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Angry Robot open door for May

L.L.Lotte

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I suspect the "industry standard" of double spacing dates back to the days of typewriters where manuscripts had to be printed out in order to be edited. The double space gives room for editors to hand write notes.

Personally, I don't understand why they haven't moved on from double space format with the advent of Microsoft Word and its note taking / editing features. And even if they still do print off the manuscripts... take a moment to consider the trees!
 

Dan Jones

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Personally, I don't understand why they haven't moved on from double space format with the advent of Microsoft Word and its note taking / editing features.
I think it's because single-spaced is just horrible to read, especially on screen. I can live with 1.5 line spacing, but single spacing on a screen is a real strain on the eyes, and it ain't great when printed either.
 

Ursa major

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Personally, I don't understand why they haven't moved on from double space format with the advent of Microsoft Word and its note taking / editing features.
Editing is a funny business... and that includes editing one's own manuscript(s).

When editing in Word (other bloated word processing applications are available), it is easy to be distracted, particularly where an error requires a major change (so not just minor spelling or grammar errors). Marking up a document with a pencil or pen on paper makes it harder (though, sadly, not impossible) to jump in. There's also the issue of mixing up the finding of faults with the correction of them**.

Note also that the author can distance themselves from their work in other ways in order to make their fault finding more effective: if one reads one's text out aloud, one can often spot what ought to be obvious errors that the eye, without the help of the voice processing parts of the brain, skips over (because we often "know" what were have written, even if we've not actually written it down as we "remember" it).

Reading out aloud can also help with improving the flow of the text: if we stumble over something when speaking it, this can be an indication that others -- the readers -- might also stumble over it.


** - A significant part of my career was in writing and reviewing software (not at a the level of the code, but of its deisgn). One technique for fault finding is to focus entirely on spotting faults and then correcting them later (once one has considered the wider implications of what changing the software might mean). While this technique was aimed primarily at situations where a group was considering, in a meeting, design errors (which can lead to a further degree of distraction, as people -- almost inevitably -- debate alternative solutions), it's also useful when people are doing the task by themselves.
 

-K2-

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Note also that the author can distance themselves from their work in other ways in order to make their fault finding more effective: if one reads one's text out aloud, one can often spot what ought to be obvious errors that the eye, without the help of the voice processing parts of the brain, skips over (because we often "know" what were have written, even if we've not actually written it down as we "remember" it).

Reading out aloud can also help with improving the flow of the text: if we stumble over something when speaking it, this can be an indication that others -- the readers -- might also stumble over it.
Though just a novice, that same advice helped me considerably a couple years ago. Granted, for a reason difficult to explain, I have trouble with this (how I speak and write are two very different things), nevertheless, it helped tremendously. That said...

Reading aloud helps, but reading the work aloud to another person helps considerably more (for me at least). Just like when we read to ourselves, automatically filling in words and punctuation in our minds, missing problems, when we read aloud to 'ourselves' we do the same to a lesser degree. Often, skipping over minor stumbles. When we read aloud to another, that's when you REALLY find issues because what your mind automatically fills in isn't conveyed.

Try it, you'll see what I mean.

K2
 

Ursa major

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One person to whom you can read out aloud is yourself... if you've recorded what you've said.

Don't get too close to the microphone -- advice that I don't always seem to take -- as the sounds of breathing (not to mention mouth movements**) can be distracting.


** - There's a BBC correspondent (on Defence matters, I think) whose recordings for radio programmes are littered with breathing and various mouth sounds but, presumably because the microphone is kept out of shot, fine when she's talking to camera.
 

Scookey

Author of the AD2045 sci-fi series
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Haven’t had a confirmation though, but no bounced email. I’ll assume all is well
I got an automated reply pretty much straight away. Suggest you resubmit.
On the spacing query front, agree that double line spacing has been industry standard with manuscripts but when you are submitting digital typescript samples, isn't it easy enough just to zoom in? There was no stated spacing requirement in the submission details so just sent single spaced.
Good luck to everyone who submitted and well done for doing so.
Sam
 

Scookey

Author of the AD2045 sci-fi series
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Good luck, @Jo Zebedee.

I think a story being a bit short matters much less than it being too long. ;)
If a publisher requires a certain story length to meet their requirements then submitting too short simply fails that requirement. If you submit a little too long, at least the content can all be seen and a decision made as to whether it can be viably cut to required length or not. At least that was the attitude of the design studio and marketing when I used to work in house.
 

Jo Zebedee

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blah - flags. So many flags.
I got an automated reply pretty much straight away. Suggest you resubmit.
On the spacing query front, agree that double line spacing has been industry standard with manuscripts but when you are submitting digital typescript samples, isn't it easy enough just to zoom in? There was no stated spacing requirement in the submission details so just sent single spaced.
Good luck to everyone who submitted and well done for doing so.
Sam
I think I’ll let karma rule on this one. I’m not happy with the mss anyway .
 

L.L.Lotte

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If a publisher requires a certain story length to meet their requirements then submitting too short simply fails that requirement. If you submit a little too long, at least the content can all be seen and a decision made as to whether it can be viably cut to required length or not. At least that was the attitude of the design studio and marketing when I used to work in house.
They actually answered this on their website and said they are flexible in either direction
 
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