Monday, May 16, 2011

The Novel, Guerrilla Style Part 11: The Manuscript & Readers

All right. The novel is finished. Good for you. Now what? Come up with a short list of readers. This list will only one reader initially—you.

Before you endeavor to read this novel, put it in manuscript form. If you're here in the USA, your page size is 8.5” x 11”. If you're elsewhere else in the world, it's probably A4. Does size matter? Probably. It will make the task easier. Next, use standard margins: one inch (USA) and that means uniformity, a balance of white space for a clean look. Then, use a 12 point font. Why? Because it's easy to read. Double space, again because it's easy to read. As far as fonts go, use a readable one like Times New Roman, Ariel, Garamond or Courier. I use the Courier font because I find it easy to read and each character is the same size, plus it looks like the old Olympus manual I once typed on.

Now, you read it. You must be the first reader, read it with attention to the clarity of thought, pay attention to the flow. More importantly, pay attention for misspellings, typos, improper usage or punctuation. If you have 50,000 words, the only reader who needs to see such mistakes is you. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT torture the next reader with small errors you should have fixed. A reader will not see the flow of thought, the brilliance in your dialogue or the art of story telling if they see errors in spelling and punctuation. I know this because I read a dozen short story submissions a week and I always return work that has such errors. If you think it's a big job to read this (your) manuscript, imagine what you're asking the next reader to do. If you choose a friend, they will probably treat you kindly, the best you can do is offer them your very best.

The manuscript:

1)put it in manuscript format: stander paper, 12 point font, double space.

2)carefully proof read it first.

Enough said. As you surrender it to the reader, know that your reader will have impressions and critiques. Be gracious and be grateful. Whatever they say will probably be right. Once you get the manuscript back, you'll have plenty to work with and possibly a big job in front of you.

Congratulations for making this far.

Until next time, happy proofreading.

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