Formatting for WotF Contest

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Randy Hulshizer
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Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:37 am

Good morning forum friends. I realize this question might have already been answered somewhere in this forum, but I have not been able to find it. I am relatively new to the contest, and I have two rather simple questions regarding manuscript formatting. I refer to the official rules, which state:

Entries submitted electronically must be double-spaced and must include the title and page number on each page, but not the author’s name. Electronic submissions will separately include the author’s legal name, pen name if applicable, address, telephone number, e-mail address and approximate word count.


There seem to be some ambiguities here, but I might just be overthinking this. Here are my questions:

1) In standard manuscript format (e.g., William Shunn), the first page does not include a page number (of course). But the rules state that a page number should be included on each page. Should I take this literally and place a page number on the first page? That seems a little strange, but I'd like to hear from others as to what they think.

2) Normally, I would place my approximate word count in the upper right corner of the first page. However, the rules state that approximate word count will be reported separately. Of course (and I think someone else has already mentioned this), there is no field in the online entry form in which to enter this information. Any suggestions here?

Thanks so much to everyone here at the forum! I hope one day to meet some of you! wotf007
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:11 am

I don't know if this is standard practice, but I just made a header and footer for my document and had things set up to auto populate the title at the top and the page number at the bottom. No ideas with regard to the word count problem; I simply assumed that gets calculated automatically.
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby storysinger » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:31 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:I don't know if this is standard practice, but I just made a header and footer for my document and had things set up to auto populate the title at the top and the page number at the bottom. No ideas with regard to the word count problem; I simply assumed that gets calculated automatically.


I do the same. When I enter I don't get a word count request so I also believe it shows automatically.
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:38 am

For what it's worth, I always submitted in SMF, workout a page number on the first page and with my word count under the title where the byline normally goes. Modified to remove my identifying information, of course.

The entry form requires you to check a box saying that your entry is under the maximum count; beyond that, I don't think they care what it is.
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MattDovey
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby MattDovey » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:55 am

Just checked an old submission (that got an HM, so definitely passed formatting muster).

Turns out I have a header on Page 1 as well, so I'm probably sending off all my submissions to every market in a slightly incorrect format. Whoops. I would imagine, though, that it's unnecessary; the title is otherwise on Page 1, and formatted in such a way that it's obviously the first page.

I've also included the word count top right as normal, I've only deleted the usual contact details.

I don't think the contest is completely militant about format to be honest; I mean, purple Comic Sans is going to get you in the No pile, but my gut feeling is little details like this are neither here nor there.
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Randy Hulshizer
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:57 am

Thanks everyone. As I suspected, it seems that they accept some reasonable variation on format. That's good news.
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Dustin Adams
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby Dustin Adams » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:20 am

My recent finalist had word count in upper right, but no story name in footer on page 1. (Yes, other pages)
This Q for reasons only known to Microsoft Word, I now have the page # back on the first page, and the footer became a header. (Even though I use previous stories, delete all the words, and start writing.)

But I did get the newest version of word about six months go. So it changed things for me to better suit itself. (I didn't even check till just now because of my above system.)

I'll have to re-make the changes. I want it to be perfecto. However, I'm sure non-perfecto on those items won't get you booted.
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby Rebecca Birch » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:44 am

I've always just used SMF and taken out my contact info in the upper left, name under the title, and name in the header. No header on the title page. Hasn't seemed to cause any difficulty.
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby Dustin Adams » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:06 am

Found what not having a page # on page 1 is called in Word.

"Different First Page".

Word 2013

Otherwise, you should be able to go to the help area and search for the phrase different first page and find it.
I don't know about open office (I strongly dislike their virus-like bloatware practices) or Scrivener, etc.

Hopefully this helps some folks. Just reset mine this AM.
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby s_c_baker » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:17 am

Early versions of OO are bloat-free, for whatever that's worth. And so is LibreOffice. :)

Getting the first page header different is more work, though. You have to set a different "page style" for the first page, and then set a different header on that page manually. The latest few versions of Word have really made things easier.
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby dstein » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:24 pm

The bottom line is that you're only being thrown off because the instructions you cite are for written submissions, not electronic submissions, and they don't do a great job of making that clear aside from a later warning not to submit a document with a title page if submitting electronically. If you've followed a standard manuscript format and just let the form you fill out give them the "title page" information they ask for, you've done it correctly as far as I know.

Happy submitting!
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Randy Hulshizer
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Wed Oct 07, 2015 1:36 pm

Thanks. Although, the instructions I cited are actually for electronic submissions.
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby Randy Hulshizer » Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:30 am

Another formatting question. What about number formatting? In my final drafts, I generally spell out numbers from one to a hundred. However, I have a bad habit due to working as a professional and scientific writer where many of the style guides require numerals for all numbers. So, in my first drafts, I often find myself writing things like 42 or 5, instead of forty two (or forty-two) or five, etc. As I mentioned, I try to edit these out in the final draft, but I realized that I might have missed this in my last submission. Do you think Dave would reject a manuscript that used numerals instead of written numbers?
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby MattDovey » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:34 am

I was always taught, by my English teacher at the time, to spell out up to twenty and use digits thereafter. In hindsight I suspect the twenty was arbitrary, but the intent is correct; seeing "he had only 1 apple pie left to go before he could be crowned winner of the Intergalactic Fat [redacted] contest" is ugly and 'orrible, but "with that final bite, he was the two-hundred-and-fifty-six-thousand-four-hundred-and-thirty-second Intergalatic Fat [redacted]!" is difficult to read.

Practically, though, I think consistency is more important than any particular choice--don't write 6 in one sentence and six in another.

I also think that, whilst grammatical consistency is important and you should endeavour to look professional, matters of grammatical taste are not going to get you arbitrarily rejected, especially not in a contest that is--after all--expressly for amateur writers. So panic ye not wotf011

(I also spotted a homonym mistake in my Kindle copy of WoTF 31 last night--"principal" used where "principle" was the correct word. Nobody's perfect!)
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby orbivillein » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:36 am

If numerals and numbers are inconsistently formatted, that could signal other inconsistency matters that matter more. Repetitious inconsistency will jar the reading spell and invoke closer editorial scrutiny -- the matter of substance. A common writers' inconsistency is word compounding that mixes parts of speech, one of the more common ones is anymore (adv.) and any more (adj.) misuse. Hyphen inconsistency is another, particularly for spelled fractions: one-half, not one half.

Number formatting, though, is a publisher's house editorial style. A general distinction is whether for journalism style or for book publication. Journalism style is used by houses that publish serial digests: magazines that publish a mixed venue of visual media content, essays, and short and serialized long fiction. The journalism principle number format is spell out counting number cardinals zero through ten and ordinals zeroth through tenth, numerals for larger numbers. and always use numerals for measurements, money, time, and addresses.

Book prose, spell out counting cardinals and ordinals zero or zeroth up through one hundred or hundredth and any number digit of two or less syllables, with discretionary options for emphasis: third dozen, sixteen million, billionth, etc. Hyphenate two digit numbers: forty-two. Likewise, use numerals for measurements, etc.

The basis for prose and journalism differences is space consciousness. Numerals take up less space than spelled numbers. Journalism is, or was, more space conscious than book publication, which enjoys an apparent luxurious spaciousness of spelled-out words for their readability as aural-like sensations, not to mention excessive numerals signal lazy habits. Yeah, for cripe's sake, spell out okay -- not mother-loving okay to abbreviate to ok.

If a short story's number format is consistent, generally, a publication will not alter the style. The anthology editor will if the style is inconsistent; however, if number format is consistent and in one or another style, that won't affect screening for suitability, not for the contest standing.

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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:44 am

I was always taught, by my English teacher at the time, to spell out up to twenty and use digits thereafter.


Here in the US, I usually hear to switch to digits after ten. I suspect it depends on your style guide, in most professional environments. wotf007
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby Dustin Adams » Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:54 am

The ass is back!
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Re: Formatting for WotF Contest

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Oct 19, 2015 1:16 pm

Dustin Adams wrote:The ass is back!

I never knew it was gone in the first place. Alass. wotf001
Stewart C Baker - 1st place, Q2 V32
My contest history: Semi-finalist, R, HM, R, R, HM, HM, R, R, R, R, HM, R, R, R, R, Winner
My published fiction, poetry, &c.


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