Author Topic: formatting a messy manuscript  (Read 14224 times)

Offline 007 fan

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formatting a messy manuscript
« on: May 03, 2016, 04:04:11 PM »
Well, I just hit that backward P thing and I see a mess.

Some of my backward P's have no spaces, some have one, some two. I see backward P's where there isn't a paragraph...I guess from doing returns to add chapter numbers.

I also see a bunch of arrows pointing to my indented paragraphs. I'm sure it's because I used my tab key to indent because back when I wrote my MS, I didn't know about auto-indenting.

I also didn't do page-breaks for my chapters. Didn't know about that stuff either back when I started writing.

Will this all clean up? How? Do I need to rewrite my MS into a properly formatted new document?

And how do you all center your chapters and scene break symbols? I used that centering button, not any kind of style or heading whatever.

How do you all get your chapter heading centered and where you want it on the page (halfway down?) w/o using the return key? 

Oh, man. This is gonna suck because I don't know much about anything. 

I've set up new documents to auto-indent at .3", 1 inch margins, right font/size, and I do now know how to use the page break thing, but that's it. I'm not sure how to go about fixing things. I imagine I can't just copy/paste my MS into a new document and fix everything. And do I have to manually go to every paragraph end that has those extra one or two spaces and remove them or is there some trick where I can use my find feature to fix those extra spaces at the end of paragraphs?

Good grief.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 04:20:48 PM by 007 fan »
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Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2016, 04:29:21 PM »
well, I just do 7 returns to get my new chapter to start in the right place and that's never been an issue.
But the non-indent thing probably will be an issue.

Slightlysmall is super good with MS Word. Hopefully she'll pipe in with some advice/good ideas
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Offline Missus Braidyhead

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2016, 04:32:26 PM »
There are two videos--this is the first one. I found it helpful--

http://carolrhoda.blogspot.com/2013/03/manuscript-formatting-and-prep.html

Offline 007 fan

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2016, 05:31:18 PM »
well, I just do 7 returns to get my new chapter to start in the right place and that's never been an issue.
But the non-indent thing probably will be an issue.

Slightlysmall is super good with MS Word. Hopefully she'll pipe in with some advice/good ideas

Oh! And do you use the centering button or use one of the header things? And 7 returns at double space is what I'm thinking. I'm working at 1 1/2 spaces now, up from single-spaced, but I'll try to remember to set lines to 2 when I do my page breaks and chapters.

Thanks and karma for posting!
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Offline 007 fan

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2016, 05:42:27 PM »
There are two videos--this is the first one. I found it helpful--

http://carolrhoda.blogspot.com/2013/03/manuscript-formatting-and-prep.html

Oh, man, I have that link! I had a hard time understanding him through my "OMG, my MS is a mess fog!" Haha  I watched it again after your posting and realized shift 6 (^) t was not shift carrot key (lol) and was able to eliminate all my tabs. And I used the ruler to clean things things up...which I'd never used, but seeing it was helpful because I could never get it to work and that's because you have to highlight your text first, and the top is for indentions, the bottom is not. lol 

I set it at the 2nd line, which makes my indents .25". Is that cool?

I also eliminated any 2 and 3 spaces after paragraphs, but when I tried to eliminate the single space after, it really messed things up. Thank goodness I had the sense to undo the last change. And what am I doing dinking around on my actual MS and not a copy? Because that's what I was just doing. 

Thank you for posting. Karma!
« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 09:46:38 PM by 007 fan »
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Offline slightlysmall

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2016, 06:00:37 PM »
Well, I just hit that backward P thing and I see a mess.

Some of my backward P's have no spaces, some have one, some two. I see backward P's where there isn't a paragraph...I guess from doing returns to add chapter numbers.

I also see a bunch of arrows pointing to my indented paragraphs. I'm sure it's because I used my tab key to indent because back when I wrote my MS, I didn't know about auto-indenting.

I also didn't do page-breaks for my chapters. Didn't know about that stuff either back when I started writing.

Will this all clean up? How? Do I need to rewrite my MS into a properly formatted new document?

And how do you all center your chapters and scene break symbols? I used that centering button, not any kind of style or heading whatever.

How do you all get your chapter heading centered and where you want it on the page (halfway down?) w/o using the return key? 

Oh, man. This is gonna suck because I don't know much about anything. 

I've set up new documents to auto-indent at .3", 1 inch margins, right font/size, and I do now know how to use the page break thing, but that's it. I'm not sure how to go about fixing things. I imagine I can't just copy/paste my MS into a new document and fix everything. And do I have to manually go to every paragraph end that has those extra one or two spaces and remove them or is there some trick where I can use my find feature to fix those extra spaces at the end of paragraphs?

Good grief.

Will all it clean up? Yes. Let's see if I can tackle each of these things for you...

Some of my backward P's have no spaces, some have one, some two. No big deal. I'm a format nerd and I don't even worry about it when this happens.

I see backward P's where there isn't a paragraph...I guess from doing returns to add chapter numbers. Probably, if they're only appearing at the end and beginning of chapters. Delete all but seven or whatever (like Sarah said, it's fine to use returns at the beginning of chapters. If you want to know how to do it without, let me know), then press ctrl+enter to create a page break between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.

I also see a bunch of arrows pointing to my indented paragraphs. I'm sure it's because I used my tab key to indent because back when I wrote my MS, I didn't know about auto-indenting. You're right about the reason, and it's surprisingly easy to fix, if you want to. It's actually just fine to leave it during submissions to agents. To fix it, ctrl+F for finding, and search for "^t" without the quotes. Replace with "" without the quotes (literally nothing. Make sure nothing is in the replace box), and then "replace all." Then what I usually do takes a few steps. I do ctrl+a to select the whole document, and use the ruler slider to set the indent for the whole MS to 0.5" (which is the usual, not 0.3"). Then I search for "#" or whatever you use to end scene breaks, and set the slider back to 0.0" for those, then I search for "chapter" (if you have chapter in front of chapter numbers) and set the slider back to 0.0" for those. (This is a really long paragraph. I promise it's pretty easy.)

And how do you all center your chapters and scene break symbols? I used that centering button, not any kind of style or heading whatever.
This is fine. :)

How do you all get your chapter heading centered and where you want it on the page (halfway down?) w/o using the return key? 
This is totally unnecessary, but if you really want to know... I use Heading 1, and then set it to be Times New Roman, 12 pt, double spaced. Then on the paragraph tab, use the arrow that brings you to the popup menu and put in like 150 pt in the "space before" option (on the lower left). Then I do ctrl+F for "chapter" again, and click on all of them to make them Heading 1. But totally unnecessary. :)

Offline Tabris

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2016, 06:13:34 PM »
I'm a freelance formatter. I find this stuff fun.  :wag:

Offline 007 fan

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2016, 06:42:19 PM »
Well, I just hit that backward P thing and I see a mess.

Some of my backward P's have no spaces, some have one, some two. I see backward P's where there isn't a paragraph...I guess from doing returns to add chapter numbers.

I also see a bunch of arrows pointing to my indented paragraphs. I'm sure it's because I used my tab key to indent because back when I wrote my MS, I didn't know about auto-indenting.

I also didn't do page-breaks for my chapters. Didn't know about that stuff either back when I started writing.

Will this all clean up? How? Do I need to rewrite my MS into a properly formatted new document?

And how do you all center your chapters and scene break symbols? I used that centering button, not any kind of style or heading whatever.

How do you all get your chapter heading centered and where you want it on the page (halfway down?) w/o using the return key? 

Oh, man. This is gonna suck because I don't know much about anything. 

I've set up new documents to auto-indent at .3", 1 inch margins, right font/size, and I do now know how to use the page break thing, but that's it. I'm not sure how to go about fixing things. I imagine I can't just copy/paste my MS into a new document and fix everything. And do I have to manually go to every paragraph end that has those extra one or two spaces and remove them or is there some trick where I can use my find feature to fix those extra spaces at the end of paragraphs?

Good grief.

Will all it clean up? Yes. Let's see if I can tackle each of these things for you... Thank you!

Some of my backward P's have no spaces, some have one, some two. No big deal. I'm a format nerd and I don't even worry about it when this happens.

Okay. I got rid of the two spaces and three spaces ones by using my find feature/replace all. I'll likely manually fix those that have the one extra space just because I'm a little OCD and want everything the same.

I see backward P's where there isn't a paragraph...I guess from doing returns to add chapter numbers. Probably, if they're only appearing at the end and beginning of chapters. Delete all but seven or whatever (like Sarah said, it's fine to use returns at the beginning of chapters. If you want to know how to do it without, let me know), then press ctrl+enter to create a page break between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next.

Okay, thanks. I'm going to try doing it the other way, which I think you gave instructions for, below.

I also see a bunch of arrows pointing to my indented paragraphs. I'm sure it's because I used my tab key to indent because back when I wrote my MS, I didn't know about auto-indenting. You're right about the reason, and it's surprisingly easy to fix, if you want to. It's actually just fine to leave it during submissions to agents. To fix it, ctrl+F for finding, and search for "^t" without the quotes. Replace with "" without the quotes (literally nothing. Make sure nothing is in the replace box), and then "replace all." Then what I usually do takes a few steps. I do ctrl+a to select the whole document, and use the ruler slider to set the indent for the whole MS to 0.5" (which is the usual, not 0.3"). Then I search for "#" or whatever you use to end scene breaks, and set the slider back to 0.0" for those, then I search for "chapter" (if you have chapter in front of chapter numbers) and set the slider back to 0.0" for those. (This is a really long paragraph. I promise it's pretty easy.)

I did the ^t move and got them all removed. Love it. And since reading this, I moved my indents to .5", which looks better, more distinct. Doing that moved all my chapter/numbers and my scene break symbols, but that's okay because I can try the new way and see how easy it is for a lame-brain like me. ; )  I want them centered from the margin, not the indents, so they are centered with page numbers. Maybe that's being too picky, but the OCD thing makes me want things perfectly centered. lol

And how do you all center your chapters and scene break symbols? I used that centering button, not any kind of style or heading whatever.
This is fine. :)

Okay. Though I will try the other way when I feel like torturing myself further.  ;D  I'm not quite done messing with my MS, still doing some light revision work, almost done, before I tackle the final stages of my 'boy, you fixed a lot while you did all the cutting and revising but still have more to do work'.  :emb2: BUT, I recently got the bug to start on learning what I needed to do and how, and I'm glad I did to get it out of the way so when I'm ready, I can just do the last bit of formatting easily. Waiting on doing page breaks, etc. until I'm done proofing the material itself.

How do you all get your chapter heading centered and where you want it on the page (halfway down?) w/o using the return key? 
This is totally unnecessary, but if you really want to know... I use Heading 1, and then set it to be Times New Roman, 12 pt, double spaced. Then on the paragraph tab, use the arrow that brings you to the popup menu and put in like 150 pt in the "space before" option (on the lower left). Then I do ctrl+F for "chapter" again, and click on all of them to make them Heading 1. But totally unnecessary. :)

Okay. I'll likely try the more complicated way, like I said above, just because I should know how to do this stuff beings that I'm a writer and all.  :)

Thank you for posting. Karma!

Microsoft forums helped with some stuff, but man, I needed a village today.  ;D  They gave me some wonderful links that I'll try to post in resources for writers when I have more time...links that I'd never found in previous searches on how to do things.


« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 06:48:36 PM by 007 fan »
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Offline 007 fan

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2016, 06:50:15 PM »
I'm a freelance formatter. I find this stuff fun.  :wag:

Haha! That's not helpful for me, but you made me laugh, so karma for that.  :)
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Offline violet

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2016, 06:54:47 PM »
This whole thread is giving me an anxiety attack.  ;D I formatted both my e-book and paperback. It took forever and caused so much frustration I was actually sick for my book launch.

I'm seriously considering paying someone to format for me this time around.

Offline slightlysmall

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2016, 07:01:44 PM »
I'm a freelance formatter. I find this stuff fun.  :wag:

Likewise on both counts!

Offline 007 fan

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2016, 07:03:15 PM »
This whole thread is giving me an anxiety attack.  ;D I formatted both my e-book and paperback. It took forever and caused so much frustration I was actually sick for my book launch.

I'm seriously considering paying someone to format for me this time around.

Aw! I understand. I had a major panic attack from all the complicated stuff the Microsoft forum peeps (very nice people there) giving me complicated instructions because they used terminology I didn't know because I'm Word stupid. I honestly thought I'd have to retype my whole MS into a new document, but nope, won't have to. I'm glad I posted my ineptness here because no one understands writers like other writers. I'll be posting some wonderful links that the Microsoft people gave me in 'resources for writers' soon, so maybe there will be info in those that will make your next bout of formatting a little easier.  :)  
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Offline Tabris

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2016, 07:07:09 PM »
This whole thread is giving me an anxiety attack.  ;D I formatted both my e-book and paperback. It took forever and caused so much frustration I was actually sick for my book launch.

I'm seriously considering paying someone to format for me this time around.

Pay me! :-) I love doing it.

Offline slightlysmall

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2016, 07:08:09 PM »
007, I did include how to reset the indent for scene breaks and chapters, here: "Then I search for "#" or whatever you use to end scene breaks, and set the slider back to 0.0" for those, then I search for "chapter" (if you have chapter in front of chapter numbers) and set the slider back to 0.0" for those."

If you're just using the "Heading 1" option for chapters, make sure the ruler is all the way back at 0.0 when you save the style, and it will be set, and will update along with everything else as you're changing from plain text to the style.

Violet, sorry for giving you an anxiety attack. Formatting was seriously my favorite part of my day job (back when I worked in an office), and I loved helping people when Word wasn't cooperating. Still love formatting. I reformat my MS every time I export to Kindle to read it, so I have something a little different each time. I may or may not agonize over whether I'll spot more typos in Garamond or Baskerville Old Face.

Offline violet

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Re: formatting a messy manuscript
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2016, 07:27:18 PM »
Lol! Maybe I will, Tabris.

SS, you know that part about the replacing the ^t? Well, my Word was glitched - it would NOT let me do them all at the same time. We tried transferring the document, doing it on a different computer....finally, I hunkered down and did every one of them ONE AT A TIME.  :no: It took me 8 hours. Horrible.