Wednesday, February 27, 2013

02/27/2013 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back everyone! This week has been one that likes challenging my ability to get up in the morning. Hopefully that's going a bit easier for all of you. The important part is that I'm up now and will also remain so for the important parts of my day. Like working, I should probably be awake while I'm at work...

Recently I've been talking about things on a broader scale of importance, like the whole thing on patience, and our Valentine's Day special. followed by last week's post on time progression (that was the correct order, right?) and something that has hit me in the back of the head fairly recently was something very specific and yet not something that is usually considered until it's far too late. Formatting. Making sure your document is readable is so very important, which I'm sure everyone agrees with, but anyone can put words down on paper and as long as they're in a language your reader understands they are considered 'readable'. The thing I'm trying to get at today is formatting in such a way that you don't feel like you've made dozens of bad life choices down the road, particularly while editing.

During a certain month of the year writing is more about speed and quantity than quality, and frankly sometimes just when you're writing in general you are 'in the zone' and can't be moved from it. Something so small are numbering a chapter has the potential to knock you away from it that you just decide that putting a small break there would be enough. However what happens when you have a perspective break in the same chapter and you decide, because you're me and younger and stupid, to make them look exactly the same. You think that when you go to put in your chapters it will be obvious where you wanted that number to be, but after having pretended something didn't exist for however long it's been, you no longer remember where that spot was. Welcome to my life, and I am here to give a cautionary tale so that you don't make the same mistakes I did.

In my current works I am doing the smart thing and numbering my chapters, all of my works-in-progress that aren't in the editing stage have numbered chapters. However, that wasn't always the case, and currently 'Rending the Seal' is not like that, and I am regretting the more impatient side of me. Having breaks in chapters is something that pretty much every story ever has, and that's fine, however you really should make those different from where you plan on putting your chapters (if you're not numbering the chapters right away) just to make you life easier later. That way it will save you time and heartache as well when it's ready to begin the editing process.

Another thing, and this is particular if you are planning on publishing through some kind of ePub like Smashwords or even Amazon, is that the systems they use to 'read' all of their potential entries looks at things like tabs, spaces, and even alignments. Smashwords, for example hates the tab button with a passion. In their guide they explain how to set up a saved format in whatever word processor you happen to be using that will make all the tabs/indents for you because your work will constantly get kicked out if it detects the use of the tab button. Now this was something that was learned the first time around with 'The Light Rises', mostly because I didn't know that was a thing that happened, and have since saved a specific format in my Word program for my 'professional' works. I do recommend if you are going to go the self-publishing route to look into what formats your future publishing outlet requires before throwing it at them. It will save you a lot of time and effort in the end, because while trying to find every instance of where you accidentally used the tab button isn't hard, depending on how long your story is, it can be very time consuming. Also keep in mind that if you are going after an agency, they prefer things to be double-spaced as well, so if you send your manuscript to them and it's not, there's a chance that they can just toss it over their shoulders and it'll no longer exist. Be sure to check the submission guidelines ANYWHERE you plan on putting your story before you send it.

I very much appreciate everyone for stopping by again today. I hope to see you all on Friday for my normal weekly review. Remember, if you ever have any questions, comments, emotional outbursts, or just want to say something or make a recommendation feel free to let me know. I enjoy getting replies or messages from the people who visit here as it lets me know that this blog is doing something correctly. For now though, I'll be off and I hope everyone has a good rest of the week!

No comments:

Post a Comment