It’s a pregnant, holy moly crap type of silence. I want to cry because I did it and it looks great and I’m in complete awe and joy, type of silence.

I formatted my manuscript, and it looks close to divine. I am in love with it all over again. It looks like a book! Still trapped within my computer, but still! It looks like a book!

Things I learned:

Learn manuscript formatting before you write your novel, or as soon into it as you can.

Apply learned formatting before you start writing, or as soon into it as you can.

Learn the quirky Word (or whichever) tricks possible….yep, before, or as soon as:

Hitting control while scrolling either zooms into your document, or zooms out to where you can see one-20 pages all at once. This would have made my editing days SOOOOO much nicer had I figured it out earlier. Rather than scrolling through 30 pages to get from one chapter start to the next, I can scroll out to have a screen of 20+ pages right there, and click into the page I want, and zoom back in.

There could very well be an easier way to do this (Find and Go To isn’t always the best). If you can find other ways, DO IT!

Insert page breaks at the end of every chapter. This will also make your editing days beautiful and stress free. If you later decide to delete or add several paragraphs/pages, the next chapter beginning will ALWAYS stay in place on its own page. No scrolling through your manuscript over and over again to put them back in place with every change.

Insert section breaks after your front pages and to separate Part 1, Part 2 etc., and break the link to the previous section in order to assign page numbers and various headers that won’t go where you don’t want them (copyright page, dedication and acknowledgment pages, Part pages).

Viewing in draft mode is your friend for seeing/changing/adding the above breaks.

Figure out book-appropriate fonts NOW.

Control Z is my BFF. Made an oops? Deleted something that is imperative? Control Z undoes your last action.

Next, I want to learn how to save particular formatting so I can just hit a button and apply it: chapter starts, dream sequences, flashes of memory.

Lastly, don’t let formatting overwhelm you into paralysis. It wasn’t so bad.


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