On Formatting

I know a lot of you worry about this--even knowing, as you do, that we're evaluating your words and not your drop caps, serifs and spacing.

In the age of the Kindle, many of us simply hit Forward--and the Kindle does all the formatting for us.

But--and I think this is standard for most of us who also read manuscripts on computers--we develop a pattern.

I always go (and yes, I'm a PC person):

CTRL-A (select all)
CTRL-D (font), then click Times New Roman, 12 point
CTRL-2 (double-spaced)

And then I go to the top and make the zoom 150 percent so the letters are big. I occasionally lean back in my chair and use the wireless mouse like a scrolling remote.

So, even if you send your work to me in silly Courier 10 point with single-spacing and zoomed to 25 percent, I'll read it as I prefer to see it.

The only things that annoy me: .docx files (Kindle won't take them--it's not your fault, though, which I know--and it certainly doesn't count against anyone), .pdf files (Pretty Darn Frustrating), and files with extensions my email and I can't recognize. Does any of this matter? Not really. Just don't include pictures of how you envision your cover--and we're good.

8 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

Wow. I thought I knew everything about Word, yet I never knew about Ctrl+2. You just saved me an inordinate amount of time (I start new files for random scenes all the time).

AND I despise .docx
It's nothing more than a sly way for Microsoft to force people into buying new Word systems by changing the formatting.

Have you tried OpenOffice? It's fre to use and you can open any word document and save it as a different format. It's beautiful :)

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

This is why Megan and I are real life friends. We get together once a month to slay .docx files. They are evil.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Ctrl +2! You learn something new everyday. What a useful short cut!

Agency Gatekeeper said...

Oooh. I want to see a video of you slaying .docx files.

This is the one time I wish I had a Mac: so that I could make a little video as collateral/a bribe. Aren't some bloggers doing that--one-upping each other in vlog "truth or dare"? It's a nifty idea.

Even pictures would do.

Agency Gatekeeper said...

I don't use Open Office, though my intern is trying to convert me. I just use the "view as HTML" feature. Take that, Microsoft!

Becca C. said...

I have a formatting question. I'm writing a YA novel with a lot of IM conversations and emails. I'm wondering if there is an industry standard way to format these, or if I should just go with whatever I feel looks good and works. I've been doing something like this for IM conversations, single-spaced (otherwise the conversations take up PAGES):

username: message

Is that sufficient? Or does this really not actually matter?

Vicki Rocho said...

Ctrl-D! Ctrl-D! I didn't know this, I am going to be trying this out every 30 seconds today. Thanks for that!

I just created a mock cover, but I SWEAR I'll never share it with anyone I'm going to query. It's just there because it motivates me to keep writing.

Agency Gatekeeper said...

Becca,
I think that's fine. I'd probably single-space those, and indent them a little--or treat them like quotes more than three/four lines (make a tiny, one-column, one row table, make its border invisible, center it, and put the conversation in there).

But it really doesn't matter that much, so long as they aren't difficult to read.