1. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Preparing for submission

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by OurJud, Aug 29, 2015.

    The title's a little misleading if I'm honest, as I'm nowhere near ready for submitting, but a discussion in another thread regarding word processor software has got me thinking if I need to be doing anything different with my formatting, etc. The last thing I want is to finish this thing, and then discover I can't do anything with it because of formatting issues, etc.

    At the moment, I'm just plodding along, with no thoughts on formatting other than what works for me in terms of being able to read and follow things clearly.

    Perhaps if I detail my set-up, someone may be able to spot something that may cause problems when it comes to submitting.

    Software: OpenOffice
    Tabbing new paragraphs: Yes
    Font: Verdana
    Line-spacing: 1.5
    Save format: .rtf
    Separate file for each chapter: Yes
    Speech quotes: Single

    Remember, all I'm concerned with right now, is whether or not I can safely trudge along in this way, until the time comes when I need to think about submitting.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm very interested to see the replies since I'm neither tabbing paragraphs or using single speech marks. Eek.
     
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  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    First, you check the submission guidelines of the market you're submitting to. They can vary, and you may have to make changes to your document based on the market. Some markets will just say to use "standard manuscript format." Just Google examples of that and you'll see what it looks like.

    I don't ever tab for new paragraphs - I just set Word to indent. I know if you're preparing a book for something like Kindle, it is preferred that you set the word processor to indent rather than just tab over, but I'm not sure whether traditional publishers care about that or not.

    As for single quotes, if you're in the UK I think that's common, if you're in (or submitting to) the U.S., double quotes are common.
     
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  4. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Speech marks is the one that concerns me most, as it would be an awful lot of work to swap singles for doubles, if my manuscript was rejected on those grounds.

    The 'replace' function wouldn't be an option, as it would change all the apostrophies too, and I'd end up with: "Look, that"s just how it"s got to be, okay?"

    Not sure what the difference between tabs and indents are.
     
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  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, that's a tough one. Find and Replace recognizes spaces, so if you did a find for space followed by single quote, and single quote followed by space, you'd miss most of the apostrophes, though you'd still catch plural possessives. That's probably less time intensive to fix.
     
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  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Steerpike is correct with the indent vs. tab, at least with my publisher.

    Also, each chapter as a single file probably won't work for the final version. They're going to want the full file. Normally you insert a page break at the end of one chapter to begin a new chapter. And use # centered for a scene break.

    However, most of these you can fix easily once the manuscript is finished. Changing font and line spacing and format and headers and such is pretty easy. While publishers (and agents) have their own preference, it's pretty standardized...things like 1 inch margins, double spaced, etc.
     
  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Didn't realise F&R recognised spaces. Thanks for the tip.

    Does anyone else have any advice on whether I should be going with single or double speech marks? I'd rather it didn't matter either way, but I really do not relish the thought of sifting through 70,000 words to make the changes.
     
  8. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I still don't know what the difference is between tabs and indents.

    When I press return on my keyboard, the next line starts slightly indented. I don't manually have to press Tab.

    At least I don't think I do...

    I really really don't want to get bogged down with things like this at this stage, I just need to know that whatever I end up with when its finished is fixable without too much work. The last thing I want is to be in a situation where I have a manuscript that's going to be virtually impossible to fix because of the amount of work required.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
  9. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I second what @Steerpike said. Look up the standard manuscript format for your market (novels, short stories, movie scripts, etc.), and when you're ready to submit also look up what each publisher lists as their accepted format (usually the SMF or a modified version of it).

    Also, setting Word's "First line indent" (or the equvalent in your word processor) is recommended over the use of tabs since this setting is easily changed and changes will be reflected everywhere in the document.

    ETA: @OurJud, tabs are when you press 'tab' on your keyboard and are represented by a wide white-space character. Indents are when the word processor shifts the line to the right without the use of a character.
     
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  10. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Regarding double or single quotes, I'm pretty sure that both work equally well on the British market (though singles are more common). Doubles are preferred in the American market.
     
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  11. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    So if I'm not having to press tab when I hit return, that's correct, is it?
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Should be. With a lot of word processors, once you tab the first time they assume you want that indentation for every paragraph and automatically set it.
     
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  13. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    Yes. My limited understanding of it is that if you press the tab key to make first line indents then you've inserted a character (albeit one that doesn't show in most programs unless you turn that function on) that could be misread when your file is read by other text-reading/editing programs. If you use a macro to set the value for you, then that is read the same way by other software, like Kindle et al. As to what macros are... I get myself mixed up with my own analogies. They're basically little programs run within programs with limited functions -- I think? -- that can be universally read in the same way all browsers read html. That's my understanding, from a relatively technologically inept standpoint, but I'd be curious to hear what others have to say about them: I find it hard to plant stuff like this in the sand in my head.
     
  14. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When it comes to replacing single quotes with double quotes (should you need that) you could use a "regular expression" search (you search for a pattern rather than an exact word/phrase/etc.). LibreOffice has that feature so I assume that OpenOffice has it as well (since both projects share the same roots).

    Using the following regex should match all single quotes used in quotations (i.e. not the apostrophes in sentences like "the girls' books" and "I'm gettin' out of here"):
    Code:
    (?<=(\W|\s|^))'
    (Yes, this is a rather techie solution. But I love regexes and can't ever miss out on a chance to use 'em. ;))


    ETA: For the sake of completeness I'll add a screenshot of how to enable regexes in LibreOffice.
    Screenshot 2015-08-29 22.18.40.png
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2015
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  15. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's great, Komposten. I'd certainly never have sussed that one myself.

    Steerpike and Woof, thanks for the info on tabs. I was wondering how it was indenting automatically, as I don't remember setting them up, but if it sets them up when you put your first manual tab in, that explains it.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you use double quotes, you can easily mass change them to single, in seconds. If you use single, the reverse is not true. So I suggest double, even if you're fairly sure that most people want single.

    Edited to add: Author! Author! (annemini.com) says that double quotes are the American standard.
     
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  17. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    UK standard is single, with double for quotes in quotes.

    Either way, that's a straightforward issue for a copyeditor/proofreader to fix if your MS is accepted somewhere and they want to reformat it.
     
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  18. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's the kind of info I was praying for.

    Thanks everyone.
     

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