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.

6 comments:

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