PDA

View Full Version : One space or two?


SFFWorld.com
Home - Discussion Forums - News - Reviews - Interviews

New reviews, interviews and news

New in the Discussion Forum


Pages : [1] 2 3 4

MrBF1V3
September 12th, 2006, 05:31 PM
Recently, in my travels, I was reading the other comments for a story I'd critiqued at another site. This person pointed out that publishing houses don't like to read manuscripts which have double spaces at the end of sentences. I guess you can lose your chance for a fair read by putting too many spaces at the end of a sentence.

Oh, this link was also included:

http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/typespacing/a/onetwospaces.htm

Now I have to read everything over again to see whether that second space is really disappearing. When I learned to type, this was one of the many things drilled into my head. --Next they'll be telling me that Pluto is no longer a planet!:eek:

Is this a real change, or is this a fad?

B5

Dawnstorm
September 12th, 2006, 05:47 PM
Recently, in my travels, I was reading the other comments for a story I'd critiqued at another site. This person pointed out that publishing houses don't like to read manuscripts which have double spaces at the end of sentences. I guess you can lose your chance for a fair read by putting too many spaces at the end of a sentence.

Oh, this link was also included:

http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/typespacing/a/onetwospaces.htm

Now I have to read everything over again to see whether that second space is really disappearing. When I learned to type, this was one of the many things drilled into my head. --Next they'll be telling me that Pluto is no longer a planet!:eek:

Is this a real change, or is this a fad?

B5

I've learnt to type in a commercial college (the Austrian equivalent). I learned to type on electronic type writers. I was never taught to place two spaces after a sentence.

Then, I went on to study English at University. They had elaborate style sheets, none of which included two spaces after a sentence.

I learned of the "two spaces rule" a few years earlier, at SFFworld. I never used it before, nor after I learnt of it (but I also never submitted).

Is this an American thing?

It still sounds odd to me.

P.S.: Pluto is no longer... Never mind.

Hereford Eye
September 12th, 2006, 05:54 PM
Pluto is so a planet; don't you go believing 25% of them silly astronomers; they don't know anything.

First came across the two space rule as a tech writer in 1979. The tech editors were harpies when it came to spacing. Turns out that military specs of those days required it. Don't know why. Got tired of arguing and it sort of became second nature to me now.

Miriamele
September 12th, 2006, 06:12 PM
In highschool typing class, I learned to always put two spaces (that was in about 1992). But I haven't seen anything about that extra space since then, and I admit I have wondered about it.

KatG
September 12th, 2006, 09:00 PM
What I want to know is, why in the world would you think any editor or agent would care? Yes, when I read a manuscript, we sat down and counted those spaces between one sentence and the next, sure we did. Honestly, folks. Two used to be standard, and yes, it probably is an American thing. One is common now, but if you use two, nobody cares. If you use one, nobody cares.

MrBF1V3
September 13th, 2006, 12:52 AM
... Well, it does ruin the acrostic which we used to learn the order of the planets. I always figured if it's massive enough to form a sphere, and rotates on a well defined axis, it should be a planet of some kind. But that more than doubles the number of planets, and order becomes a problem...

Wait ... what was this thread about?

This person who posted on that other site was convinced editors would care if a manuscript was sent to them with too many spaces. (On the other hand, "Formatted incorrectly, two spaces after period instead of one." may be easier to swallow than, "Didn't like it.") And maybe some people just have a need for more rules. I'm sure the better editors are looking at the content.

Yes, I also learned to double space in high school typing (I won't tell you when that was, but I learned on a Selectric II). I also learned that men can't type as well as women, because women are naturally better. Well, that's what they all said, and I was kind of outnumbered in that class.

It is possible that this is an american thing. I don't have enough information.

Thanks for the povs.

B5

KatG
September 13th, 2006, 09:40 AM
Sorry I was snippy. I'm upset about Pluto being demoted. But my husband argues it was justified. :)

All editors are concerned with content. A manuscript with incorrect formatting can be fixed. The manuscript itself is completely unimportant, except in it being easy on the eyes to read. And one or two spaces after a sentence doesn't have any real effect on that. (Plus, I won't go into how many ms. I had to read that were typed on onion skin paper -- which shows how old I am.)

This idea that editors look for formatting glitches as a way to come up with an excuse for rejecting a ms. flummoxes me. Nobody needs an excuse, and certainly not one as irrelevant as ms. formatting. All they have to do is read the first paragraph and say, "I don't like it." Of course, they usually read well beyond the first paragraph before coming to that decision, but the point is, an editor or agent doesn't have to justify a decision. They don't have to have an excuse to reject something. They don't have to have a "good reason." They just don't want it. But if they've agreed to take a submission, which includes those who are willing to accept unsolicited submissions, they will always look first to see whether they want it or not before they reject it. They will look at content.

That doesn't mean that authors don't need to make an attempt to act professionally, to learn basic procedures and find out what form the particular person receiving the submission wants the ms. to be in. And I will agree that double-spacing of lines is pretty important. But again, I'd caution folk on believing that a publisher relies on an author's ms. for production purposes and so it must be perfect copy, or that editors and agents' main job is to enforce manuals of text style. An editor or agent's goal is to find stuff, whether the author is politically correct about his sentence spacings or not.

MrBF1V3
September 13th, 2006, 05:54 PM
Sorry I was snippy. I'm upset about Pluto being demoted. But my husband argues it was justified. :)


Kat G, I didn't read what you wrote as snippy, just uncharacteristically brief. For the record, I didn't really think editors needed an excuse to reject a manuscript, or a way to let someone down easy, I was trying to be ironic. (And to be honest, I would rather hear the truth. I'll get over it.)

And I would think the form is important. If you send in a manuscript written on three different sizes of paper, center justified, with a different font for every paragraph--I would believe you are cutting down your chances of being published. But I do agree that content is even more important.

I suspect Pluto was demoted because they didn't want to have to add the three other now-they're-not-planets. Maybe it's bad luck to have a double digits:eek: .

B5

choppy
September 13th, 2006, 06:12 PM
I've pretty much always put two spaces in. Oddly I didn't learn about this in school though. I think my mother told me about it once and I've done it ever since. Now, I notice that I pick up on it whenever I read something that isn't written that way.

My opinion is that if it's important to a particular publisher, he or she will put it in his guidelines. And as an author you owe it to the publisher (and yourself) to go over the guidelines (and adhere to them as best as possible) before you submit.

Either way, it's pretty easy to do a global replace these days.

BrianC
September 13th, 2006, 06:54 PM
Oh come now, must I say what everyone else dances around? We all know that there are no actual "people" behind these supposed editors. It's all just avatars of the same, monochromatic, monolithic machine AI. (Sorry Kat, but the truth will out). That's why all manuscripts are uniformly, robotically rejected for using one space, rather than two, after a period, and for using straight quotes rather than eliptical. For that matter, that's why all books that are published are never rejected and why all manuscripts rejected once are never published.