Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pulling out the fine grit sandpaper

Formatting stuff in Word is dull, dull, dull. For some reason (an excess of $? wishful thinking? temporary insanity?), I have paid my $50 to enter Chivalrous (with a slightly spiffed-up title) in the RWA Golden Heart. That maked a grand total of TWO contests that it will be in. Probably the final grand total--I must save some $ to start all over again with Accomplice, once its finished :)

In any case, I must submit the first 50ish pages of my manuscript, plus a single copy of the full. I can either print the whole thing out, or mail a CD. CD sounds cheaper (and nicer to the trees), except that they want the MS in a single file. Mine was in one file per chapter. And none of them had any formatting whatsoever (preferring to keep the data raw, you know...).

So I spent over an hour last night creating one giant file, and then adding doublespacing (removing extra spaces between paragraphs). Yuck. I didn't do any other editing--just formatting. And I couldn't find a way to make Word remove my extra lines without removing too many extra lines, so it was 300 pages of delete-scroll-scroll-delete-scroll-delete. It felt distressingly like work. Makes me think that keeping the data in XML and then creating a XSL to format it would be much faster and easier--except that HTML wasn't one of the preferred submission formats. Yes, I'm a geek.

I also copied my synospsis out of my Yahoo mail, and found it to be nearly 5 pages (double-spaced). Perfect. I'm now a little closer to a trip to Kinkos and the post office. Though I think I have another editing/polishing pass to make through the MS first, to round off a few rough edges.


Amanda said...

If your MS is requested by an editor, you are allowed to send the most up to date version. They just want to make sure you have a finished MS.

Kristi said...

Yeah, well, when I submitted to the MORWA contest, I made a bit of an edit to the beginning of Chapter 2 (about the last 2 pages of my 25-page entry). The remainder of my original Chapter 2 does not exactly flow directly from my change. At a minimum, I need my first 50 pages (the ones that will be judged) to actually make sense together :)

It was a good change--removing a blah scene of drinking coffee and checking voicemail (which imparted some back story but was otherwise rather uninspired) by a more direct confrontation between the heroine, her boss, and the hero, who she hasn't seen in about 6 months.

And I probably ought to do a spell check on the file as a whole, to make sure I didn't miss anything obvious :)

Amanda said...

And a proofread, just to make sure a word isn't out of place. Good luck.

Robin said...

Good luck, Kristi! I think I'm going to enter too. When are you supposed to hear back from the MORWA contest?

Amanda said...

October 15th, I think is the date for MORWA's Gateway to the Best results.

Amanda said...

Oops Oct 31st is the date for Gateway