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Message started by Gary A. Markette on Jan 23rd, 2013, 1:44am

Title: Words to the wise
Post by Gary A. Markette on Jan 23rd, 2013, 1:44am

We've started a new year at anotherealm and already I've received a plethora (that's a whole bunch) of submissions. Many of those submissions evince the same old problems that make them less likely to be selected for publication here. Here are some tips to help you (and me).

Make sure your submission is in ASCII text. Some email systems or word processors save their files in Unicode. When those files reach me, I get a message telling me that the file is in Unicode. My system converts most of it to ASCII, but fails to handle some of the characters properly. I end up with text that contains bogus characters (like question marks for quotes and apostrophes). Makes it hard to read and harder to set to html. Unless the story is exceptional, it goes to my slush pile. You can make sure your file is in ASCII by copying it to Notepad or using your word processing program to save your work to plain text. Don't worry about italics or bolding or any of that editorial stuff. That's my job. Just get the text to me so I can read it and convert it to html without struggle. I don't like struggle.

Paste your ASCII stories directly into the email. Don't attach them as a file. I don't download files. You probably shouldn't either if you want to keep your computer safe. (And those of you more computer savvy than me, don't bother arguing this point. I do what I do and, so far, have not had to trash my hard drive.)

Anotherealm doesn't require queries. Don't waste time and electrons asking. Just submit your story, for heaven's sake. Check out the site for guidelines and for the types of stories we publish (if you don't already know).

If you type or paste your stories into Notepad, set the word wrap feature off before copying it to your email program. Not doing that puts a whole bunch of paragraph marks into your story that I have to spend time and energy removing. Usually, I don't bother.

For those of you who use MSWord or other word processors: A computer keyboard is not a typewriter. You don't have to hit Enter at the end of every line. The word processing program "knows" when to enter a "soft" carriage return. Hit your "Enter" key only when you want to end a paragraph. And speaking of paragraphs . . .

Indenting paragraphs is another holdover from the days of typewriters. I spend time deleting the extra tab or spaces and that gets old fast. I prefer block paragraphing (That is, hit the "Enter" key twice between each paragraph. Start the new paragraph flush left.)

Some of this stuff may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many stories I get that contain these issues. By avoiding them, you help me and thereby enhance your chances for success. Good luck to all who submit.

Title: Re: Words to the wise
Post by Webbie on Jan 26th, 2013, 11:28am

For a lovely tutorial on plain text and how to do it please visit this link.

Title: Re: Words to the wise
Post by Jeangoldstrom on Jan 26th, 2013, 7:07pm

Bravo and thanks, Webbie, for this helpful tutorial.

-- Jean

Title: Re: Words to the wise -- Italics
Post by Gary A. Markette on Jan 28th, 2013, 7:35am

Webbie pointed out that our guidelines allow indicating italics. He's right, as usual. I don't mind if the writer indicates where he wants italics as long as he also indicates where they stop. I don't like having to guess. I'll allow italics indications per our guidelines, but I prefer to make those kinds of decisions myself. Typically, other than titles of major works  and ship names, only thought is indicated by italics. If you want italics for anything other than titles or thought, indicate start and stop places for the italics per our guidelines.

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