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January 20, 2010

The stomach virus seems to be gone (a few symptoms remain but we won’t go into detail).  I stayed home again today because my muscles are sore (we don’t have to detail why) and my voice is gone (I’ll just say “acid” and leave it at that).  Sorry if this disturbs you.  I had to explain it to someone.

Sitting at home, I decided to contemplate my Clarion West application, specifically the story.  It was 35 pages and they want 30.  Back in high school, manipulating page numbers was all about margins and font size.Nothing says amateur hour like non-standard margins or an 11 font size (instead of 12).  So I didn’t go there.  I could play with fonts a bit, though.  It’s not cool to use a varying font size, like Times-New Roman, but I thought I might be able to use another standard format font (per online recommendations) and squeeze it closer to the page count.

It turns out I had my story in Courier New.  Sounds like just a better Courier, doesn’t it?  Well it ain’t.  The typeface is significantly larger than Courier.  How much?  A simple switch to Courier moved this 35 page story to…wait for it…30 pages.  So I guess I’m ready to apply.

Bizarre.  I don’t usually deal with number of pages, just word count, so I really had no idea the difference was so considerable.  Anyway, I guess I’ll get my CW app out today, after a quick trip to the store for some Aleve and some Lipton’s Noodle Soup.

UPDATE:

This got me wondering about what else I didn’t know.  A quick check suggests that editors want 1-inch margins all around.  I knew that.  However MS Word apparently defaults to 1.25 inch margins on the left and right.

Why didn’t I know this?  I’ve been writing and submitting manuscripts for over a decade!  Why am I just figuring this out now?  This margin thing is the biggest clunker since editors look at page numbers for their estimated word counts (they don’t all trust word processors).  I don’t think it’s a huge deal, especially for electronic submissions which tend to get reformatted anyway, but I suddenly feel like a rank amateur.  I guess it’s just a bit of humbling data to remind me that’s exactly what I still am.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2010 10:55 am

    I’ve been out of it for a few weeks, but clearly, you have been kicking ass and taking names in the writing department. Thanks for the inspiration/motivation!

    • osomuerte permalink
      January 21, 2010 1:16 pm

      Just one ass to date, and it’s not thoroughly kicked yet. Lots of names though.

      Glad to see you’re still alive out there. 🙂

  2. January 21, 2010 4:20 pm

    Hmm, I’ve been using courier new. Maybe I’ll switch too. I templated my MS word a long time ago to default to 1 inch margins, but I’ll have to check and make sure it is still doing that.

    Is crazy the things we don’t think about. 🙂

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