Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Tab Off

Sorry the blog has been a bit quiet recently, but I've moved countries yet again and packing up to move and then settling in took up quite a bit of my spare time. Anyway, I'm now able to share another reader's letter with you.

Mark Buchannan’s question relates to page formatting: I get confused about when to indent and when to leave spaces on manuscripts. I also never know whether to use single or double line spacing – is there a definite rule on this? And one last point, if using indents, should I just press the tab key? 

When submitting for a print publication, it is usual to format using double line spacing with indented paragraphs and no additional white lines in between unless it’s to signal a change of scene. Opening paragraphs (including those signalling a change of scene) shouldn’t be indented. Each new line of dialogue should be indented.

However, if submitting to an online publication it is better to send in the manuscript using single line spacing with no indents. Leave a clear line of space between paragraphs and signal any change of scene with three asterisks between paragraphs. As with the double line spacing option above, each new line of dialogue should be treated like a new paragraph.

With regards to tabs, I would advise against using them as an editor would need to remove them all prior to formatting work for inclusion in a magazine. It is far better to set your indents using the paragraph menu on most word programmes. Any formatting to the manuscript done via the paragraph menu can be easily reset if needed, whereas each tab would have to be searched out and dealt with individually.

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