For those writers who will be sending manuscripts electronically at any time during the submission or publication process, there is one more little housekeeping chore to be done: eliminate extra spaces and other formatting errors inadvertently added to the manuscript.
On your Microsoft Word toolbar there is an icon that looks like the editing symbol for new paragraphs. If you click on that icon, your text will indicate spaces in your work as dots. You may have a perfectly formatted manuscript, but if you are an old-style typist like me, you’ll probably find a lot of extra spaces at the end of paragraphs and sometimes at the end of sentences within paragraphs.
Since many manuscripts are now submitted electronically, and publishers/editors often require print-ready formatting from the authors at some point in the process, it’s wise to add this step to your self-editing procedures.
If your publisher wants one space after a period instead of two (common when using fonts other than Courier New), first use the Find/Replace function to search out two spaces and replace with one.
After that, check every page of the manuscript and eliminate extra spaces, being careful not to delete periods. Click on the icon again to hide the formatting symbols.
Note that page breaks, hidden text, paragraph, and indent or tab characters will also be visible and may be added, corrected, or deleted in this final editing step.
Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting Colorado authors, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog. You can also find her on Facebook (Patricia Stoltey) and Twitter (@PStoltey).