This is how you format your PAPER Contest entry!

Got problems with submitting? Need help with the forum? Anything else?
User avatar
Brad R. Torgersen
Posts: 2109
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:19 am
Location: Wasatch Front, United States, Planet Earth, Sol System
Contact:

This is how you format your PAPER Contest entry!

Postby Brad R. Torgersen » Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:35 pm

I should have Peter sticky this, for future reference by other people new to the contest.

As a winner, I feel like anyone who uses this format cannot possibly go wrong in the format department, because it's the same format I used for all four of my Honorable Mentions and both of my Finalists, including the winning Finalist for Q3, vol. XXVI

It is 95% cribbed from two sources: Vonda McIntyre and William Shunn.

With minor modifications.

New people, please print this out so you can see how it all looks on paper. If, when you're done, your manuscript looks like this, you cannot go wrong. I say again, you cannot go wrong.

Your story might not win, but that will be because of the story, not because you messed up the format.

Click here to see a .pdf of my example.

Robert J. Sawyer suggests using the Dark Courier font -- link here -- or something almost identical. I agree with him 100% as the normal Courier that comes with Windows tends to be too light on the page. You basically want your printed text to look like it was done on a manual typewritter, and Dark Courier accomplishes this beautifully.

When you put the manuscript into an envelope, use a standard office-store type 9 x 12 inch yellow-orange paper envelope.

For the printing itself, do not use colored paper. Do not use personal stationary or odd-sized paper that is not 8.5 x 11 inches in size. Use white, 20-pound bond paper -- basically standard printer or copier paper.

Do not fold the paper in any way. Leave it flat.

The order of your pages should be:
1) Cover letter.
2) Title page.
3) Manuscript.

I like to put my Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) on top of the cover letter as I am sliding it all into the large yellow-orange paper envelope. Your SASE should be a standard white-paper, business envelope, #10 size -- which is about 4.2 x 9.5 inches in size.

I always put addresses on the SASE and yellow-orange envelope before I put the manuscript inside, so that the pen does not bleed through or otherwise mar the manuscript or its cover page(s.)

CAUTION: be very, very certain that your name appears nowhere on the manuscript itself. Only title and page number. If your name is anywhere on anything other than the cover letter and title page -- both of which are kept by Joni Labaqui for administrative purposes, prior to the manuscript being sent forward to Ms. Wentworth -- you risk being disqualified for that quarter.
Coming up: "Life Flight," in Analog magazine
Coming up: "The Chaplain's War," from Baen Books
www.bradrtorgersen.com
Nebula, Hugo, and Campbell nominee.

jloonam
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:55 pm
Location: The Abyss

Postby jloonam » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:07 pm

I've seen discussions here and eslewhere go round and round on the preferred use of Dark or standard Courier typefaces. Writers, critiquers, agents, screening readers, and editors have weighed in somewhere here and there. Some readers say Dark Courier works great, others say it's too dark, looks like all bold text. It boils down to whether printing with an inkjet printer (standard) or a laser printer (Dark) and how dark the output default of a printer is or is set to.

EmeryH
Posts: 484
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:48 pm

Postby EmeryH » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:07 pm

HAH I write with my own blood~!

User avatar
Brad R. Torgersen
Posts: 2109
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:19 am
Location: Wasatch Front, United States, Planet Earth, Sol System
Contact:

Postby Brad R. Torgersen » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:26 pm

EmeryH wrote:HAH I write with my own blood~!


So that's what it takes to win Gold, eh?

:P
Coming up: "Life Flight," in Analog magazine
Coming up: "The Chaplain's War," from Baen Books
www.bradrtorgersen.com
Nebula, Hugo, and Campbell nominee.

User avatar
soulmirror
Posts: 1971
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:34 am
Location: USA

Postby soulmirror » Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:40 pm

Brad R. Torgersen wrote:
EmeryH wrote:HAH I write with my own blood~!


So that's what it takes to win Gold, eh?

:P


It has to be on a contract though ... with da Debil !!!

haha

I had some issues, but put them on the other "format" thread.

:?: Do most of us here use the separate TITLE page? (I've been missing that, myself)
:?: Does anyone feel the impulse to use heavier than 20 weight?
:?: Is "dark Courier" vital to use?

It's bad to have to wonder, like there's some sort of "inside info" or "inside track" in a contest.
I speak aloud every outsider's natural paranoia: Does everyone else know or do something I should know or do?

Do the savvy insiders practice Voodoo ... while beginners waste their efforts on mere Hoodoo or juju ??? :evil:
Image
'The only tyrant we accept in this world is the still voice within.' -Gandhi
IOTF:Winner Q1 vol.27 (3x Finalist); WOTF: HM x2

User avatar
Brad R. Torgersen
Posts: 2109
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:19 am
Location: Wasatch Front, United States, Planet Earth, Sol System
Contact:

Postby Brad R. Torgersen » Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:27 pm

soulmirror wrote: :?: Do most of us here use the separate TITLE page? (I've been missing that, myself)
:?: Does anyone feel the impulse to use heavier than 20 weight?
:?: Is "dark Courier" vital to use?


:arrow: I did, always.
:arrow: No, never.
:arrow: I think it looks better than Courier/New or Times New Roman.
Coming up: "Life Flight," in Analog magazine
Coming up: "The Chaplain's War," from Baen Books
www.bradrtorgersen.com
Nebula, Hugo, and Campbell nominee.

EmeryH
Posts: 484
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:48 pm

Postby EmeryH » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:42 am

Brad R. Torgersen wrote:
EmeryH wrote:HAH I write with my own blood~!


So that's what it takes to win Gold, eh?

:P


Haha that and writing on parchment made from my own skin! XD

To Soulmirror:

I think you have to have a separate title page? So Joni can take it off and put it aside while KD gets the ms without any ID on it. I can't remember too well anymore, but I'm pretty sure that's why I had a title page.

I think by 20 weight you mean paper? If so, I just used regular.

I used Courier New. Haven't heard of dark courier before... sounds cool tho haha

skadder
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:55 am
Location: uk

Postby skadder » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:06 am

I used standard printer paper (at work!). As I am from the UK, I enclosed a SAE with an international reply coupon (with my name printed on the back) paper-clipped to the SAE. The SAE was paper-clipped to the manuscript.

I never sent a personal letter--just the manuscript, the SAE, and the international reply coupon--I figured they were't gonna be interested in who I was until I won.

User avatar
Prisoner
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:23 pm
Location: Metro Boston
Contact:

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby Prisoner » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:32 pm




Interesting, Brad. You put a lot of space at the top of the first page that KD will see of yours. That means you have 4-5 fewer lines to get your spec element in. I use the whole page on the first page, no more top white space than the rest of them.

Not arguing with success.

BTW, I was so green, my first HM was the first story that I ever submitted anywhere, and I had the page numbers centered at the bottom. I know I know, but just to show that minor deviations will not hurt you. I'm sure that KD tries to overlook everything she can, knowing these are amateurs, and focus like a laser on the story. She has mentioned that when she gets a proper manuscript that she is slightly favorably impressed that someone bothered to follow it.

Prisoner
Image
6xHM blog

User avatar
Prisoner
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:23 pm
Location: Metro Boston
Contact:

Postby Prisoner » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:37 pm

EmeryH wrote:HAH I write with my own blood~!



I was imprisioned by a faceless people for a crime of which I had no knowledge, and certainly did not commit, but what of that. In me spare time I have been persuin' me hobby which is writin' a great prison novel.

In the beginnin' I wrote with an ink composed of parts of me own blood, however this would not make an acceptable carbon, so I aquired an electric typewriter.

I am proud to be able to present you with the first edition of me saga of eternal torment, profusely illustrated, titled, "Leather Thighs".


~Firesign Theater
Image
6xHM blog

LMWanak
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 4:38 pm
Location: Madison, WI
Contact:

Postby LMWanak » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:18 pm

Huh. Interesting. I don't think I ever used a title page. It never mentioned it in the rules, just the cover page, then to have the title and page number on top on the subsequent pages after that.

Course, I'm formatting my next entry now, so maybe I will try the title page just for kicks. No harm right? :lol:

LaShawn (who's getting back into the forum now).
Visit LaShawn at The Cafe in the Woods, another speculative blog In Touch With Yours Truly.

User avatar
soulmirror
Posts: 1971
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:34 am
Location: USA

Postby soulmirror » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:04 pm

I'll sing it from the roof tops, colour me converted: once you get past the crackhead weak periods in Dark Courier (or at least the questionable version I could finally get to download in my whacked Vista pc, and can be made reg'lar via italics) and the shroomed-out floating "g" ... Dark Courier is cooler (even the name: they should've called it Nazgul or Dark Rider or sumthin')
Image
'The only tyrant we accept in this world is the still voice within.' -Gandhi
IOTF:Winner Q1 vol.27 (3x Finalist); WOTF: HM x2

AMcCarter
Posts: 1654
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:18 am
Location: Tulsa, OK
Contact:

Postby AMcCarter » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:08 pm

I use Courier 10 Pitch.
Amanda McCarter

Amanda McCarter’s Blog

Honorable Mentions x5
Silver Honorable Mention x1
Semi-Finalist x1

austinDm
Posts: 1123
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 1:24 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Postby austinDm » Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:41 pm

while we're on the topic of fonts, are serif fonts better than sanserif? I figure serif fonts look more like they came out of a typewriter, which is a more professional look, but it could also have something to do with uniformity in character spacing.

AMcCarter
Posts: 1654
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:18 am
Location: Tulsa, OK
Contact:

Postby AMcCarter » Sat Dec 19, 2009 8:17 pm

It is my very limited experience that most editors prefer even character spacing. One of the more published writerly types will need to pipe in for a definite yes or no.
Amanda McCarter

Amanda McCarter’s Blog

Honorable Mentions x5
Silver Honorable Mention x1
Semi-Finalist x1

Chryse Wymer
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:52 pm
Contact:

Postby Chryse Wymer » Sat Feb 13, 2010 11:02 pm

Guess I'm screwed. None of my three word processing programs have Dark Courier font.

User avatar
Brad R. Torgersen
Posts: 2109
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:19 am
Location: Wasatch Front, United States, Planet Earth, Sol System
Contact:

Postby Brad R. Torgersen » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:02 am

Chryse Wymer wrote:Guess I'm screwed. None of my three word processing programs have Dark Courier font.


Are you using a Windows based computer?

The font can be downloaded for free from HP.COM

Also, I think K.D. doesn't mind Time New Roman, though I am not sure if other markets do.
Coming up: "Life Flight," in Analog magazine
Coming up: "The Chaplain's War," from Baen Books
www.bradrtorgersen.com
Nebula, Hugo, and Campbell nominee.

AMcCarter
Posts: 1654
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:18 am
Location: Tulsa, OK
Contact:

Postby AMcCarter » Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:54 am

Just plain courier is good.
Amanda McCarter

Amanda McCarter’s Blog

Honorable Mentions x5
Silver Honorable Mention x1
Semi-Finalist x1

Chryse Wymer
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:52 pm
Contact:

Postby Chryse Wymer » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:50 pm

Thanks, Brad. I have a Windows-based computer, and didn't know that. I used Times New Roman so maybe at least K.D. won't mind.

Alastair
Posts: 555
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:47 pm
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Postby Alastair » Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:53 pm

It doesn't even need to be Windows based. Dark Courier font files work just fine with OpenOffice under Linux, too, although I prefer the on-screen look of Courier New.

AMcCarter
Posts: 1654
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 10:18 am
Location: Tulsa, OK
Contact:

Postby AMcCarter » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:35 pm

I'm with you Alastair. Courier New or Courier 10 point.
Amanda McCarter

Amanda McCarter’s Blog

Honorable Mentions x5
Silver Honorable Mention x1
Semi-Finalist x1

dr-phil
Posts: 90
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:07 pm
Location: West Michigan USA
Contact:

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby dr-phil » Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:22 am

Dark Courier was invented so that later HP LaserJets could have the original thick lined Courier font of the very first original HP LaserJet. I learned about Dark Courier at the 2004 Clarion workshop and used it for quite a while, but eventually gave up. It produces good dark print on my HP LaserJet 4ML, which is good, but the microspacing is larger and it ends up that fewer characters and words end up on the page, which makes your page count run long. This has the disadvantage of some markets thinking you are writing too long / over their word count limits some of the time, when in fact you have not, and I got tired of arguing with editors.

So I am back to submitting with Courier New 12 point.

Also, Dark Courier tends to use too much ink for my taste with a inkjet printer. I used to have my students submit their papers using Dark Courier, but 90% of them use inkjet and not laser printers, and it is just too heavy. I personally prefer laser printed manuscripts, but if you are using inkjet, you can get very high brightness paper (100+) which makes inkjet text just snap off the page.

Dr. Phil
Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon
Published Finalist WOTF 2008
"A Man in the Moon"

West Michigan, USA

User avatar
Prisoner
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:23 pm
Location: Metro Boston
Contact:

New Rules go with the new electronic form

Postby Prisoner » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:36 am

I just tried the electronic submission process for the first time. I read over at sff.org that KD is seeing 30% of the electronic submissions come through with personal information. The uploading process warns repeatedly against that.

I wonder though, how many people have made their submissions completely anonymous? Microsoft Word saves user information in two places. Only if you use a programmer's editor could you know for sure. In my old Word 2000 you can get rid of it under File Properties under the Summary tab and under Tools Options User Information. Best to replace the default User Information with other information, since blanks will get filled back in with the old information on saving the document.

If you didn't do this I wouldn't sweat it. The instructions say user information featured in the document will get you disqualified. The user information that sneaks in even if you've deleted it from the document you can see, well, you can scarcely be blamed for that. It's hidden, not featured.

Could KD ever be tempted to find that information? I doubt it. Could she if she tried? Yes. I bet 99% of entries have a username in the file, hidden somewhere The entry form also asks for profession and age. Maybe those are artifacts of the program they are using. I told them, though I imagine it's optional. It isn't in their selection criteria. Story is all.

Best of luck all! I'm on to my next story.

Prisoner
Image
6xHM blog

User avatar
MJNL
Posts: 1450
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:08 pm
Location: Arkansas
Contact:

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby MJNL » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:53 am

Good point, Prisoner. I notice that the other day, when looking through my files. If I just click on them (not open them) the bottom of the file-folder screen lists all the information about the file, including the name of the author--big bad no no!
~Marina

WotF Winner Q1 2012 (Vol. 29)

WotF Finalist Q2 2010 (Vol. 27)
WotF Finalist Q4 2011 (Vol. 28)
http://lostetter.wordpress.com/
http://twitter.com/#!/MarinaLostetter

steffenwolf
Posts: 1081
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:29 pm
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby steffenwolf » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:44 am

Could KD ever be tempted to find that information? I doubt it. Could she if she tried? Yes. I bet 99% of entries have a username in the file, hidden somewhere The entry form also asks for profession and age.


I doubt we need to worry about that. KD wouldn't want to go out of her way to find out information that could DQ a story. Then she'd be honor-bound to actually DQ it, even if it was a riproaring story that she would be proud to send to the judges! By the same token, a lot of the eventual WotF winners (including some of those in volume 26) have gone through critiquing processes at critique forums like Baen's Bar. She could DQ a hell of a lot of them if she registered and poked around for a little while. But, really, there'd be no reason to do that and all kinds of reasons not to. A good critique forum will take a badly executed story with a great idea and polish it into something wonderful, so it'd be a bad idea to do anything that would discourage the use of such forums for stories entered into the contest.
David Steffen
Visit Diabolical Plots for interviews, reviews, and much more:
http://www.diabolicalplots.com

Strycher
Posts: 2113
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:28 pm
Location: GA, USA
Contact:

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby Strycher » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:22 am

Thought I'd post KD's suggestions for formatting an electronic entry from the SFF forum:

1. Turn off Track Changes

2. Check the spelling of your title

3. Double space the manuscript (!)

4. Delete your name EVERYWHERE

5. Do not put an extra blank line between paragraphs unless you want to indicate a change of scene.

6. Use your tab key, not extra space, to indicate a new paragraph.


She also mentioned previously that you should read your manuscript all the way through because some of the errors she has found aren't in the first few pages.

I wish everyone good luck! (So long as it's not better than my luck. :wink: )

VonMalcolm

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby VonMalcolm » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:42 am

Hello all, new member here. :shock: I have always wondered if having your pen name on your manuscript is permissible. :?:

User avatar
Prisoner
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:23 pm
Location: Metro Boston
Contact:

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby Prisoner » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:57 am

dr-phil wrote:Dark Courier was invented so that later HP LaserJets could have the original thick lined Courier font of the very first original HP LaserJet. I learned about Dark Courier at the 2004 Clarion workshop and used it for quite a while, but eventually gave up. It produces good dark print on my HP LaserJet 4ML, which is good, but the microspacing is larger and it ends up that fewer characters and words end up on the page, which makes your page count run long. This has the disadvantage of some markets thinking you are writing too long / over their word count limits some of the time, when in fact you have not, and I got tired of arguing with editors.

So I am back to submitting with Courier New 12 point.

Also, Dark Courier tends to use too much ink for my taste with a inkjet printer. I used to have my students submit their papers using Dark Courier, but 90% of them use inkjet and not laser printers, and it is just too heavy. I personally prefer laser printed manuscripts, but if you are using inkjet, you can get very high brightness paper (100+) which makes inkjet text just snap off the page.

Dr. Phil


Can you believe an electronic market actually made issue with my use of Dark Courier? I mean really! It didn't disqualify, but they said it wasn't following standard manuscript format. Guess I'll stay with truetype courier.

Oh, and about pen names in the document. Why take the chance? Will the editors know it isn't your real name? How? If you're published under it anywhere, it becomes your identity as an author. The only one who cares about your real name is your mother, possibly the TSA, and the Birther movement if you become President and they judge you the wrong hue.

When in doubt leave it out.

Prisoner
Image
6xHM blog

User avatar
nodehead
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:53 am
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby nodehead » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:09 am

Hello all, new member here. I have always wondered if having your pen name on your manuscript is permissible.


For WotF? Or in General?

For WotF: no names anywhere. The competition is supposed to be judged in complete anonymity. Don't put a name in the filename, don't put a name in the header, don't use a byline. Your name (real or pseudo) shouldn't be on the story anywhere.

If you're subbing by snail mail, this very thread has the PDF that shows you how to do it (essentially: use a separate cover-page.)

As a general rule (both to WotF and other markets - but always check with a specific market), your real name should appear at the top left hand corner of that page (with your address etc.). If you're using a pen name, that can appear as your byline.

BUT ONLY ON THE SEPARATE COVER PAGE IF IT'S WotF YOU'RE SUBBING TO!!!. (Yes, I used all caps and multiple exclamation marks!)

If you're subbing by the e-sub system, you should NOT include a cover page at all. There's a form on the e-sub system that takes all of your details. Among others, it asks for your first name, surname and offers a field where you can enter a pen name if you use one.

Hope that helps.
Someone mentioned me somewhere, once. But, it wasn't here. And, it wasn't honorable. (A.K.A. 2x Rejections.)
A blog-like kind of thing...

VonMalcolm

Re: NOTE: This is how you format your Contest entry!

Postby VonMalcolm » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:45 am

Thank you prisoner and nodehead for your quick responses. This info is very good to know, though it won't help me this quarter: that cursed ship (with pen name in tow) has already set sail! Well, C'est la vie. . . on to Quarter Two!


Return to “Problems and Troubleshooting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest