1. Victorian girl
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    Victorian girl Member

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    Paragraphs in a novel

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Victorian girl, Jul 15, 2010.

    Hello, pleased to meet you all :D

    I am writing my first novel hopefully will be finished in about three months. I have heard that with paragraphs you need to start each paragraph three spaces in (three tabs). And also when starting a new line of speech it needs to be done in the same way even in mid paragraph.

    Can anyone confirm this?

    Thanks a lot!

    Michelle xx
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Victorian Girl,

    If you're referring to manuscript format for submission of a piece, you'd want to check the individual market's guidelines.

    That said, in general:

    A manuscript should be double spaced (extra line between lines of prose). Set your word processor to do this, not by typing 'enter' twice at the end of each line. I know a lot of folks know this, but someone coming across this thread may not.

    Use 12 pt font, either Times Roman or Courier

    1 inch margins minimum on all sides of the page (if you print, print one side only, standard 8.5 x 11 inch white paper).

    # centered or some other similar symbol for scene breaks within a chapter.

    Page Break at the end of each chapter, starting the new one on the next page, top.

    Indent roughly 5 spaces (1/2 inch tab) at the beginning of a new paragraph. This can be set automatically with your word processor. Indenting isn't necessary at the beginning of a chapter or a new scene within a chapter.

    Number the pages at the top in the header, also include last name/title (or a shortened version of it).

    Orphan control off (so that even if a paragraph only has one line on the bottom of the page, it won't move it to the next to make it more 'readable').

    ====

    Those are just some of the basics off the top of my head. There are websites you can check out for more specifics, but really you'll want to just write the novel in a form that is easiest for you to work with, and worry about proper formatting at the end, just before submission. So if another font, or you prefer single spaced, works better for you, go with that until you are ready to send your work off to an agent or editor.

    Here is one example from the SFWA website on Mansucript Preparation.

    Good luck moving forward!

    Terry
     
  3. Victorian girl
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    Victorian girl Member

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    Thanks very much TWErvin2! That`s a great help, the links are also very helpful.

    I can see I am going to learn a lot from people on here :D

    Michelle xx
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's pretty much standard to indent 5 spaces. Yes, always check guidelines if you are writing for a particular publisher or magazine.

    'And also when starting a new line of speech it needs to be done in the same way even in mid paragraph.'

    By this, I take it you mean, every time a different person speaks, you indent? Yes. In fact, you may have a new paragraph if the same person is talking and their speech goes on for more than four sentences or so, e.g. if they are giving a long explanation about something that has happened. Just start a new paragraph as you would do if it was not dialogue, i.e. every time something new is raised.
     
  5. Victorian girl
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    Victorian girl Member

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    Yes Madhoca that is what I meant. Thanks very much, again, a great help :)

    xx
     
  6. Herl
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    Herl Member

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    Indeed a lot of information I didn't know... thanks

    *taking notes*
     

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