A short lesson today about formatting. Most formatting a client leaves in their manuscript can be removed easily, however, there are a few which can’t. Or, should I say, I’ve been unable to find a way so far. I’ve researched and looked and still nothing. They only way I can think of removing this particular error is by teaching the author/writer or client to not put it there in the first place.
This all comes down to INDENTS. IF YOU CAN’T USE AUTO STYLES TO INDENT THEN PLEASE DON’T INDENT AT ALL!!
DON’T USE THE TAB – This is easy to remove when formatting. We don’t use the TAB because the INDENT is too big. Also If you end up wanted to go to TRAD PUBLISHERS they will want you to use AUTO STYLES and will reject most things without them. Please make sure you read their criteria for submissions if you do try TRAD PUBLISHING.
DON’T USE THE SPACEBAR – There is an easy way to remove this if there are TWO or more SPACES. If there is less then it becomes an issue. If you are self-publishing it will mean your contractor (if you contract out for formatting) will charge you extra to remove them. It would be better if they aren’t there in the first place!!
WHEN YOU FIND ONE SPACE AT THE BEGINNING OF A SENTENCE THE ERROR IS TIME CONSUMING TO REMOVE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A LONG MANUSCRIPT. EACH AND EVERY ONE HAS TO BE REMOVED INDIVIDUALLY.
Most writers won’t notice they have them unless they work with the PILCROW SYMBOL, also known as Paragraph Mark (Shown below in the image.
When you use this symbol, it shows you where all your line spaces are, your extra spaces, double spaces, how your headings sit etc. In the next photo it shows you the extra space a writer has left behind. It is something most of us do. Even I have done this. for a formatter or interior book designer, it takes extra time and costs you – the writer, more.
In the last image, I have removed all the single dots you see at the beginning of each sentence so the manuscript sits perfectly. We have to do in and put the cursor behind the dot and backspace… on every single one. If there are TWO or more, it is easy to do and can be done in one go for the whole document.
Do you see the difference? The SPEECHMARKS are now aligned with the first letter of the one above. This is what it should look like. Your formatter will INDENT your work for you, unless you already know how to do this correctly. AUTO STYLES can be confusing to use until you are using them consistently when you are writing.
Another thing to not use in a manuscript is SOFT RETURN. Luckily they are easy to remove, though make a mess of your manuscript once it is done. Use ENTER only when you do a new paragraph and hit ENTER TWICE if you have a change of scene. You don’t need a line space in dialogue or anywhere else unless the SCENE CHANGES or you have a NEW CHAPTER. Once again all these extra lines need REMOVING and they are done one at a time.
SOFT RETURNS are used on Blogs and Writing Sites like WATTPAD. If you are putting anything from a Blog etc into a manuscript then pleas remove the SOFT RETURNS – This is the little arrow you will see when you have the PILCROW turned on in your WORD DOCX. In the image blow is a sample of what a SOFT RETURN looks like.
These are the most common things we have to deal with when formatting for clients. Yes it is all doable, though if you wish to keep your budget on target then please learn to remove the above errors.
Thanks so much for posting this. Now, if we can just get people to read and pay attention.
When you are helping new writers, it’s something they need to learn as they go through the process, especially if they aren’t tech savvy. If i go back to 2012, i had no idea about Auto Styles either… Live and Learn 🙂
No, I didn’t know about them either. I still have to remind myself that I don’t need to hit return after every sentence. LOL.
Soft Return are only for website posts…
Well, considering I put everything I post into a document and then use the document converter to put them onto my site I just do it via Microsoft and let the converter do the rest. It’s most excellent.