Monday, September 28, 2009

Help!

Submission guidelines are detailed right down to formatting your manuscript. I'm asking for some advice from all my blogging buddies out there.

1. Currently, each chapter of my manuscript is in a separate document. There are no hard page breaks to allow for easier editing. I also do not have headers, footers, or automatic page numbering. My questions: Do I need hard page breaks? Headers? Footers? Automatic page numbering?

2. What margins are standard for a manuscript?

3. What features would you like to see here at Christian Writer/Reader Connection? I'd appreciate some feedback and suggestions for future posts.

4. Tip for you: If you're running IE 8 and having trouble viewing the top portion of my blog, go to Tools and check Compatibility View. This will adjust the view to a previous IE version. With Firefox, go to Tools and check IE view.

Thanks!

20 comments:

Cindy said...

Hey Susan, I have trouble reading the top portion of your blog but I use Firefox and I have no idea how to fix it!

I've always submitted pages with one inch margins all the way around. Do you mean hard break between scenes? Because as long as they're distinguishable between scenes you should be fine. As far as page numbering, if it's just an initial query you'll probably submit pages in the body of your e-mail. Further than that, you'll need standard formatting with the 12 pt. font, Times New Roman or something simple like that to read. One inch margins and page numbers would be good. It might depend on the agent or editor. I've done it this way in the past but that was a long time ago--someone with recent experience might have a better answer!

And I enjoy your blog, particularly the interesting links you come up with. I'd love to hear more about you and your writing, though!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

Thanks for responding. I've been told if you go to tools and click on IE view, you'll be able to see the entire post.

I appreciate the info on formatting. I was referring to hard breaks between pages. Using them makes editing a nightmare. However, several workshop teachers and people who've looked at some chapters commented on the lack of hard breaks between pages.

Also, all my chapters are in separate documents - again for ease of editing. If you send an entire manuscript to an agent or editor, does it have to be in a single document?

I'm glad you enjoy the links. Some of my earlier posts talked about how I got into writing, etc. I guess it's time to do some more. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Jessica said...

Hi Susan, I think Cindy probably nailed most of your questions. You'll def. want your manuscript in one document, though I don't have page breaks so I'm not sure how that works.
For a full manuscript you definitely need headers and page numbering. You have Word, right?

Good luck! I'm still trying to figure out formatting stuff myself. If I find a good article on it I'll send it your way. :-)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

The one-inch margins are standard, I think, and I'm curious as to why you keep each chapter in a separate document.

It's standard to put in a page break between chapters and keep it in one document. An easy readable font is also recommended, like Courier or Times New Roman in 12-pt size. And don't forget to number your pages in a header with the title, your name and contact info.

How did I miss you at conference? I would have like to have connected!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Thanks so much. Isn't the editing a bear with it all in one document? I have a hard enough time with every chapter in its own cozy file.

I number my pages at the top:

Reinhardt-Echoes-Chapter 3-Page 1

I can see the advantages of automatic page numbering. When I'm editing and sections move to the next page, I have to manually move the page numbering to the right place.

Thanks again. I'd appreciate any articles you come across on the subject.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Eileen -

Easy - I wasn't there! LOL! I go to the Philly conference every year. It's close, so I'm able to commute.

Ah, a page break between each chapter. So, I could still edit to my heart's content without messing up the entire document? That I could handle.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Cindy said...

I tried your suggestion to view the top part of the page but that didn't seem to be an option under Tools. I'll keep looking at it, but I can definitely view the whole post in Google Reader so it's not that big of a deal :D Have a great day!

Lily said...

Yes, put it all in one document. I insert bookmarks at the beginning of each chapter, and at particular spots in the story, to make it easier to refer back to those points. I also use one at the point I leave off, so when I open my file, I can go directly to that spot. Use auto page numbering. Why do more work than necessary? Let the computer earn its keep!

I have Firefox, and there is no IE view under tools, unless it's hidden under one of the tab selections. I just click the comments, and then 'show original post' to see the top. Yours is the only blog that has done this on me.

Jean Fischer said...

Hi, Susan.

When I write, I keep chapters as separate documents. That makes it easier for me to edit and keep track of word count. Before I submit, I copy/paste the chapters into one document and format it there. I use a hard break between chapters, not pages.

I can't see the top portion of your page on either Firefox or Safari. I use a Mac, and there is no IE option in Firefox for Mac. IE stopped supporting the Mac platform several years ago.

I enjoy your blog! Can you tell us about what you're currently writing?

Becky Lange said...

Hope you get it all ironed out :). I always hated formatting things! Especially since my Word knowledge is basic at best. The tip Eileen posted about page breaks between chapters sounds very, very helpful -- I'll have to keep it in mind.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

Sorry that didn't work. Someone else tried it successfully. Maybe it was under view? It's worth a try.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Lily -

Thanks for the tips.

Well, I guess the "fix" for Firefox didn't work. I'm glad I was able to get the entire post with the "compatibility view" in the Tools menu. Thank you for your persistence.

Perhaps others can use your method or Cindy's to get around the problem.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

Thanks for your advice. I'm going to print out all these comments.

Maybe someone has an answer to the dilemma of chopped off posts. I appreciate your information about the Mac.

It seems everyone is interested in my current writing project. I'll have to do a post on the subject.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Becky -

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Formatting is important to editors. With all the reading they must do, weird fonts or 10 Pt. would be hard on their eyes. I sure don't want anyone tossing aside my manuscripts because they're incorrectly formatted.

Guess we'll have to give 'em what they want.

Blessings,
Susan :)

MaryAnn Diorio, Ph.D., CLC said...

Hi, Susan,

Have you considered putting your entire manuscript in one document? I used to separate chapters but it got quite confusing. Now I have everything in one manuscript and keep adding to it as I write.

Blessings,

MaryAnn

MaryAnn Diorio, Ph.D., CLC said...

Hi, Susan,

Have you considered putting your entire manuscript in one document? I used to separate chapters but it got quite confusing. Now I have everything in one manuscript and keep adding to it as I write.

Blessings,

MaryAnn

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Hi Susan!

Thanks for visiting me. :-)

The best resource I've found for manuscript formatting is Camy Tang's storysensei.blogspot.com

If you click on her manuscript formatting topic, you will get not only a description of standard formatting but also *instructions* on how to do everything in MSWord, in case you don't know. She also provides sample pages. This was a lifesaver for me when I submitted my first manuscript.

I chime in with the other responders: hard page breaks and one document are a necessity. I draft my chapters as separate documents, then cut and paste them into my ongoing full manuscript document. I make all subsequent edits to the full manuscript version, NOT to the individual chapter documents. I then save it as I go, with dates in the document title e.g. SaddlersfullmssSep21. This prevents any confusion between different drafts or more recent edits. Hope that helps!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi MaryAnn -

Thanks for your suggestion. I find it easier to work with each chapter in a separate document. When I send it to an editor or agent, I'll copy/paste everything into a single document.

Several people have suggested putting hard breaks between chapters, but not between individual pages. I think that would work well for me.

BTW, I was sad to see you're no longer publishing TopNotch Writer. I enjoyed the ezine and glad I had an opportunity to contribute an article.

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rosslyn -

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll have to check out Camy's site.

At present I have my manuscript in a folder to corral each chapter document. When I did a major re-write, I opened a new folder and copy/pasted each chapter into it. Then I revised the manuscript.

After I finish the current edit, I'm going to move everything into a single document. Everyone seems to think that's the way to go.

Thanks again.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thanks everyone! You guys are awesome!

I've printed out all your comments and will apply your advice to my manuscript. :)