Archive | January 2012

Formatting Your Manuscript

This is going to be a short post today since I wiped out on some ice in the garage yesterday and am hobbling around like I was in a car accident. My husband said I’m lucky I’m still young or I would have gotten seriously hurt. He then went on to point out in a few decades or so, I might not be so lucky, and maybe I better try to be more graceful by then. Thanks. That’s very helpful.


Anyway, here are some basic guidelines to follow when you’re formatting your manuscript:

  • 12 pt. font, Times New Roman, black ink. Some people will say Courier is acceptable too, but that’s more of a screenplay thing.
  • One inch margins all around.
  • Page number upper right, header that says “your last name/name of manuscript” upper left on every single page.
  • Left justified, right ragged. NEVER justify the right side, or center your text.
  • Double line spacing.
  • One space only after the end of a sentence.


Also, the best advice I’ve ever read from a literary agent on formatting your manuscript is from Vickie Motter. Her post is here. Check it out!

Two Blog Awards in one day: 7X7 and The Versatile Blogger

Wow, what an honor! Two blog awards in one day! Thank you so much, Liz, for The Versatile Blogger award, and thank you, C.B. Wentworth, for the 7X7 blog award! I’ve said it before, but I will say it again; it’s so nice to know people appreciate what I’m doing!

I’m going to combine the award requirements together. Here are the requirements:

7×7 award:

Share something about yourself others don’t know.

Link seven posts from your blog that you think are worthy.

Nominate seven other blogs for the award that haven’t received it yet.

Versatile blogger award:

In order to pick up the awards, you must do the following:

Thank and link to the person who nominates you.

Share seven random facts about yourself.

Pass the award to fifteen more blogger friends.

Contact and congratulate the blogs nominated.

So I’m going to share and link to fifteen blogs. If I nominate you, pick one of the awards and pass it on!

Excellent blogs:

Sparks and Butterflies: I just found this blog yesterday, and it’s excellent! I love her unique view of things, and it’s nice to know there are other people going through the same things that I am.

The Blabbermouth- Linda P. Epstien: Great, in-depth advice from Ms. Epstien, a literary agent.

Aimee Duffy’s blog: She’s slaving away in the trenches like the rest of us, hoping to get published. Let’s give her some support! (She’s also my CP!)

Literary Wonderland: A new blog, just starting out, with some good advice for writers.

Olivia Miles-Modern romance Writer: Another one slaving away in the trenches. I love to follow her progress; and she’s super nice. Let’s give her some support!

Louise Curtis: She just had a new baby and she’s still writing! She’s a superhero!

Kristen Lamb’s Blog: A published author with excellent advice!

Rhonda Saunders: A writer who just got THE CALL! I’m so excited for her (and a little jealous!).

Shannon Howell: Another aspiring writer with good advice!

Slush Pile Tales: A blog by literary agent Lauren Ruth. She also offers query critiques occasionally! WOW!

Whispered Writings: Rachel has excellent advice for aspiring authors. Definitely worth a look.

Carly Watters; Literary Agent Blog: Another blog by a literary agent with excellent advice.

Brad Geagley: Great advice from a published author.

Amalie Berlin-Waxing Lackadaisical- Writing, food, advice, what’s not to love?

Let the Words Flow: a community blog written by a range of authors, from those still writing their first manuscript to those who are published!

Seven interesting things about me:

1. Two weekends ago, we got thirty-four inches of snow, from Friday to Sunday morning!

2. I have two cats, a dog, a son, and a husband!

3. Our house is close to a hundred years old.

4. I spent two hours this morning sharpening all my son’s crayons, because he won’t color with blunt ones.

5. While I was cooking super last night, my son colored all over the inside of his pack-n-play with a rogue crayon he had hidden from me. Whoever said these crayons are washable is a liar!

6. I own over five hundred books. My husband says our house is going to cave in from the weight of them. (see interesting fact #3.)

7. I grew up a short walk from the biggest fresh-water lake in the world!

And finally, the seven posts I have written (Some of these are ones that got lots of comments; some are ones I think are important):

1. Newer YA Books You’ll Love to Read

2. Facing Discouragement as a Writer

3. What is Voice in Literature?

4. Writing: A Leap of Faith

5. 41,500 Words: The Return of the Inner Editor

6.  Pen Vs. Computer

7. Rejection, Criticism, and the Writing Life

Big News: Two Full Manuscript Requests!

Sorry for the delay on our series on querying agents, but I have big news! Imagine my surprise when yesterday afternoon, I opened my email to find not one but TWO full requests from agents! One was from the agent I submitted my partial too; the other was from a different agent! Needless to say I’ve been reading over my manuscript and synopsis one more time, and am hoping to get them sent late tonight or early tomorrow morning! YAY!

Partial Request of my Manuscript!!

Sorry folks, the query letter series will have to wait one more day, because yesterday I got my first partial request for my new manuscript! WHOO HOOO! I totally wasn’t expecting it either, because I’ve only sent my query out to a select few agents. I was SHOCKED to see it in my inbox yesterday!

Okay, okay, I know I shouldn’t get my knickers in a knot. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, because then they’ll have so much farther to fall. But I will say this. This partial request couldn’t have come at a better time. If you follow my blog at all, you know how discouraged I’ve been lately. A small part of me was even wondering if I should throw in the towel, while a much larger (and much louder) part of me was yelling at the smaller part. This yelling was mostly made up of unsavory names, such as “quitter” and “dream crusher,” among other, much worse names I can’t repeat on this blog.

Anyway, this was exactly the boost I needed to get back to work. My sprits are lifted and hope has sprung eternal once again.

New Experiences

I’m taking a day out from the series on querying agents to talk about new experiences. Tomorrow, we will resume the series by talking about the actual query letter.

I spent almost all of yesterday sitting on the floor of the bathroom while my son learned to use the potty. He did it!!! He peed and pooped in his potty. Of course, now he’s obsessed with using it, and wants to try all the time. So much for leisurely potty training sessions.

As my son gets older, I think about how all these “firsts” are passing me by; his first tooth, his first word, his first steps, the first time he used his spoon alone, and now the first time he used his potty. He’s growing up so fast, and while I want nothing more than for him to be a healthy, happy little boy, a part of me is achingly sad knowing my time with him is limited, that someday, he’ll leave and I’ll be lucky to see him several times a year. It makes my heart break a little every time I think about it.

I hear you, though. You’re wondering, what does this have to do with writing? Well, I’ve been trying to cheer myself up by thinking of all the “first” writing experiences I hopefully have ahead of me; the first time an agent wants to represent me, the first time I sign with an agent, the first submission to a publisher, etc. All of these firsts, both with my son and with writing, are hard to imagine until they happen. The sheer joy of each experience has been, and hopefully will continue to be, a radiant burst of fireworks coloring an otherwise pretty, but ordinary sky. My “ordinary sky” fills me with contentment and happiness, but those bursts of sizzling fire provide the excitement that helps one to truly savor life.

Recharging your Writing Batteries

If you follow my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been feeling a little discouraged with my writing lately. I don’t know if it’s a combination of working too hard, gloomy gray weather, and my son’s bad sleeping phase, but I’ve been feeling very reluctant to start on my next novel. I’ve got a great idea (maybe the best one I’ve ever had) and yet I continue to put it off, finding a million things I “have” to do instead; cleaning, helping my husband put up a backsplash in the kitchen, exercising, reading, watching movies…

I think, for me anyway, that when I feel like this, it’s a message that I need to slow down and relax. I have a sort of type-A personality. I like to have answers to all my questions, I need to have everything planned out, and I need to stay busy. Sometimes, I even feel guilty if I sit down and read for a while.

Even though I haven’t brought in any income with my writing yet, I still regard it as my career. I work hard, everyday, busting my butt to try to make it work. I know I only have until my son (and our future kid(s)-fingers crossed) leave for kindergarten to get my writing career off the ground. At that point, I will probably go back to school, finish up my last year or so, and get my Bachelor’s degree in teaching or nursing. And so I work, getting up hours before my son, working during every naptime, staying up after everyone else has gone to bed. I put in the hours, collect the rejections, and try to make it work. So far, it’s been for nothing, and that can be discouraging. I’ve said it before here on my blog; yeah, it’s nice hobby to write, but I’m really writing because I want my stories to be read, to have people fall in love with them. It’s kind of hard for that to happen if they’re tucked away in my hard drive. Plus, if I just wanted a hobby, I’d knit.

So, the best thing for me to do right now is to recharge my writing batteries; try new things, go to museums, watch educational specials on PBS, read great books, watch great movies, go for long hikes (or snowshoes), cook new recipes, play with my son, spend time with my husband. I know it might feel like you’re not doing anything, but you are. You’re feeding the big idea center in your brain. It all goes into one big pot on the stove, and someday soon, you’ll turn on the heat, simmer it well, and have a delicious pot of stew (or a novel!).