit different, so it is important to check.

I have no idea why anyone would want _italics_ instead of italics, or simply italics. There doesn't seem to be much point, but if that is what they ask for, of course that is what you need to do.

I can see asking for the story to be formatted the way it will appear online, but someone else will have to explain the reasoning behind the _italics_. I was hoping that other published writers would add their expertise to this thread. My experience, though long, is all with print publishing.
 

Mouse

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

I've had a few things published online and yeah, they pretty much all ask for different formatting so definitely read the guidelines.

I've never come across somewhere that's asked for _italics_ yet though. Maybe it's something to do with how the work gets uploaded to the website?
 

anthorn

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

When you say one third of the page for chapter one. etc. what do you mean. does that mean not under the border of the page?
As in don't just write chapter one straight away press return a couple times? Why would that be?
I'm testing my formatting out, I've done 2.50cms and that pushes the Chapter heading half way down.

And in the heading, should I include phonenumber and email?
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Address and phone number only on page one (or the cover page if you have one).

How you go about starting your chapters approximately 1/3 down from the top of the page doesn't matter -- you can hit the return several times, or do something to the document formatting in inches or centimeters, however you like to do it -- the important thing is that your manuscript look professional, and that you leave that space at the beginning of each chapter for all the notations that editors and others might put there during the editing and the production process.
 

anthorn

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Well i'm sure they'd be enough space around the margins. Thanks. Also, is it 1inch at the left or at both sides?
 

Teresa Edgerton

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

One inch top, bottom, left, right.

Plus that 1/3 page at the beginnings of chapters. They use the space in various ways.
 

anthorn

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

Seems that's an awful lot of hassle.........Well I've gotten to 70'000 words and I'm not going to quit now......Thing is I haven't formatted it yet. It's still an ordinary word document. Ah...krud
 

Ursa major

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Re: FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT -- Read this before starting a new thread on the subje

If you'd typed those 70,000 words on paper using a typewriter, it would have been a hassle.

Changing page formats in most vaguely-current versions of Word (and other WP programs) is a doddle.

Even the business with chapter headings can be done simply: either by adding a few carriage returns or by changing the style you use for the chapter titles.




(Page formatting is so easy: I've even, as an ego trip, made a version of my WIP1 to look (on screen) like a paperback book. Yes, I know: very sad. But it cheered me up at the time and it gave me a real idea of how many pages long it really would be, which is one reason why WIP1 is only two-thirds the length it once was. :))
 
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