I am working on material that just went to an editor who removed all the double spacing after a period and sent it back to me? I went through HS and College with double spacing following a period as the overall rule. I am being told it hasn't been this way for 30 years. I challenge that.
Has the rule of spacing following a period changed? When did this happen? Strunk and White does not make nay mention of this one way or the other that I can find.
I concur with your challenge. As far as the rule goes for typed-out material---which included computer word processing---it's "period," "space," "space," and the start of the next sentence. I've never heard any other way.
This applies to typed material, as opposed to, say, typeset material, where different rules apply for spacing.
With proportional spaced type as in the variable pitch fonts of modern-day wordprocessor applications, following terminal punctuation with two spaces has been obsolete since the introduction of the IBM typesetting Selectric typewriter in 1966.
Some publishers are tyrants about which font and terminal white spaces to use. If a proportional spaced font, like Times New Roman, is used, one space. If a monospaced font is used, say, Courier, then two spaces. Some publishers don't like two spaces even with monospaced fonts.
The usage of two spaces derives from typewritten text submitted for typesetting. As an example, a typewritten passage with an abbreviation punctuation like Mary went to the Dr. Smith was in his office. causes reading confusion in monospaced type without two spaces following the period.
I have just started looking at formatting for my stories for submittal, and ALL the templates I go through and advice I have seen says to use courier, pt 12, double space, AND 2 spaces after a terminating puncuation (.!? etc)
Posts: 303 | Registered: Oct 2007
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I had to get rid of double spaces after my periods for formatting in my first proof rounds of my first novel. I dunno when it happened, maybe it's a computer conversion thing, since publishers don't use plates anymore, they use software. I just know that was the biggest pain in the patoot ever. I asked 3 different editors who all told me the same thing - yeah, that's standard now. It may be a publisher's prefrence or something. I checked on the publisher's site and sure enough -- it's on there in manuscript formatting.
[This message has been edited by Reagansgame (edited September 22, 2008).]
Yeah, it sound like the single spacing after all punctuation is the accepted manuscript standard. I have been looking it up. It seems to predate the computer age, but has become widely accepted in part as a result of HTML code issues.
Thanks for the feedback. I guess I have learned my new learnin' thing for the day.
I'm confused. I learned in high school, college, and from experience in office settings to use a single space after a period. In general business communication, most people use Times New Roman, Arial, or another proportional font, so one space is enough to show a sentence break. This year, I learned to use two spaces after each period in a story, because the formatting examples I studied showed two spaces.
Times New Roman and Arial are proportional fonts. Courier and other typewritter derivatives are monospaced fonts, nonproportional, where every space and character takes up the same amount of horizontal space equivalent to the width of the capital letter N. Proportional fonts are more difficult than monospaced fonts for calculating space requirements in a publication.
Preference depends on the age, yes age, of the publisher and the in-house style specifications. Those who were brought up on manual typewriters are mostly set in their ways. They want to read manuscripts the way they've always read. Teach an old dog new tricks? Younger editors who've never known manual typewriters are more technologically progressive. Converting a digital manuscript for publication is less troublesome than typesetting from a hard copy. Single-spaced terminal punctuation is less difficult to convert.
Usually, a submission guideline will specify if there's a specific preference. If not, it's like anything else in this business. Be consistent and otherwise shoot in the dark. If the story's good enough that they want it, it won't matter what spacing after terminal punctuation is used.
[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited September 22, 2008).]
I grew up with two spaces after a period. It was beaten out of me sometime in the last few years when it became clear I was the only person in some group of people doing some project work together that was still doing the double space after a period thing.
Now I try to convince my husband that this is the new way of doing things and he's the old dog this time, LOL.
Interesting link, aspirit. I'm having a problem with a part of it, though. Dave Farland/Wolverton told me 1 inch (top and left margins), 1.5 inch to the right, and half inch on the bottom. I questioned it, but he showed me how it left editor's comment space on the right margin and it made exactly 25 lines--thereby making it 250 words per page by line count.
Right now, I'm wondering if there is a set standard? Or maybe it's different for novels than short stories?
I've set a million words of type in my lifetime. Hand set from a California cold case to an etaoinshrudlup keyboard Mergenthaler Linotype hot lead compositor when I worked in a printing job shop, filmstrip photo typesetting in a printing laboratory, qwertyuiop keyboard in PageMaker, Quark, InDesign, and CorelDraw since the advent of computers, plus OmniPage optical character recognition software, as well setting type for online publications in html. Type characters run together after a while and I see them galloping fiendishly in my nightmares.
Typesetting from digital text to a publishing application has its own complications, first among them is how many spaces follow terminal sentence punctuation. I've seen entire lines of spaces after paragraph termination, useless page breaks, multiple hard returns and lines of spaces at the end of documents, unconventional characters and formating that don't belong in a manuscript or don't cross platforms, quote marks that don't translate from one application to another, glyphs that don't translate, drop capped paragraphs, paragraph first line indents instead of tabbed indents, white spaces instead of tabbed indents, double hard returns instead of tabbed indents, manuscripts formatted in ascii instead of rtf where every line ends with a hard return, the list of formatting hijinks is endless. Two spaces after terminal punctuation isn't that big of a deal compared to cleaning up all the other ones. Praise Providence for the reveal code and show hidden characters features of WordPerfect among other applications, CaseCatalyst, etc.
InDesign is becoming the preferred publishing software, some still use Quark. Adobe PDF is the preferred cross platform document application for submission to LuLu, Lightning Source, and Xlibris. One day in the future, perhaps an application similar to PDF will become the standard for all creative writing submissions for publishing and no one will have to shoot in the dark.
[This message has been edited by extrinsic (edited September 23, 2008).]
Ah, the typeface argument flares up again. I've made myself clear a couple of times, but there are always new people coming along who haven't seen my argument on it, but---if a market is inclined to be so tyrannical and unreasonable about what typeface you submit something in, I'm inclined not to submit to them. I find Times New Roman readable---what's wrong with them?
(And if they're waving money at me but insist on a change in type style---a promise they'll buy a story if I do such and such---well, I'll consider it for money, but beforehand? No.)
Regardless, this should be considered a simple fix if you use double spaces after sentences and want to quickly switch your manuscript over to single space for the publisher. Please don't do it by hand! It's entirely unnecessary.
What you want is the Find/Replace function. I use OpenOffice Writer which handles every format; for those of you with Word or WordPerfect it's probably in the same place, the Edit menu. Simply add two spaces to the Find box and one space to the Replace With box. Press Replace All.
Assuming the only place you used double spaces was after each sentence, this should switch things over immediately. You can then save the manuscript as a different file name to preserve the double-space version.
And in answer to Robert's point above - if a market insists on a particular typeface, there's usually a good reason for it (though sometimes an outdated one), and it's only common courtesy when submitting to meet the market's requirements, rather than expect them to meet yours. I'm not sure it's a good move, if you want to be a professional writer, to cut yourself off from a potential market just because you think they are being picky about requiring a non-proportional font. I find it a pain to switch formatting for the odd market here and there that requires non-standard submissions, but if it's a well-paying and respected market, I really don't think it's something worth taking a principled stand over - "read my preferred typeface, Editor!".
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I don't submit much these days to any market---twice a year is about all I can manage. Then, I only submit through the mail---and only to print magazines. For that kind of submission, Times New Roman is readable and adequate---if they want something else, I can accomodate them---after.
Probably my problem with this comes from no longer thinking of editors as gods, but as people who are preventing my work from reaching a wider readership. I'm just not inclined to put up with any nonsense from them anymore. Typeface is hardly the only issue here.