On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Monday, July 04, 2005

Manuscript Format

HEART CHOICE is OUT TOMORROW, please support this writer who wants to quit her day job and still be able to feed herself and Cats (and Cats are, naturally, finicky and demanding). COVER IS FAR RIGHT ABOVE.

Do I need to talk about sell through?

All right, a very brief note about manuscript format. This is old fashioned (to play it safe) and for NY Publishing houses.
  • First, margins 1 inch all around. Header should include your name on the left, the title of the book on the right (I've seen these switched) and page number in the upper right hand corner.
  • Use a non-proportional font Courier is a Non-proportional font, the "l" takes as much space as an "m." Times New Roman or this font (Georgia) are proportional fonts, an "l" takes less space than an "m."
  • Double-space and get approx 25 lines per page. This lets an editor "eyeball" the page and determine approximate word count of the ms. and how much paper it will use.
  • Figure word count as 250 per page, don't go by your computer word count.
  • MY PET PEEVE -- do NOT single space between sentences. DOUBLE SPACE BETWEEN SENTENCES. Why? I've developed an eye disorder, my eyes don't track smoothly, but in jerks. This may affect my peeve, but the double space lets the mind know the sentence is done. It gives the eyes a little break, is easier on them (and yes, this html stuff on blogs is hell, I put in double spaces and it single spaces), and, again, plays slightly into word count.
I think I've covered the bases. Use dark ink and white paper. Widows and orphans are ok (widows are 1 line of a paragraph at the top of the next page, orphans are 1 word). And, again, I think wordperfect the best word processor out there for writers -- it has limitations (at least WP 10 which I have now, and 11, which I uninstalled due to printing problems), but for FORMATTING it is wonderful. You hit "Reveal Codes" and see everything in the document (like "edit html" here). Ever spend hours cleaning up Word documents because something funky is going on and you can't find it? Ever give up? I use word at the dayjob and I've done both. And transferring WP to Word is truly hideous...stick to .rtf.

Love to all,
Robin (who read Sue Grant's book Scarlet Empress and has been watching Firefly in support of Independence Day, both excellent). The weather hasn't been hot. We've had several "mouse incidents" with Diva etc. I have a 7 foot fountain and found a dead mouse in it yesterday, talk about an incredibly eeewwww moment. Cats don't like the fireworks -- and most dogs don't either, so please consider that. There was an ambulance in the street on Saturday night at about 2 am so I guess I should stroll over to Charlie's house and ask what happened...but I missed his party after I told him I'd come...


Anonymous Danica said...

Robin, I love the double space after periods thing, it's one of my pet peeves, too, when there's only a single space.

Are you going to Reno? Or going to be at any of the CRW meetings in the near future? Autographed book slut that I am, I want to make sure I get it signed.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Robin D Owens said...

I will be at Reno. I am not up for a RITA or giving away a RITA or doing a seminar, so I have no responsibilities and can have fun.

However, I am currently the favorite child and my Mom and Aunt will be there, too. Who knew?


4:57 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I have Heart Choice on order. I've got Heart Quest on my list of books to try to preorder everytime I go to the bookstore until they actually can, did I mention I like your books?

Skip Reno and come to Australia, no one ever comes to visit us here.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous JillB said...

I have Heart Choice on order (it's a big order so I won't get it until all the books are available c. 11th-15th of July - but I'm looking forward to it).

I really enjoyed Guardian of Honor (although I was gutted to realise book II isn't out until 2006! [sigh] I've just finished re-reading all the Heart books ready for Heart Choice's arrival (and I hope your publisher keeps asking for more Celta books.)

2:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I've heard that single-spacing after a sentance is something that's come from the online world - as you may have noticed, a lot of HTML strips out 'extra' spaces, so after a period even if you type two spaces you may only display one.

Personally, I like the old way. But then, I learned typing on an actual typewriter.

John F.

3:36 PM  

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