Showing posts from October, 2016

DIY: Last Minute Halloween Costumes

Happy Halloween! Are you stuck for a last minute costume? I find myself reflecting on my childhood costumes as today's children prance around in store-bought costumes.  When I was a kid, my mother bought me one, yes one , store-bought costume. It was cheap junk. She always said we could come up with something better at home. That year I was a princess, and the mask was frightening, hot, and I didn't wear it very long because of my glasses. I had one other store-bought, hand-me-down costume , but it actually was made up of two costumes.  I was a skeleton, the outfit, and a clown, the mask. Back then, it was funny. Today a skeleton clown is frightening. I've tried to recall as many of my costumes as possible, but some years have faded in my memory. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of these.  There was a photograph of me in the cowboy costume, but I don't know what happened to it. Probably one of my siblings has it because all four of us were in the pictu

Why Do We Write?

Image Why do you write? I write to solidify the stories that surface in my mind. My brain, or maybe my heart, gives birth to ideas and I run with them to see where they are going. I've done this for as long as I remember, as early as the age of four if my Aunt Vivian is to be believed (I dictated stories to her to write down, she says). The second part of my reason for writing is related to my four-year-old insistence to get my words in a tangible, written form--the desire to share my stories, to see them on the page. My first published story appeared in my college literary journal. I wrote the story a few years earlier in Mrs. Seamon's creative writing class in high school. She told me, given good teachers, I could go somewhere with my writing. I never gave up, but writing took a back seat to marriage, children, divorce, and single motherhood for many years. (You can read all about those years in my other blog:  The Workbench of Faith . ) How

Formatting Your Manuscript: Page Numbers and Margins

Last week, I showed you how to double space your manuscript and set up automatic paragraph indents . Today, we'll cover some of the page formatting elements you will need to know, such as: Margins Headers & Footers Page Numbers Margins Most agents, editors, and publishers request that you use 1 inch top, bottom, left, and right margins. This is simple to do, and these settings are usually the default settings for Word. Select the Layout tab on the ribbon Click the dropdown arrow for Margins (appears on the far left of the ribbon) Choose the Normal setting Headers and Footers Page numbers help reviewers keep track of your document. Make sure you check their guidelines for page number placement.  Some people prefer them in the top right corner of the page, others prefer the bottom right corner.  Make sure you do what they ask for.  Don't give them an excuse to reject your submission. Accessing the Header Place your mouse in the top margin area of

How To Format A Manuscript Submission

Last night, during our writing group meeting, a few of our newer members submitted work without proper manuscript formatting. I know you can search the internet and find proper submission formatting guidelines, but I thought it might be worthwhile to go over the HOW of formatting instead of the WHAT. Why? When one of our members said something about incorrect line spacing, the writer said he had used double spacing between the paragraphs. From the appearance of both writers' work, I believe they used the default line spacing of 1.08 and hit ENTER twice after each paragraph. Unfortunately, that is not double spacing a document. The Basic Guidelines When submitting to an agent, publisher, or writing contest, you should always read their formatting guidelines. Most require the following: Font: Times New Roman or Courier  Font Size: 12 point  Margins: 1 inch top, bottom, left, and right  Spacing: Double  Alignment: Left with First Line Indent  Directions  Since the

An Editing/Proofreading Primer For Writers

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles   Since mid-June, I've been sharing some of the techniques my writing group uses to provide feedback to our members. This started with a post about the writing group and expanded from there. If you've missed any of these editing and feedback posts, here's the entire list in one place. Editing: Removing Word Repetition Who's Telling the Story: Exploring 3 Point of View Options Who's Talking Now? Using Multiple Points of View What Is Omniscient Point of View and How Do You Write It? Why Should You Use Active Verbs? Recognizing and Eliminating Adverbs In Your Writing Story Time Line: 7 Steps to Checking For Issues 4 Ways To Identify Problems With Plot and Flow The Importance of Setting the Scene In Your Writing, Part 1 The Importance of Setting the Scene In Your Writing, Part 2 Getting Your Facts Straight:  5 Useful Sources Scene Blocking:  What It Is, Why Do It, and How   Although this