Sunday, December 9, 2007

Formatting Subsequent Pages

I promised I would come back to discuss how to properly format the text of your story, so here it is…

The Subsequent Pages
The Header – Remember when I said, choose a ‘Different First Page’ in the posting, Formatting your Title Page and you’ll see why later… well, now is later.

The header for all Subsequent Pages is different from the Title Page Header and although there is certain info that MUST appear in the Subsequent Page Header, there is some slight variation on how it can appear.

To set this Header up, you will need to once again…

  • go to View
  • then to Header

Because you chose a ‘Different First Page,’ whatever you do here in this header, will not affect your Title Page Header.

Here’s what it MUST have… in the upper RIGHT corner (nothing is in the left corner on all subsequent pages), single spaced, Times New Roman, 12 font, you need…

  • your last name only
  • the title of the story (or a few key words from your title)
  • and page X out of Y.

This is important because your pages should NEVER be bound. So if one page should say… fall out… the editor/publisher/peer-writer will know whose manuscript it belongs to and what page it is within that manuscript.

Here’s how you insert ‘X out of Y pages’…

  • Go to View
  • then to Header
  • then to ‘Insert Auto Text’
  • Choose ‘Page X out of Y’

Since you chose a ‘Different First Page’ if you are writing a Picture Book, then your first Subsequent Page will automatically begin numbering on page 2 because you didn’t type begin at page 0 on your Title Page.

If you are writing a novel and you remembered to type start at 0 (see Title Page Posting) then your X out of Y, will automatically begin on your first Subsequent Page as page 1.

Here’s the variation with Subsequent Page Headers …some people put all of this information on one line; some split it up into two or three lines. I say, it doesn’t really matter and depends on how long your title is. **But be sure, in your header, to press enter a time or two to create some distance between your header and your text. It’s easier on the eye.

The Text
Now you are ready to being your text. If this is a Picture book, you would have begun your text on your Title Page (see Title Page Posting). However if this is a novel, you would begin your text on the next page.

All text should be DOUBLE SPACED, 12 pt font, Times New Roman, and DO NOT skip an extra line between paragraphs. Simply press enter ONCE when wanting to begin a new paragraph, indent and continue.

**For picture books, do not indicate where you think page turns should go. Also for a picture book, do not give illustration notes unless absolutely vital to the understanding of the story. And then, do so only sparingly.

If you are writing a novel, skip to about the middle of the page and begin with your Chapter Number and/or Title. I write both chapter numbers and titles, but this varies from writer to writer. Then under your title, you would skip a few more lines and begin your text about 2/3rds down the page.

Continuing the Text
When text needs to continue from one page to the next, you just simply continue typing and the text will naturally flow onto the next page. Because you also properly set up your second Header to include a few extra blank lines, your text will begin a few lines under, making it easier to read and not jumbled together with the Header.

New Chapters
When starting a new chapter, start on fresh new page just like your very first page of your very first chapter. Begin with your Title Number and/or Title in the middle of the page, then skip till about 2/3rds down, and begin this new chapter.

I like to Bold my Chapter Numbers and Italics my Chapter Titles, but there is no hard fast rule on that. Chapter Titles/Number should be center aligned.

Alignments, Margins and Tabs, Oh My!

Text – all pages should be aligned left, NOT JUSTIFIED.

Margins – one inch margins all around

Tabs – some people do ½ inch, some do one inch. I haven’t seen any absolute ruling on this. If anyone has, please let me know.

Some writers like to type END in all caps towards the bottom of the last page center aligned. I like to do this because it just feels so darn good! But again, there is no hard fast rule on this. I recommend as a rule of thumb, if you write X out of Y pages, then you probably don’t need it. But if you choose to only write the page and not out of however many total pages, then I would suggest typing END, especially if it is a cliff hanger or open-ended ending. This way the editor/publisher, whoever, won’t wonder if he/she’s missing a few last pages. Of course this is with novel writing and is completely unnecessary with picture books.

Just be sure to…
Check all submission guidelines for each publisher before you send your manuscript. They vary slightly. Go to the Writer’s Market, then to the publisher you are interested in targeting and it will list their website. Usually, you can find their submission guidelines there.

Learn this formatting. Remember, the properly formatted manuscript looks professional. It is the first impression you make with an editor, publisher, or agent. It is the difference between being read or not being read. In other words, an unsolicited manuscript may wind up in the slush pile, but a manuscript that is not properly formatted, will not even wind up there. It will be thrown out, filed under the desk, in the trash! So put your best face forward.

Don’t try to fake it by creating your own header and not actually using the ‘header’ under ‘view.’ You can see the difference and what’s more, real headers stick in place and will not move as you alter your text, whereas a pretend one will. So no faking it. They can tell. If you can’t figure it out, call a friend to walk you through it.

Happy Formatting!


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