Until you favor your folks to be story nerds or those that lean towards obsessive-compulsive tendencies relating to grammar, you shouldn’t essentially search to befriend your editor.
Nonetheless, you ought to search to do every thing in your energy to be a skilled buddy of your editor. One of many easiest methods to try this — which too many authors fail to think about — is formatting.
I do know. With the best of respect for guide designers and inner formatters, formatting isn’t precisely the sexiest of matters for an writer to think about. You’d a lot moderately paint a brand new world on the canvas of your guide than discuss unadorned, 12-point Instances New Roman.
However that’s why we have to discuss it.
Once you skip over the fundamentals of how your manuscript is formatted, you’re subconsciously displaying an absence of respect on your craft and your editor. If you happen to ship a poorly formatted manuscript to your editor, they very seemingly gained’t say something, however I can promise you that they’re considering one in every of two issues:
I can hardly learn this manuscript.
I’m losing my time reformatting this manuscript.
In these cases, an editor will both edit your manuscript as-is or spend the time you’re paying them for to do the work you possibly can have (and will have) carried out your self.
However when you incorporate the standardized fundamentals of formatting a manuscript in preparation on your editor, you’ll see that it’ll save each you and your editor loads of time and frustration.
Plus, after you have the fundamentals down, you may create a guide format template for future use.
10 suggestions for nailing your guide format
Whereas this text makes an attempt to supply standardized suggestions, some editors, brokers or publishing homes could have their very own formatting stipulations. All the time you’ll want to scan web sites for that info, and when unsure, ask.
The next formatting suggestions maintain true for each fiction and nonfiction manuscripts within the U.S. Any accepted variations are famous, and feedback are appreciated with regard to variations for worldwide markets.
Right here’s what’s anticipated for the standard manuscript format.
1. Use black, 12-point, Instances New Roman because the font
Sure, Instances New Roman is boring, nevertheless it’s basically on each pc ever made.
Don’t use a cool font for impact. Save that on your inside design, which comes a lot later after the modifying course of.
(Font trivia: Instances New Roman is now not utilized by The Instances.)
2. Use the U.S. customary web page measurement of eight.5×11 inches and set your margins to 1 inch on all sides
Beginning a brand new doc in Phrase defaults to those parameters, however when you’re exporting to Phrase out of your phrase processor of alternative, double-check the output to make sure your web page measurement and margins are appropriate.
To set web page measurement in Phrase, go to File>Web page Setup and take a look at the drop-down menu for Web page Dimension.
To set margins in Phrase, go to Format>Doc.
three. Set alignment to left justified
Left justified textual content is also called ragged proper textual content. The textual content will align itself alongside its left facet, leaving its proper facet nonuniform (unjustified).
To set alignment in Phrase, choose all your textual content, then click on the left justification icon within the House tab or choose Format>Paragraph and select “Left” within the Alignment drop-down field.
four. Use a single area after intervals
If you happen to had been skilled to kind two areas after a interval, retrain your self.
Within the digital age, use a single area. (For why, see “House Invaders.”)
Tip: in case your manuscript has two areas after a interval, use your phrase processor’s Discover and Substitute device. Sort two areas into “Discover” and one area into “Substitute” then hit “Substitute All” with reckless, typing-teacher-be-damned abandon.
5. Use double-spaced line spacing
This can be the best assist to your editor.
You wish to guarantee they see your each final phrase, so give your phrases room to breathe on the web page.
Tip: when you’ve already written your guide with totally different line spacing, choose all your textual content in Phrase, click on Format > Paragraph, then choose “Double” within the drop-down field beneath “Line spacing.”
6. Indent all paragraphs by .5 inches, and don’t hit tab or area to indent
This can be each editor’s pet peeve. Setting tabs and hitting tab aren’t the identical factor.
If you happen to’re a tab-hitter or space-space-space-space-spacer, choose all your textual content in Phrase, then set indentation utilizing Format > Paragraph. Below “Indentation” and by “Left,” kind .5. beneath “Particular,” then select “First line” from the drop-down menu.
Notice: Typically, the primary paragraph of any chapter, after a subhead, or following a bulleted or numbered checklist isn’t indented.
7. Format paragraphs based on style requirements
Fiction authors ought to use indented paragraphs with out full paragraph breaks. Nonfiction authors could go for no indentation as long as paragraphs are separated by a full paragraph break.
Tip: Crack open a guide in your style to see what the paragraphing conventions are, then emulate.
eight. Use web page breaks
To start a brand new chapter, don’t simply preserve hitting return till you create a brand new web page. Reasonably, use web page breaks.
In Phrase, place the cursor on the finish of a chapter, then click on “Insert > Break > Web page Break” in Phrase’s prime menu.
9. Quantity your pages
Don’t start numbering in your title web page. Reasonably, start numbering on the web page your story begins.
To put web page numbers in Phrase, double-click throughout the header space of the web page on which your story begins and click on “Insert > Web page Numbers,” then choose your most popular choices. Select to put your web page numbers on the prime left of the web page.
10. Ship your manuscript as one Phrase doc (.doc /.docx)
You don’t need to compose your masterpiece in Phrase, however as a result of Phrase’s “Observe Modifications” characteristic remains to be the de facto modifying device of alternative, your editor will recognize receiving a Phrase file.
And no matter you do, by no means ship your editor particular person chapters as separate recordsdata.
These 10 easy-to-follow steps will put you in your editor’s good facet. Whereas every of those points sometimes doesn’t take an excessive amount of time to rectify, the issues are compounded when an editor has to repair various.
When an editor receives a well-formatted manuscript, they’ll instantly start the work that you simply’re really paying them to do: modifying!
We up to date this submit in 2019 so it’s extra helpful and related for our readers!
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In regards to the Creator: Blake Atwood
Blake Atwood is the writer of Don’t Concern the Reaper: Why Each Creator Wants an Editor and a contract editor and author with EditFor.me.