Writers’ Zone: Formating. Plus, room for writers’ concerns/questions.

Writers can save time, effort by formating for publishing from the start.

A blank page.

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Regardless of how one writes – on paper, on computer, on stone tablet – one begins by facing a blank page. As someone who belongs to more than one online writers’ group/discussion page, I’ve noticed two particular concerns that come with the blank page: Story and Formatting.

Blank page against a floral background
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Story

That’s often the first concern for a writer. Under the broad umbrella of story one finds considerations of:

plotting

character development

pacing

It is not uncommon for less experienced writers to focus so much on story that they overlook another important, if less creative element of writing: formating.

Unfortunately, this creates a lot of additional work and reformating that could be avoided, if one knows and uses the expectations of formating that agents and publishers have for initial submissions.

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Formating

Writers are creative. We often like to imagine we have many choices when it comes to formating our manuscripts. And we do – up until we want to submit to an agent or publisher.

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Agent and publishers have simple expectations when it comes to how they want to see a manuscript:

12 point Times New Roman font

First paragraph of each chapter, left justified

All following paragraphs indented

Double spaced

(remove extra space before/after paragraph and use uniform double space)

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We mustn’t be discouraged about the uniform expectation for manuscript submission. Rather, we should use all that creative juice we wanted to use for formatting, and focus it on the story itself.

Questions, Concerns, Disagreement?

I am adjusting this blog slightly and rather than just featuring books/writers already published, I would like to include more information and a forum for writers working towards publication.

Do you have a writing question you’d like addresssed?

Do you disagree or have a follow up question with something said here?

Please comment or contact me.