1. datatek
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    datatek New Member

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    Text formatting in word processors

    Discussion in 'Software' started by datatek, Jan 5, 2008.

    Hello,

    When professional novelists use word processing software (like MS Word, or Openoffice, Lotus Notes, etc), what formatting do they use? For example, I would like to know if they set it up so that they write on individual page (instead of the one long sheet) and if they configure the pages to represent the pages of the end book (possibly for the sake of overview).

    What is standard practice? Please do not limit your comments to my idea.

    Thank you
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What is delivered to the publisher is a manuscript, not a replica of what it will look like when published. There are general guidelines for manuscript formatting, but your best bet is to check the websites of publishers you are considering.

    There is a Writing Resoursce Links thread pointing to this and other useful information.
     
  3. Master of Shadows
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    Master of Shadows Member

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    I think as far as format (from what I've heard I don't know how accurate this is) all you need is times new roman (of course) and double-spaced. Other than that I'm clueless.
     
  4. datatek
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    datatek New Member

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    Thank you Cogito, that was very helpful. I followed the link you supplied and found a wealth of info. For others, the following links I found there are the ones that most answered my question.

    Edit: due to the arguable rule that one cannot post URLS before having made five posts, I have had to simply supply you the titles of the pages that I found useful.

    Manuscript Format : Short Story
    The Passionate Pen Presents ... Formatting Your Manuscript

    Thank you again
     
  5. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think some of the basic rules when submitting your work to a publishers is to keep it in black, size 10-12 text and in a font that has even spacing for each letter. A fot such as Veranda will do that for you. Make sure you have a margin on either side of the page and just type away. I set my Microsoft Word to opne automatically like that so it saves time.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Verdana is not a monospace font, and in fact monospace fonts are less readable. Verdana is a very clear font, but the drawback is that you get significantly fewer words per page than you do with Arial; enough so that it may look like you are trying to pad the manuscript.

    I had a document template set up for APA papers for school. When I realized how much it was throwing off the word count per page estimate, I switched it to Arial.

    Conventional wisdom also says that serif fonts are nmore readable in the body of text than sans serif fonts (I personally find that not to be true for me). Check whether your publisher's guidelines require a serif font for the body of the manuscript.
     
  7. datatek
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    datatek New Member

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    Most sources I have yet seen seem to conclude that you can't go wrong with 12pt Courier New (assuming, of course, that you adhere to recommended margins and line-spacings etc, which were all covered in that excellent link you mentioned in your first post).
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    For example, I would like to know if they set it up so that they write on individual page (instead of the one long sheet)

    ...pages automatically change as you get to the end of one... it would make no sense to not have pages as you write, since that's how you submit a ms... and you'll often want to rearrange your text so you won't have just a single line from the next paragraph at the bottom of a page, or start a page with just a few last words of the previous paragraph...

    never, since they're not publishing the book, just writing it...

    see above... also, see wm shunn's excellent ms format guides for standards the pros follow and the agents/editors expect... William Shunn : Manuscript Format

    as for font, only two are professional standards... times new roman and courier new... the latter is the most universally acceptable, since times is hard to read in large chunks, being much smaller and tighter...
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    For example, I would like to know if they set it up so that they write on individual page (instead of the one long sheet)

    ...pages automatically change as you get to the end of one... it would make no sense to not have pages as you write, since that's how you submit a ms... and you'll often want to rearrange your text so you won't have just a single line from the next paragraph at the bottom of a page, or start a page with just a few last words of the previous paragraph...

    never, since they're not publishing the book, just writing it...

    see above... also, see wm shunn's excellent ms format guides for standards the pros follow and the agents/editors expect... William Shunn : Manuscript Format

    as for font, only two are professional standards... times new roman and courier new... the latter is the most universally acceptable, since times is hard to read in large chunks, being much smaller and tighter...

    hope this helps...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...pages automatically change as you get to the end of one... it would make no sense to not have pages as you write, since that's how you submit a ms... and you'll often want to rearrange your text so you won't have just a single line from the next paragraph at the bottom of a page, or start a page with just a few last words of the previous paragraph...

    never, since they're not publishing the book, just writing it...

    see above... also, see wm shunn's excellent ms format guides for standards the pros follow and the agents/editors expect... William Shunn : Manuscript Format

    as for font, only two are professional standards... times new roman and courier new... the latter is the most universally acceptable, since times is hard to read in large chunks, being much smaller and tighter...

    hope this helps...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...pages automatically change as you get to the end of one... it would make no sense to not have pages as you write, since that's how you submit a ms... and you'll often want to rearrange your text so you won't have just a single line from the next paragraph at the bottom of a page, or start a page with just a few last words of the previous paragraph...

    never, since they're not publishing the book, just writing it...

    see above... also, see wm shunn's excellent ms format guides for standards the pros follow and the agents/editors expect... William Shunn : Manuscript Format

    as for font, only two are professional standards... times new roman and courier new... the latter is the most universally acceptable, since times is hard to read in large chunks, being much smaller and tighter...

    hope this helps...

    love and hugs, maia

    ps: something weird is going on with posting mechanism... my quick reply wouldn't post... hope the advanced works... m
     
  12. datatek
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    datatek New Member

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    Yes as I mentioned in my second post I found Shunn's wealth of information, but thankyou again.

    According to passionatepen.com/formatarticle.htm TNR is not a monospaced font. Who is correct?
     
  13. Manny
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    Manny Member

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    I was not aware of this:

    Do the learned folk here agree with this?

    Is there a setting in MS Word that does this together with the paragraph indentation and double spacing?
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The current standard is a single space after a sentence-ending punctuation mark. This was surprising to me when I first heard it, because I was raised in the days of manual typewriters, and two spacesw was the rule at that time. However, I have looked at various sources around the web since, and it appears the single space is now considered correct.

    I doubt any publisher would gripe about the use of two spaces in that context, but if they did, it's much easier to globally replace space-space with space than the other way around.
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...i certainly DO!... for print work, that is... for electronic [web] submissions/publishing, one space is the only way that works... but when writing for print venues, double-spacing between sentences, as with double-spacing lines, is a lot easier on readers and editors both for reading and to add editing marks/comments...

    ...no... 'twould be the height [depth?] of laziness, imo, to expect word to go that far in doing our work for us... ;-)
     
  16. datatek
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    datatek New Member

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    mammamia you didn't mention if you or the author of passionatepen.com/formatarticle.htm was wrong regarding the propriety of Times New Roman.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whatever times new roman is or is not, technically, it and courier new are the only industry 'standard' fonts for mss... mono-spacing isn't the most important factor, as far as i know... but being a serif'd font is...
     

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