A short post this morning and I am once again later getting up, although I was scribbling notes and reading in bed so I was still working… honest!
I talked on Monday at the Canvey Writers’ meeting about following guidelines when it comes to submitting work and I think it’s worth noting, especially if you’re new to all of this.
There are standard formatting styles and I advise writers to get into good habits and use the Times New Roman font, 12 pt, double spacing, standard indents as a rule of thumb. You can change font or spacing if the publisher or competition rules suggest it, but this is the usual accepted form. But do you know to use the paragraph tab to tick ‘remove extra space between paragraphs’? This stops the odd spacing when you press return, so if you end a paragraph or have dialogue.
Do you make sure you do not indent for chapter openings and new scenes and only indent for a new paragraph or speaker or reaction by a speaker?
Do you make sure you follow themes and word counts? Check all grammar and punctuation? It counts, it looks professional.
If you send work out to agents and publishers do you make sure you follow their guidelines to the letter and make it professional. Please don’t tell me you have written query letters and synopses in the voices of your characters! Yes people do it. Don’t try to be clever. Be professional.
Part of getting the basic rules right shows a publisher or agent that you can follow the rules; that if they like your work it might be possible to cultivate a good working relationship.
So get it right!
If you want more on this I have a handout I give to clients and I gave to the writing group, available on request if you message or email me. It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense, but it matters if you want to be taken seriously.
That’s it folks. Sorry about the lack of post yesterday, I had an internet that stayed on for all of 15 seconds at a time, which made it hard to Blog, but we seem to be working okay today. Maybe it didn’t like the high winds and rain we had here yesterday!
Have a productive and happy working day folks!