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What The Font?

January 22, 2010

I recently posted that changing from Courier New to just plain Courier saved me five pages of manuscript for my CW application.  Apparently I was wrong about that.

I just got my CW confirmation stating I had sent them a 36-page short story (title withheld because it’s still in WotF judging).  That’s right, 36!  According to them, I gained a page.  And it was a PDF so it shouldn’t be a formatting issue.  Was the page counter on my Word having an off night?  Or had the French Onion Dip gotten to my head so I couldn’t tell the difference between a 6 and a 0?

I’m pretty mad about it.  At who?  I don’t know, but I’m mad.  The email says that screeners ill only read through page 30 (like they can stop, right?…yeah baby…er…hmmm).

OH SNAP!  I sent the wrong !@#&**! file!  Shiznit!  I literally JUST figured that out.

Now what?  Well for starters, I finish this blog post in stream-of-consciousness mode.  Do I contact them like the pansy amateur I am and plea to my own ignorance?  Or do I suck it up and bite the bullet?  Aggghh!  Am I sabotaging myself on purpose?  What kind of idiot sends an important file without reading over it to make sure it was the right version?

Oso is a dumbass.

I’m going to see whatthe dumbass can get done.  If nothing, so be it.


UPDATE: I just finished writing my pitiful, beggy email asking that they replace my story with the 30-pager.  Then I started to really reearch why my page count was so different.  The answer: different computers.  I could send the other file and still have it come out 35 or more pages.  Why?  No clue.  Version of Word?  Mac vs. PC?  IIt doesn’t matter that much in the long run, I guess.  I accept my fate.  Hey, if the story has a weak part, it’s the ending.  So maybe this is good.

Or maybe I’ll go crawl into a bottle of rum for the night.

Bottom line, no beggy email is going out…I bet the first page is a stupid coversheet.  Damn, the formatting is wrong.  I am an idiot.  Oh well, there’s always San Diego…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2010 5:45 pm

    Hi Oso,

    I’m a CW wannabe and am delurking to say that I made a similar discovery last year and used it as you did this year to make a 35 page file fit the required 30 page format. I use a Mac at home and a PC at work, and, after striving mightily to pare down the application file in MSWord on my Mac, I opened the file on the PC at work and discovered that it needed no cutting: the story was 30 pages exactly. I saved the PC.doc file and sent it to my personal e-mail address; when I opened the file at home on the Mac, and it was back up to 35 pages. I therefore sent the application in to CW from the PC (as a .doc file, ot a pdf) and checked with Neile to see if the file was received as 30 pages–which it was. The story was in Courier, with one inch margins all around, from the get go, so I think the formatting difference resulted from the PC to Mac change–but I believe that I also have an earlier version of Word on my PC.

    Anyway, these formatting variants may be a valid reason for CW to review their application requirements, since the length of applicants’ stories ends up depending on arcane differences between programs (even if everyone is using standard manuscript format) and therefore some applicants (by knowledge or accident) manage to send in longer stories than other applicants can (whether by the electronic submission process or with snailmail hardcopies printed from the “generous” version of Word). Of course, getting accepted to CW depends on the quality of the story, not on the length, but setting a 6000 word limit, rather than a 30 page limit, seems like a good way to avoid these problems.

    Certainly, it would be a shame if you crashed in the CW app process this year simply because of these formatting problems; given the high quality of the story (as a WOTF finalist) and your having come within an inch of being accepted last year, you seem like a front runner this year!

    • osomuerte permalink
      January 22, 2010 6:12 pm

      Thanks for the comments. Glad I’m not losing my mind. I was getting worried. I have pretty much decided to let things fall where they may. If I don’t get in either Clarion, I intend to workshop from home (that is, put in a significant fraction of the writing and studying hours I’d get at a workshop). Not the same, but it should crank up my production at any rate. And if I place in WotF, I’ll have that workshop to attend as well, so it could be worse. Of course nothing is set in stone yet…heck nothing is set in Jello yet, but I expect something to come out of this summer.

      Good luck to you. Have you been on the CW Forums?

      • January 22, 2010 7:04 pm


        My introversion extends itself to online arenas, so I lurk on forums like CW and recently WOTF but don’t post. I’d never read anyone else posting about the formatting issues that you raised here, however, so I felt I had to delurk and say that, yeah, you’re not crazy–it happened to me too.

        I’ve applied to CW four times in the last 5 years; my first year, I got a nice note from Neile saying that I came extremely close, and the rest of my rejections have been of the “readers liked your work and we encourage you to apply again” variety. The rejection hasn’t stopped me from reapplying over the years, because I think that persistence is important, but I’ve not been inspired to post on the forums during those nail-biting weeks before the acceptances go out. I’ve never applied to Clarion SD or Odyssey, but this year I will try those two: in fact, I suspect that the Odyssey structure would suit me better than the Clarion formats, and the Odyssey guest lecturers are an impressive line-up this year. I was thinking of not applying to CW, but may do so anyway since I’d love to work with several of the faculty members, especially the Brits, Joyce and McDonald. Have you gotten the chance to read their work yet? And have you decided against applying to Odyssey?



      • osomuerte permalink
        January 22, 2010 8:42 pm

        I’ve read a little McDonald, no Joyce. The McDonald I read wasn’t my taste, so I’m looking for more. I’m plowing through GRRM’s _A Game of Thrones_ and it slowed some of my Clarion reading.

        I’m not applying for Odyssey. If I’m going to spend six weeks away from my wife and daughter, I want the shiny Clarion name to go with it. Snobby? Yes, but my family time comes with a very high price.

        I feel special you de-lurked on my blog. Hope I see more of you here.

  2. February 9, 2010 4:41 pm

    Sorry for the late posting on this one, but I wanted to tell you: you’ve got me so worried about the page number thing that I’ve submitted via snail mail. That way I can be sure they’re seeing the same pages as I am.

    I spent more time on the damn essay, I think! I’m submitting to both San Diego and Seattle this time, so maybe we’ll meet up in real-time yet!

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