Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Indents in a manuscript

Ever since I started my fourth book, I've been fretting gently about indents.

I've always done them in Word by setting a margin and pressing Enter for a new paragraph. When I loaded my novel on Authonomy, the indents disappeared. I noticed that some books on there have indents, and worked out why: it's because their authors used Tab instead. I did some research. Not much information out there, but one editor said using Tab made it easier for an editor to adjust the formatting.

Should I change with my new novel? (Too late to alter the old ones. Can you imagine going through 80,000 words of text, switching the indent on each paragraph? Aaagh.) So I asked the advice of two writers whose opinion I respect. One said yes, the other no. I went on with the fretting, as my novel grew.

Today I was reading about epublishing, which has arrived in America but not yet here. It's probably going to be big in the future. I took a look at Smashwords, and on their style guide it says, among other things: DO NOT USE indents made with spaces or tabs (the most common bad habit of all authors).

So now I know.

Monday, 21 September 2009

LitMatch, or as it will soon be known...

...I'm just teasing you. I shall not be telling you what it will be called.

As a beta member of the new, improved LitMatch site there are some things I cannot disclose. Really exciting, shiny, secret things you'd be fascinated by if only I was at liberty to tell you.

Sorry about that.

I can say that the site looks very nice, and is not at all orange like the old one.

(Go here for more information from Christopher Hawkins, LitMatch's originator.)

UPDATE: I can now reveal, the new name is AUTHORADVANCE! See link in the sidebar.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Updating the website

I've got a website for my writing, started a couple of years ago with a view to being prepared for when I was published (ah, how little I knew back then...) I used Squarespace, because their templates are so elegant. I did a special header with little dragons, because I was writing fantasy in those days, and thought it looked pretty cool.
Then Squarespace updated their options, changing the interface and making the template I'd used obsolete. It was V4, and they'd progressed to V5. I knew it would take time to come to terms with the new system, and kept putting it off - though it had to be done. And so yesterday I gritted my teeth and did it. I switched to a template intriguingly called Incident at Gate 7, and am very pleased with it. The layout is simple and spare, and does the job. I've updated all the pages, and added one for my current book.
I've left a few very small dragons like the one above, as page closers, for old times' sake.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Inspiration and long, hot baths

When do you get your best ideas? You know the solution to your novel's current problem is there, somewhere in your deep subconscious, laid down by a lifetime's observation and thought; but sometimes it's hard to get at it.

An idling brain seems to work best. Driving a familiar route is good, if you are alone. I've often pulled over to jot down the bones of a scene. But baths are best. A solitary soak seems to let my mind range free better than anything else.

Paper and pen beside the bath is essential, though, if you don't want to have to leap out and dry yourself hastily before the idea, as volatile as a dream, evaporates.