1. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Single vs. Double space in manuscripts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Norm, May 25, 2011.

    Hello. I do not mean to imply that I have completed it yet, because I still haven't, but I was curiously pondering the future when I go to try to take this manuscript to the next level. I was thinking of what seems like a very simple question, but being unexposed to it I wouldn't know.

    You know how at University for example, most professors wish to see your essays double spaced when you turn them in so that they can read them easily and make comments between the lines. Are agents and publishers similar? Can anyone who has gone through the publication process tell me what they've noticed?

    What I mean to ask is two main questions: 1. Do most agents prefer to receive samples and manuscripts double spaced or single spaced? 2. I am also curious, when you guys are working on your WIP, do you keep it single spaced or double?

    Thanks for the insight in advance.
     
  2. Spring Gem
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    Spring Gem Member

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    Standard manuscript format is double-spaced, one inch margins all around, 12 pt Times or Courier New. Check each agent's website to make sure they don't have special formatting instructions. You can use any format you want when on your WIP, just be sure to reformat before submitting it. I often use different fonts (in 16 pt size and various colors), different background colors, and sometimes double or single spaced.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    As I understand it, standard manuscript format also has a bazillion rules about where to put the title, the page numbers, and a lot of other things, and failing to follow the standard is major points off. I keep recommending the website Author! Author!, not that I have any actual experience to judge their advice against, but just because the advice is extremely clear and backed up with extensive examples.

    ChickenFreak
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Manuscript standard is double spaced. Poetry submissions are typically single spaced. Any deviation from these standatds will be noted in the submission guidelines.

    Also, manuscript font i stypically a fixed width 12 point serif font, because typoes stand out more clearly. Ciourier or Courier New are often specified as the preteferred font.

    Print your manuscripts single sided with black ink on white paper, if hardcopy is the preferred submission medium.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Note the bolded and ridiculously enlarged words. Submission Guidelines; each agent/publisher/whatever will have them.

    Personally, I keep my stuff single spaced while I'm typing it. I put a space in between each paragraph, that way when I finish, I can print it and it makes easy reading and printing for me.

    The general thing is, as has been said, double spaced plus other little rules (look them up on the websites of your chosen publisher/agent). I double space it once I've gone through and edited a few times. If you're going to have people read it before you send it off, give them a copy where it's single spaced; if it's on the computer, they can change it to double spaced if they want, but most will find it easier to read with single spaced stuff.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can do the same thing by simply modifying the paragrapgh style in the document. You can change it in seconds, print the manuscript, and change it back in a few more seconds.

    Also, not every publisher provides detailed submission guidelinesw, so it is important to know what the standard is.
     
  7. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, but not every publisher takes unsolicited manuscripts, so you should be able to rely on an agent (or even e-mail someone and ask how they take manuscripts if it's not on their site). That said, there aren't so many publishers in Australia, so all the ones I've come across have had their submission guidelines.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I recently heard a tips from a published writer (whos blog I read from time to time) that making the page resembling a printed book pages makes it more easy to read= attractive to the publishers, by making the margins really wide, like 5 cm on each side (i don't know if that goes even for the upper and lower margin really) and I wonder if there is any aknowledged truth to it or if it is just her publishers preferences? and if so, should one use single space in these cases too? because otherwise it will resembling a reeeeaally long and narrow page :)
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't. There is no way that 5cm is anything like an industry standard or a preference. Most of the publisher's or agent's submission guidelines I've said have explicitly stated they want one inch (2.5 cm) margins on either side, and 12pt Times New Roman or Courier New font.
     
  10. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Weird advice. Mainly because agents/editors/publishers aren't interested in reading your manuscript, as they have work to do with it, and work that is often helped greatly by double spaces.

    I can't even figure out why her publisher would want that... maybe they're doing print-on-demand or e-publishing and are just converting manuscripts into book-files? I'm not sure, but that might be how they want final files to be, but first-time submissions or working drafts probably shouldn't be.
     
  11. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    People have covered how to submit it to publishers and agents. To answer your second question, for my personal use, I prefer double space, even on screen. I print it double spaced so that I can write notes or corrections between the lines (there are too many to write them in the margins), and if I went from single spaced on screen to double spaced on paper, it would be too distracting for me to accomplish what I need to accomplish. But whatever works for your proofreading eye: single or double, on screen or on paper.
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ok, I will take that advice with a pinch of salt then :) in fact I tried it out to see what it looked like and the effect is a little weird... :rolleyes:
     

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