Rough draft questions

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  GidgetLindley8 8 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #346469

    Anonymous

    Hello, I am new to the community and had some questions regarding first drafts.

    I was wondering how many of you out there type their word first drafts on the computer, like for example, Microsoft word? If so, do you type the rough draft in a certain format or save that when you’re ready to submit the actual manuscript for publishing? Page size, spacing, font size, etc… Or do you just first hand write your story first and save all the typing for editing and manuscript formatting?

    I was curious if anyone types a rough draft without double spacing?

    Also, part of my next question is due to the fact that I enjoy writing a lot, and despite being an avid reader I know I am a very bad editor. When typing your work during a draft or even writing it out, do you know exactly where to put things such as ellipsis, en dash, em dash, or where to italicize your words? And does most programs adjust it for you when you do remember to put them in manually?

    Lastly, when finishing up your manuscript and right before submitting them to publishers, is it the editors jobs to add those dashes and italicize to use emphasis on a word or do you have to include that in your submitted manuscript? I always pictured that the complete manuscript has to be in times new roman font and that the editors add that stuff in

    Thank you so much and I hope some one can answer my questions.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Jared

  • #654412

    Anonymous
    GARLAND3688 wrote:
    Hello, I am new to the community and had some questions regarding first drafts.

    I was wondering how many of you out there type their word first drafts on the computer, like for example, Microsoft word? If so, do you type the rough draft in a certain format or save that when you’re ready to submit the actual manuscript for publishing? Page size, spacing, font size, etc… Or do you just first hand write your story first and save all the typing for editing and manuscript formatting?

    I was curious if anyone types a rough draft without double spacing?

    Also, part of my next question is due to the fact that I enjoy writing a lot, and despite being an avid reader I know I am a very bad editor. When typing your work during a draft or even writing it out, do you know exactly where to put things such as ellipsis, en dash, em dash, or where to italicize your words? And does most programs adjust it for you when you do remember to put them in manually?

    Lastly, when finishing up your manuscript and right before submitting them to publishers, is it the editors jobs to add those dashes and italicize to use emphasis on a word or do you have to include that in your submitted manuscript? I always pictured that the complete manuscript has to be in times new roman font and that the editors add that stuff in

    Thank you so much and I hope some one can answer my questions.
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Jared

    ==========

    I type everything on a computer using word. Planning to switch to linux and libre soon.

    No real formatting while writing at all. That gets done last after all the editing and revisions.

    I print double space if I am going to do major revisions. I print single space for minor proofing.
    I do not double space on screen.

    I put ellipses and dashes in as I go. I tend to let italics and similar items go until the end.
    But only do real formatting only when the mss is totally finished and done. Some of the items you mention are not formatting they are the content.

    You should put in whatever content your mss needs. Editors may make changes for various reasons but they are not going to fix your mss with formatting other than to prepare it for publication to fit the media and certainly not to add things that should have been there that you call formatting. The typesetters may change your dashes to a true em dash.

    Times new roman is a terrible font that is only used because word defaults to it. The standard is Courier. Twelve point. Double spaced. Big margins all around. For scripts you must use Courier. For novels you can get usually away with other large x-height fonts that look reasonable. Some agents or publishers may require a specific font for their use if they are reading on paper. An electric copy can allow change the entire font for typesetting purposes.

  • #654413

    Anonymous
    GARLAND3688 wrote:
    I was wondering how many of you out there type their word first drafts on the computer, like for example, Microsoft word? If so, do you type the rough draft in a certain format or save that when you’re ready to submit the actual manuscript for publishing? Page size, spacing, font size, etc… Or do you just first hand write your story first and save all the typing for editing and manuscript formatting?

    I was curious if anyone types a rough draft without double spacing?

    These are all just personal preferences, of course, but I typically use a pc, with a format I set up in Atlantis Nova. But I have also hand-written various chapters and then re-type them into the computer document (very time-consuming and rather boring, but at least the writing got done). I set up my line spacing so it’s easy for me to read, and yeah, I double-space between paragraphs. No point in making things more difficult by making it hard to look at, right? 😉

    GARLAND3688 wrote:
    Also, part of my next question is due to the fact that I enjoy writing a lot, and despite being an avid reader I know I am a very bad editor. When typing your work during a draft or even writing it out, do you know exactly where to put things such as ellipsis, en dash, em dash, or where to italicize your words? And does most programs adjust it for you when you do remember to put them in manually?

    I’ve been reading and writing long enough so any grammatical issues are pretty automatic. I do find myself rewriting a sentence to see whether something reads better one way or another, but in general they get placed where they should be from the gitgo.

    Not sure I understand the last question. I don’t know of any word processors that don’t do exactly what you tell them to. ??

    GARLAND3688 wrote:
    Lastly, when finishing up your manuscript and right before submitting them to publishers, is it the editors jobs to add those dashes and italicize to use emphasis on a word or do you have to include that in your submitted manuscript? I always pictured that the complete manuscript has to be in times new roman font and that the editors add that stuff in

    You’re the editor – at the very least, the proofreader. You can, of course, hire an editor or proofreader prior to submission if you want to, but the more they have to do, the more money you’re out. And no, you do NOT want to submit a manuscript that isn’t as perfect as you can possibly make it. Why would an agent/publisher take on an ms that requires more time and money to “fix” when they get thousands of ms that need very little to make it presentable?

    As to format, each agent/publisher has their own requirements – use whatever they say they want.

  • #654414

    jIPPity
    Participant

    I write my first draft in Microsoft Word, Courier 12 double-spaced. Each chapter is in a separate file. When I’ve finished the first draft I enter revisions in the hard copy in red ink, then enter them into the computer files. When I’m finished revising I merge the files into one master copy–still Courier 12 double-spaced.

    I send my manuscript to agents in whatever format they request. I also make a Times New Roman 12 double-spaced version of the manuscript, print it out, and have it copied and spiral bound. That’s what I give my first readers.

    And yes, while writing the first draft I do know exactly where to place punctuation, italics, etc., although obviously I might change some of that during the revision process.

    –Warren

  • #654415

    Anonymous
    wdarcy wrote:
    I write my first draft in Microsoft Word, Courier 12 double-spaced. Each chapter is in a separate file. When I’ve finished the first draft I enter revisions in the hard copy in red ink, then enter them into the computer files. When I’m finished revising I merge the files into one master copy–still Courier 12 double-spaced.

    I send my manuscript to agents in whatever format they request. I also make a Times New Roman 12 double-spaced version of the manuscript, print it out, and have it copied and spiral bound. That’s what I give my first readers.

    And yes, while writing the first draft I do know exactly where to place punctuation, italics, etc., although obviously I might change some of that during the revision process.

    –Warren

    Why would you inflict times roman on your readers? It was developed by the times of London to be able to pack the maximum number of words on a page not to be easy to read. Double spacing conflicts with the goal of times roman to pack as many words on a page as possible, which seems contradictory. Why not use the same courier font that scripts must have, most agents prefer, and which you used originally.

    If you use different fonts why not pick something easier to read with a large x-height and less obtrusive serifs? Arial narrow is very legible and puts more words on the page than courier if your goal is to save paper. Courier is very legible but does put fewer words on a page.

    What is the motivation to use TR? Also, what is the motivation for spiral binding. Scripts have their own presentation de facto standard, but don’t agents want loose sheets unbound. Why spiral bind for your beta readers?

  • #654416

    jIPPity
    Participant

    The spiral binding is for the convenience of my first readers, who would not want to deal with hundreds of loose-leaf pages. When submitting to agents I always do it electronically, in whatever font they want. Very few agents these days want manuscripts by snail mail. If by chance one did I would certainly send loose pages.

    I guess I don’t have quite the aversion to TNR as you do, nor do my readers (I asked). I do it to cut down on the number of pages and the copying cost. Also, remember I preserve the double spacing, which makes it easier to read. Actually, one novel I did distribute in Courier 12 instead of TNR. But it makes for a much longer manuscript. I’ll consider doing that for my current novel when it reaches that point. Or I may take your suggestion and use Ariel 12. I agree that’s easy to read.

    –Warren

  • #654417

    AngelinaK52
    Participant

    TNR is the main accepted font for all submissions to agents and publishers. You can use courier as well, but not required.

  • #654418

    Anonymous
    T.A.Rodgers wrote:
    TNR is the main accepted font for all submissions to agents and publishers. You can use courier as well, but not required.

    I cant say about novel mss but for scripts courier is mandatory. I do find it hard to believe as TNR is so much harder on the eyes. Maybe when those agents and publishers get older they may change their minds.

  • #654419

    AngelinaK52
    Participant
    sammy2 wrote:
    T.A.Rodgers wrote:
    TNR is the main accepted font for all submissions to agents and publishers. You can use courier as well, but not required.

    I cant say about novel mss but for scripts courier is mandatory. I do find it hard to believe as TNR is so much harder on the eyes. Maybe when those agents and publishers get older they may change their minds.

    I agree Courier does spread the words out better than TNR. I’ve never had any problems reading or working with TNR. I use 12 font and double space everything as required for fiction submissions. With Word if the text is too small to read on the screen, all you have to do is zoom in. I usually do this when doing edits. Takes the strain off the eyes.

  • #654420

    Anonymous
    T.A.Rodgers wrote:
    sammy2 wrote:
    T.A.Rodgers wrote:
    TNR is the main accepted font for all submissions to agents and publishers. You can use courier as well, but not required.

    I cant say about novel mss but for scripts courier is mandatory. I do find it hard to believe as TNR is so much harder on the eyes. Maybe when those agents and publishers get older they may change their minds.

    I agree Courier does spread the words out better than TNR. I’ve never had any problems reading or working with TNR. I use 12 font and double space everything as required for fiction submissions. With Word if the text is too small to read on the screen, all you have to do is zoom in. I usually do this when doing edits. Takes the strain off the eyes.

    I zoom word and any program that makes me read on screen. The real problem is after it is printed.

    Microsoft designed Georgia to replace TNR because of problems reading TNR. On screen it makes a big difference.

    Remember that TR was designed to pack the most words on a page not be aesthetic nor easy to read.
    In print I would have to use 14+ size to have a chance at reading times. And it would still be unpleasant.
    If word had not defaulted to TNR would it really be used that much? If people had a palette of fonts would they have naturally picked TR?

    I have several thousand fonts that I have for use and there are so many that look nicer and are easier to read.
    I guess if I wanted to pack more words into a printout then TNR might be my choice. But unless a client demands it I would never use it.

  • #654421

    AngelinaK52
    Participant

    I’m not sure why it’s an industry standard. Courier can add a good 30% more paper to a 100k novel when printed. Maybe agents decided they didn’t want to kill so many trees. I started using Courier when I first started writing until I started printing out versions to edit.

  • #654422

    cypher
    Participant

    My version of Office uses Calibri as Normal. Personally, I prefer Garamond.

  • #654423

    jIPPity
    Participant
    T.A.Rodgers wrote:
    I’m not sure why it’s an industry standard. Courier can add a good 30% more paper to a 100k novel when printed. Maybe agents decided they didn’t want to kill so many trees. I started using Courier when I first started writing until I started printing out versions to edit.

    James A. Richie used to explain that agents requested Courier when they received hard copies, because Courier gives 120 words per page, and they could easily see by the page count what the word count was. But since agents request electronic copies now, and their computers will give the word counts, that’s become obsolete. Anyway, they can easily reformat the submission any way they want, so it’s no big deal. I believe most are happy with TNR.

    –Warren

  • #654424

    Anonymous
    T.A.Rodgers wrote:
    I’m not sure why it’s an industry standard. Courier can add a good 30% more paper to a 100k novel when printed. Maybe agents decided they didn’t want to kill so many trees. I started using Courier when I first started writing until I started printing out versions to edit.

    Paper was not an issue, as they demanded double spacing and big margins. Courier was easier on the eyes. And before word processors you got an immediate estimate of word count that was very close to the actual length by counting pages. With courier the words/page was very consistent at about 250.

  • #654425

    Anonymous
    Oldtimer wrote:
    My version of Office uses Calibri as Normal. Personally, I prefer Garamond.

    Maybe MS wised up and changed the default. The did create Georgia for use on screen to replace TNR. Garamond is a nice old font. I cant recall what Calibri looks like offhand. But then of the several thousand fonts I have available I rarely use more than a handful and can only identify a couple dozen by sight. I did find a book that identified all known fonts at the library. These days anybody can create a new font very easily and they do keep coming up with newer ones.

  • #654426

    Anonymous
    wdarcy wrote:
    T.A.Rodgers wrote:
    I’m not sure why it’s an industry standard. Courier can add a good 30% more paper to a 100k novel when printed. Maybe agents decided they didn’t want to kill so many trees. I started using Courier when I first started writing until I started printing out versions to edit.

    James A. Richie used to explain that agents requested Courier when they received hard copies, because Courier gives 120 words per page, and they could easily see by the page count what the word count was. But since agents request electronic copies now, and their computers will give the word counts, that’s become obsolete. Anyway, they can easily reformat the submission any way they want, so it’s no big deal. I believe most are happy with TNR.

    –Warren

    True. With electronic copies the need to specify a font is reduced. The issue is who prints the mss in the agent’s preferred font if they don’t want to read it on screen.

    If I were serious about being an agent I would likely ask for a few chapters in electric format but if I asked for the whole mss I would ask them to print it in the font with the line spacing and margins that I prefer to work with.

  • #654427

    GidgetLindley8
    Participant

    I use a no frills word processor.

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