SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Hopeless

Discussion started on

My brain isn't wired for some things, like computers. It doesn't help that I have computer fairies in my system who intend to do me harm.

I have Office 2010, Windows 7. I have watched tutorials, read HELP and endless posts in Microsoft community, and everything else short of holding a geek at gun point. Manuscript formatting has presented the problem, and while I think I have found a source that might finally work (my system doesn't often have the tabs, terminology, or whatever, that others have and say to use), I just pasted a ms that was double-spaced and sent it to one of my email accounts as a test...and it single-spaced the text. If I had sent this to an agent--UGH. I sent another to a friend who said my margin wasn't set...but I clicked on the Margin icon for 1".

I'm not sure what to ask, since I seem unable to accomplish even double-spacing or margins, and headers go all sorts of ways but the way I want.

Any suggestions/resources to finally work this out would be soooooo appreciated. This is what is holding me up from submitting and greatly upping my anxiety.








#1 - August 22, 2014, 01:47 PM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

Is the issue only when you e-mail it, correct? E-mails don't have margins, so I'm not sure.

Is your e-mail set up to be Plain Text or Rich Text? I.e can you bold text when sending e-mails?
#2 - August 22, 2014, 02:28 PM

David, thanks for trying to help the hopeless.

I'll have to poke around about how my email(s) are set up. Are you saying if they are one way and Word is another, it makes a difference? (But then, it wouldn't matter regarding pasted subs to agents, since I can't control how they view their email.)

No, it's not only in emails. For instance, I'll set a margin by clicking the Margin icon and set it at 1" in Word, but it has randomly changed by itself. I know things aren't always as straight-forward as they appear to be in Word, but geez...setting a margin?
#3 - August 22, 2014, 03:57 PM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region britishisles
It is very difficult to retain formatting in email ( if not impossible) unless you send it out in HTML format. Even if you do that the person the receiving the email may not have an HtML enabled reader, and depending on if they are reading on a computer, on the iPad or the phone it will look very different!

So..unless you attach your manuscript as a word ,pdf , or html document  I don't think there is another infallible solution !
In fact a lot of agents just have an online form to paste your pb text in. Thats not going to have any formatting other than line breaks and  spaces .
#4 - August 22, 2014, 05:20 PM
It's my iPad making the spelling mistakes, not I!

Hi Arona

I'm guessing here, but you may be confusing Margin with Indentation. Margins should be consistent for an entire 'section' (if you don't know sections then you probably aren't using them, but section breaks allow you to change margins and page orientation in the same document). Indents, however, can change from line to line.

Not only is it easy to (accidentally) change indents using short-cut keys, but Word will 'help' you by assuming indents based on your typing (e.g. a dash at the beginning of a line is assumed to be a bullet point)

First line indents can throw people off because they disappear in a copy/paste, but paragraphs that start with a tab keep the first line spacing. It's one of the reasons many people prefer no first line indentation within e-mails.

Generally, when I e-mail I single space lines without indents, but double space paragraphs, the same as most of us do when posting to the blue boards. It's the only way to guarantee the reader sees what I see.
#5 - August 23, 2014, 08:40 AM

I'm still working on trying to figure out how to accomplish first-line indents for new paragraphs (no tabs), but within the doc itself, I set the margins using the margin icon but, as I said, it changes randomly by itself as I work on the document and I don't know why.

Even if I get this all sorted out, I'm still unsure why agents require particular formatting when most want you to paste within a body of an email--and as you both have said, the text won't translate.

Thanks for the help and your time.  ;D



#6 - August 23, 2014, 09:10 AM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region socal
Arona,

No one has made more bone headed mistakes with software than I have, so I understand your pain. Often there is a simple solution for your problems if you explore online tutorials. There really are some helpful ones out there. Take your time and start at the beginning and figure things out at your own speed. Email formatting is a pain for everyone. A general rule of thumb is to keep things as simple as possible. Plain text or Rich text should be an option on your email screen - at least it is in gmail.

Here are a few other thoughts:
-Word 2010 has a Styles option on the tool bar. If you want to set your own spacing, click on the No Spacing style and then set your spacing to double space in the paragraph section of the tool bar. This will let you do what you want.
-If you want your formatting to continue as set, you can't scroll down the page to a blank area and click the cursor down. You have to hit Enter repeatedly to move down the page and maintain your formatting. You can click around on any area you have covered with Enter and still maintain your formatting.
-You can change the default settings on your computer, but you'll need to find a tutorial for that because I don't remember all the steps.
-To find a tutorial that you may need just google something like    Word 2010 formatting tutorial
-To indent at the beginning of a paragraph, hit the Tab button on your computer.
-To format other indentations, use the ruler on Word. (Use tutorial if you don't know how to do this.)
-If you want to set margins, you should do it before you start working on your document. If you decide to change the margins after you start work on the document, you have to highlight the area you want to change. Then make your changes. Remember, though, if you click the cursor out of the changed area, you will lose your formatting. You must advance the area by using enter.
-An easy way to format your whole document is to press Control + A. This highlights your entire document and then any formatting changes you make will apply to the whole document.

Good luck. Sometimes it just takes time with the tool figuring out answers to the problems.

Laurel
#7 - August 23, 2014, 10:07 AM

Melissa
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region arizona
It's not any failing on your part, Arona, it's just a matter of Word and email software not playing nicely together. I do exactly what David describes--single space with no indents (tabs) and double space between paragraphs. Sometimes I set it up this way in a Word document before copying into my email. Like David, it's the only way I've found to be somewhat certain of what the reader will see.
#8 - August 23, 2014, 10:51 AM
2017:
Sibling Split series (Stone Arch)
Gender Wage Gap (Abdo)
Smooth Road Trip (Capstone)
www.mghiggins.com

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
Are you sure you need to d/s your text? It's my impression that the d/s requirement only pertains to a hard copy submission. With an email query I strongly suspect agents want a s/s ms.

The easy way to get that is to copy the sample (1st 3 pp, 1st 50 pp, etc.) into a text editor (on a Windows computer, that used to be WordPad; on the Mac I'm using now it's TextEdit), which strips off most of the formatting, and then copy that into the email. If an agent asks for a sample as an attachment, I've made a s/s version in Word for attaching to the email, since most agents seem to read requests on their e-readers. [Hoping agents will chime in here and correct me if I'm mistaken.]

This post by agent Jill Corcoran doesn't specifically address the ss/ds issue but is helpful for other aspects of e-subbing: http://jillcorcoran.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-to-sub-queries-full-ms-in-digital.html

#9 - August 23, 2014, 02:57 PM

An ongoing thank you to everyone. I really appreciate it. :-)

Still sifting through the information. Due to your descriptions, some things are sinking in.

I've read and heard a lot of things, but I've never heard to ss a ms. It makes sense, given the electronic medium. Just when I thought I had the rules right (just couldn't do them)....

(I just recently read on BBs, too, not to place your contact info at the top-left anymore when e-subbing, to place it at the bottom beneath your name. Another one of those "Are you kidding?" moments. Never read that, either.)

Again--thank you.

#10 - August 24, 2014, 04:28 AM
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Einstein.

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region newengland
There's a difference between including a sample of text within an email, and attaching a manuscript.  The attached manuscript can have the nice formatting (double-spacing, one inch margins, etc.) and that will stay intact.  But yes, when sending text within the email, I do what Anne and David said.

Also, re contact info--your phone number under your signature is enough. They'll already have your email address, obviously, and including your snail mail address isn't necessary at the query stage.
#11 - August 24, 2014, 05:27 AM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.