Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Editing Examples - 2018

Here's what the artist called a "social media" promo that I had made for Hidden Danger Hidden Heart, which is now available on most online ebook sites.

For cover & blurb on Amazon, click here.
For cover & blurb on Smashwords, click here.  (20% free read on Smashwords)

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From time to time, I show examples of how I edit. This time, the examples will be more complex - and harder to read - as I plan to include deletions as well as additions. Also, I am using an example that required a lot more revision than I usually have to do. The idea is to demonstrate that although some editing is easy—a word or two here and there— sometimes it's necessary to add or delete entire sections of text.  

No one ever said editing was easy!

Theoretically, it should be possible to follow the sense of the story by skipping everything in red (deletions), but I don't offer these examples for the story content - only as examples of the work involved in editing. Editing is demanding. Editing requires thought. And effort. You can't skim through using that old derogatory musicians' expression: "It's good enough for jazz." Your work has to be right. The best you can make it. Do not shirk the editing end of writing. 

Yes, it's great if you have a friend who is a whiz in English and willing to read your book. But . . . does that friend have a feel for what makes or breaks a manuscript? Will that friend tell you the truth? Your other alternative to Do-It-Yourself is to hire a professional editor. (And NOT just a copy editor! It is the height of arrogance to think your work only needs proofreading for typos and slips of grammar.)

The two examples below are excerpts from Royal Rebellion, Book 4 of my Blue Moon Rising series. They are "first edits"; i.e., edits I made the first time I read through those particular chapters. If you recall the order of edits in my post of 1/13/18, these passages will be edited at least twice more before I declare them good enough for public display.

The first example below is from a chapter written on not one of my better days, and therefore heavily revised in editing. Which brings me to another bit of advice (if more for writing than editing): if you're suffering brain freeze or simply aren't at your best, keep going. You can always—as I did—fix it later. But if you give up, the next day it's so easy to say, "I'm still not ready, I have no idea . . ." The day after that, the same. And suddenly three weeks, a month, five months have gone by, and you haven't written a word. And then - WOW! - it's truly hard to find your way back. So no matter what, keep going, bull your way through it; then print it out, sharpen your pencils, get out a legal pad & pens for inserts, and tear that first draft to pieces. Make it say what you wanted it to say (but didn't) the first time around. (And yes, I'm advocating my "hardcopy" approach to editing. At least it works for me. I can simply "see" what's wrong better when I'm looking at a printed page.)

Color code for the excerpts below:

Original - black
Additions - blue
Deletions - red

King Ryal’s study, Crystalia
   “Your Excellency.” Rogan Kamal executed the same stiff bow he gave the Emperor, his brother-in-law.
   “Your Majesty,” Ryal corrected.
   Rogan Kamal appreciated the king’s point. Ryal did not care to be addressed in the same manner as the Emperor Darroch. yet this meeting was so unprecedented, each man found himself regarding the other with an undercurrent of wry humor. At the same time he recognized an undercurrent of wry humor in Ryal’s demeanor. Evidently, Psyclid’s king, like himself, found their meeting so unprecedented that only a strong streak of pragmatism and a dash of amused irony would see them through.
   “Sit, sit,” Ryal said, waving his guest toward two comfortable seats away from the formality of his desk. “Tell me, to what do I owe the honor of this visit? I would have thought you’d be half way to the spaceport by now.”
   The Chief of Regulon National Security allowed a self-deprecating look to pass over his face. Having humbled myself before my son, I am here to do the same before Psyclid's king.
   “How could I not request such a meeting, Majesty?” Rogan returned, his tone diplomatic perfection. “In some convoluted fashion, we seem to have become family. Admittedly, I cannot find the correct word for the relationship, but there must be some term for it. My son has, after all, married the mother of your only son.” Kamal paused, eyes gleaming, before adding helpfully, “‘Lover-in-law’—perhaps that fits.”
   Ryal, resting his chin on the knuckles of his right hand, studied his opponent, a spark of appreciation lighting his azure eyes. “You are everything I’ve been told. And more. No wonder Darroch’s managed to cling to the throne for so long.”
   The two men exchanged a look of mutual respect, tinged with regret by the inevitability of remaining enemies.
   Dismissing the moment, the Chief of Regulon National Security got down to business.
“I would not be doing my duty if I did not inquire about the prisoners you hold. All loyal citizens of Regula Prime. In which group,” he added with open chagrin, “I am sorry to say, I can no longer include my son.”
After a brief silence to indicate his sympathy, father to father, Ryal said, “I assure you the prisoners are comfortably housed and well fed.”
   “I should like to see them.”
   “Ah.” Ryal considered the possibilities. "On general principles, Tal would not like it. “I am certain you are aware that Psyclid’s sympathies are with the rebels. And I fear they would not approve. The prisoners would be heartened by a visit from Rogan Kamal, which could inspire mischief. A message might be passed . . . Ryal offered an infinitesimal shrug. “Or were you considering ransom or an exchange? Ryal inquired smoothly. Our treasury would certainly benefit from not having to house and feed so many Regs. Your son’s crew, in particular, eats like a host of grizzoids.”
   “I would commend their loyalty,” Rogan snapped, adding on something close to a growl,  “Sir.”
   King Ryal eyed his guest. “I regret matters did not go well with your son. Be assured, however, that we treasure his presence. And that of all the men who followed him into the rebel cause. The Empire is known for how well it trains its troops, and we are honored to have them.”
   Rogan’s newfound respect for Psyclids rose another notch. Evidently, intelligence and courage started at the top, even if this odd king of an odd people was a staunch pacificist. “The visit?” he urged. “May I see them?”
   Ryal rang for an equerry. “Lord Kamal has my permission to visit the Reg prisoners. See that he has the proper escort. After that,” the king added in measured tones, “he will go directly to the spaceport, where he will return to Titan without hindrance.” Ryal, exchanging a look with the equerry, emphasized the last few words. Ryal rose, held out his hand. “Lord Kamal, I wish you safe journey. I truly regret the uneasy relations between Psyclid and Regula Prime.”

~ * ~

Edits from a chapter needing a more normal amount of editing:

   Dagg Lassan, captain of the armed merchant ship Pegasus, barreled his way into Tal Rigel’s office, slumping into the chair in front of the desk. Scowling at the booted feet stretched out in front of him, he declared, “If he was not such a valuable weapon, I swear I’d kill him.”
   Tal needed no explanation; he’d frequently felt the same way himself. K’kadi could be a problem.    Hoping to cajole his long-time friend out of his fit of temper, he ventured, “Not ready to be a grandfather, Dagg?”
   Dagg’s snarl sounded more like one of T’kal’s pack than the former owner of a vast Turan merchant fleet.
   “I beg your pardon,” Tal returned. “What can I do for you, Dagg?”
   “Nothing,” Dagg the merchant captain muttered, his gaze still fixed on his boots. “But some on Blue Moon . . .?” Dagg’s fist hit the desktop with a resounding thump. “Fyddit, Tal, they seem to think I should be rejoicing because my daughter is about to bear the grandson of a king. A great honor, I’m told. Well, fyd them!”
   Tal, head down, examined the shining top of the desk that had once belonged to King Ryal. “A good case can be made for Ryal keeping it in his pants, but then we would have only Kass and M’lani and not the very special gifts of B’aela and K’kadi. T’kal would not have a wife and twins—remarkable twins. And Talora would not have been called upon to give love to a struggling young man who very much needed her.”
Dagg groaned.
   “You were there, Dagg. You saw what happened. Nekator wanted to seal our alliance by marrying Anneli. When I found a way around that, he asked for B’aela and then Talora. Which of course I could not allow appalled them both. So there we were, our alliance with the Hercs teetering on the brink when K’kadi stepped forward and said he'd offered to marry Alala. Yes, he did it to save his mother and the alliance. He was also saving Talora.” Tal emphasized his last words, willing Dagg to look him in the eye.
   Instead, Dagg’s head dipped lower. “Guess that’s why I came. I needed to hear you say that. But it hurts, Tal. It hurts.”
   Tal regarded his long-time supporter with considerable sympathy. “It was unrealistic for any of us to think K’kadi would give Talora up just because he got married. Beneath that child-like fa├žade, he’s a royal to the core. Like father, like son.”
   When Dagg didn’t respond, Tal asked attempted to change the subject. “Do you like your new house?”
   The merchant captain straightened and for the first time looked directly at Tal. “Forgive me, but that’s what set me off. All that magnificence for a merchant and his family? Blood money, Tal. The king’s bastard’s mistress suitably housed before adding yet another bastard to the royal line.”
   “Sorry,” Tal muttered, “it wasn’t meant that way. Fyddit, Dagg”—Tal huffed a sigh—“you’ve been with me almost since the beginning. You’re not only a friend, but one of my most reliable captains and advisors—”
   “Alek Rybolt captains a battlecruiser and he lives in two rooms in the palace,” Dagg returned in a lethal monotone that gradually grew in volume and intensity. “Dorn Jorkan and Gregor Merkanov captain hunterships but live in modest apartments. While Dagg Lassan, merchant captain, wallows in luxury in a brand new house in the country!”
   Tal flipped up his hands, palms out. “Very well, it’s true. You’re about to become family. But you, Shaye, Talora, Romy, and Peter have more than earned a house big enough for your family. Kass and I were pleased to provide it. We even had T’kal send a team from Psyclid to augment our busy builders on Blue Moon.”
   “Forgive an old man his petulance,” Dagg growled. “I assure you my family is overjoyed. Shaye would likely slit my throat if she knew I was complaining.”
“Sir, I beg your pardon.” Jor Sagan, Tal’s aide, stood in the doorway. “Urgent news, Captain. I don’t think it should wait.” Tal waved him in. “I had the communication reconfirmed, sir, before bothering you.”
   Personal problems fell away. “Urgent news” was enough to capture the attention of both men at the desk, but at Sagan’s last words their focus sharpened to even greater intensity full alert.
   “Rogan Kamal just landed in Crystal City.”
   “Impossible!” Dagg barked. “They’d skin him alive.”
   “Psyclid is no longer at war with Regular Prime,” Tal said evenly, although his surprise was equally great. “Is he alone?”
   “His aide and a bodyguard, sir. That’s all.”
   Tal’s fingers tapped on the desktop as he mused, his voice soft and speculative, “He wants his son back so badly he’s willing to walk into the jaws of the dragon.”
   “What about his grandchildren?” Dagg asked.
   “Oh, he wants them back, but it’s Rand he’s come for. You have to give the man credit. He’s figured out where we are—or close to it. And he’s trailing himself out as bait.”
Dagg heaved a sigh. “And you want me gone while you figure it out.” Don’t worry about me the Lassans,” he added as he stood up. “I’ve said my piece, and the Lassans we will now enjoy their our fine new home. Please extend my thanks to your wife.” And with that, Dagg Lassan stopped fighting fate and left S’sorrokan to cope with the latest challenge to the rebellion.
Tal and Jor Sagan exchanged a long look. “Send for Kamal.”
   “Sir, you’re not . . . I beg your pardon.” Sagan stood at stiff attention, his gaze focused over Tal’s shoulder.
   “You think father and son shouldn’t meet? That we should simply throw the head of Regulon National Security in with the rest of our prisoners and continue on as if nothing had happened?”
   “No, sir, sorry, sir. It’s just that it’s almost like the Emperor decided to pay us a visit. I mean, Rogan Kamal is Darroch’s brother-in-law! One of our worst enemies. Look what he did to his own grandchildren.”
   "A puzzle," Tal agreed. "And one “You think I should turn him loose in the woods with T’kal and his pack at his heels.”
   Jor Sagan grimaced. “Something like that, sir.”
   “You could be right—but I’ve lived among the Psys too long. Black and white long since turned to an astonishing number of shades of gray. Making this a puzzle
I need help solving. So go! I want Rand here now.”
   Jor snapped a salute and left the room at a jog.
   After the office door shut behind him, Tal plunged his head into his hands, and groaned.

~ * ~
I was typing the final copies of my mother's children's books by the time I was a freshman in high school. She wrote on an old manual typewriter on cheap yellow pulp paper, and I swear she only wrote in or crossed out maybe one word every two or three pages. Sigh. As for myself, for a long time it never occurred to me we could have two authors in the family. And when I finally tried it—when my children were little—I discovered I didn't write that way. There were just too many things I wanted to change or add when I read my manuscript, and retyping a 90,000-word book? (Likely more than once.) Forgetaboutit!

And then, lo and behold—as I've mentioned in previous posts—in 1981 I saw my first word processing machine. And fell in love. I mostly had to use it for professional typing jobs in order to pay for the darn thing, but circa 1992-3, I finally got around to doing some serious writing, although it was late 1999 before I was published. (There was no way I could write to Harlequin/Silhouette formula, which was how most romance authors got started in those days.)

My big advantage, I admit, was that I was an expert manuscript typist and, by the early 1990s, had been both editing and typesetting for the educational publishing company my husband and I owned for twenty years. When he had a stroke and I became a stay-at-home caregiver, I had a lot of inside knowledge garnered from my mother's close-to-50 children's books and the books our company had published, including the first Black History textbook aimed at middle school & high school.

But, believe me, almost anyone can learn to read their own work with a discerning eye. It's a matter of discipline. Instead of getting lost in the magnificence of your prose, you have to read critically. You have to notice what you didn't say. Did you leave a motive in your head? Do you have a character who popped into a scene without identification? Do you have so many characters in a scene that they trip over each other? Do you leap from sub-plot to sub-plot, plunging your readers into total confusion? Or maybe what you wrote is just plain boring; i.e., nothing is happening. (And on and on - there are a myriad questions, a myriad solutions.)

So print it, read it, get your characters and plots straight before you move on. For me, that's the only way to build from one chapter to the next. (As previously mentioned, if you can edit well on screen, fine, but perhaps you should experiment with both methods, just to be sure. (The new generation - today's teens - are growing up with "on screen" just about all they know, but most of us, even twenty-somethings, were raised on the printed page.)

That's it for this week. Hopefully, I've driven home one more nail in my efforts to get people to "Edit the Blasted Book"!

~ * ~

For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here. 

To request a brochure from Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, please use the link to Blair's website above.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, January 20, 2018

A New Suspense by Blair

The picture above was posted to Facebook this week, making the point that most of us have never seen a map of the "Indian" nations. I'm certain such a map didn't even exist when I was in school "way back when." And yes, it's long past time we acknowledged that the now-named Native Americans were here first - even if they were immigrants from Asia thousands of years earlier. The Abnaki, by the way, the ones who sheltered my ancestor Peter Demo, after the Battle of Quebec, are in the upper right corner, southeast of the Algonquins. (FYI, the hard-to-read dark blob in the Southwest is Apache territory.)

~ * ~

I published a tale of Suspense this week that sat more than eight years on the shelf as the newspaper headlines changed, governments changed, our list of enemies changed . . . and then, finally, attention swung back to what first inspired me to write Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart way back around 2009: "The Wall."

How did I manage to combine a story of agricultural terrorism with a group of teens protesting "The Wall"? Believe me, it wasn't easy - although I thoroughly enjoyed writing the cultural clash of the stormy romance between a New England businesswoman and an Hispanic entrepreneur! 

So although I've written a lot of Regency-set books, Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart is as in-your-face contemporary as it gets. I was updating right up to the moment I hit the "Publish" button. I hope you'll take a moment to check it out - keep in mind a 20% free read is available on Smashwords. For a link to Hidden Danger on Smashwords, click here.

When Ashley van Dyne, founder and president of an organic foods business, finds herself in the middle of a world-wide threat to the food crop, she has no choice but to turn to entrepreneur Rafael Guerrero, resulting in a resounding cultural clash on two continents. There is also the problem of Ashley's young sister and three other teens who have no idea they are being used for a terrorist's private agenda. Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart offers Suspense, Romance, Drama . . . and a warning.

Grace note: For more details on the background behind Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart, please see my Facebook Author Page (link below).

~ * ~

For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here. 
To request a brochure from Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, please use the link to Blair's website above.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Editing Basics

Four girls from Markham Middle (our Riley on the right) ready for All-State Chorus in Tampa.


Just when we were hoping we were done with natural disasters, another catastrophe. Late last fall, the "Thomas" fire, the largest wildfire in California history, denuded the steep hillsides in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, north of Los Angeles. So when 5" of rain fell this week, there was no vegetation to stabilize the steep hillsides, resulting in mud slides that have devastated the region with huge rock falls as well as mud. Whole houses were swept away, the death toll still rising. Blizzards and unusually low temperatures elsewhere in the country. Just the way the ball bounces? Or climate change? Whichever, it ain't good!

~ * ~


As many of you know, every once in a while I offer concrete examples of what I mean by "editing." Naturally, I have to use my own work, as I don't want to offend any of my fellow writers by playing with theirs! So even if you hate Regency, Gothic, Medieval, Suspense, Mystery, SciFi, or Steampunk, hang in there. Hopefully you'll get the message even if you dislike the medium. [Except - oops - I spent so much time introducing the subject that the examples will have to wait a couple of weeks. (Next week I'll be introducing my latest tale of Suspense, Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart.) So I've changed the name of this week's blog from "Editing Examples" to "Editing Basics."]

Grace note:  For a list of my many detailed posts on editing since January 2011, please see the most recent "Index to Grace's Writing and Editing Posts" (which clearly needs a new edition!). The following is merely a bare bones outline.
For the August 2017 index, click here.

Introduction to Editing:

Editing is multi-faceted. It is on-going. It never stops until you click "Send" to an Agent or Editor. Or "Publish" at the end of an online vendor's upload form. But what do I mean by editing, and why should you do it? Your words are perfection, unassailable. Dictates straight from your brain to your computer, using the sacred medium of a keyboard. Bow down before them, world, and wonder at their greatness!

Oops! I'm beginning to sound like . . .

Alternative facts aside, you may be that rare author who gets every word right the first time around, but the bald truth is, most of us don't. And you're strongly advised to consider yourself among the 99.9 percent who need to edit, rather than have the arrogance to believe you belong in the .1 percent who don't.

For the sake of those who joined us after the last time I explained the two basic types of editing . . .

CONTENT EDITING. This is the really important one. Have you identified your characters? Given enough description to make them interesting? Have you created in-depth characters, made the plot clear? Have you alternated light and dark, action, reaction, recovery? Have you been too cryptic in your sentences, or perhaps your sentences run on and on into infinity. (As they do in a certain bombshell book that came out this week.) Upon re-reading, do your sentences say what you thought they said? In other words, Content Editing is everything BUT the nitty gritty of copy editing.

COPY EDITING. This is the tedious job of checking spelling, grammar, continuity, making sure the facts are straight. It's line by line torture, but it's an absolute necessity to keep your book from looking like Amateur Night in Dixie (if you'll pardon the use of a very old saying).

"I'm submitting my book to an agent with a New York publishing house in mind. They have all sorts of staff, so why should I bother to edit?"

First of all, your pride should demand that you submit the best possible presentation of your work. Secondly, if the editor or agent has two manuscripts of equal quality and he/she can accept only one, which gets the nod? The manuscript that's going to take up hours and hours of the editor's time? The one they're going to have to pay a copy editor overtime to correct? Or the manuscript that will require minimal time and effort? Nuff said.


1.  Run Spell Check! Pay attention. Don't let the program make changes you don't want. CONTROL the flow. (I recommend running Spell Check at the end of each chapter. Just as you should be saving to some type of back-up device at the end of each writing session.)

2.  Read! At the end of each chapter (at the most, two), read over every word. (I recommend doing this on hardcopy, but perhaps that's because I was editing long before word processing existed.) In any event, you need to "discover" what you've actually said. You likely need to add color, clarification (etc.) - or perhaps you "ran off at the keyboard" and need to pare your sentences down to something more concise. Change a word, revise sentences, revise paragraphs, insert descriptions, etc., as necessary. Basically, this is where you begin to make your work better. Make it come alive.

3.  While doing Edit One . . . look for typos, missing words, repeated words, unintentional bad grammar, unchecked facts, phrases that just don't make sense. (That's COPY editing.)

Grace note:   Now that you've made your manuscript more "meaty," perhaps even adding or deleting a character here and there, you are finally ready to move on to next chapter. Editing early allows you to catch mistakes that can escalate into an almost insurmountable fix.

4.  Second Edit. Choose a certain number of chapters (I use five.) At the end of that number of chapters, do a second meticulous edit. You'll still find copy edit problems, but this second edit should be more for the flow of your story. Do the chapters move well from one to another? Do you have a hook or two that keeps readers moving forward? This is when you find yourself saying, Oh wow, I never really made it clear why she did that. Or woops! That's a lousy transition from Chapter 4 to 5, more a "Huh?" than fun to read. (And yes, I do this edit on hardcopy as well. Which means I have to take the time to type in my revisions, but that's what works for me. If you can get the "feel" of what needs to be done from on-screen copy, that's fine.)

Don't forget to run Spell Check after every chapter!
5.  Third Edit.  When each 5-chapter section of my book has been edited twice from Chapter 1 to "The End," and every last revision inserted in the proper place, I print out the entire book and go through it a third time for both polishing the prose and copy editing. (FYI, I type in the revisions at the end of each 5-chapter section. The whole idea of working in sections is so you don't feel overwhelmed by an entire book's worth of edits.)

6. Fourth Edit. I remember the days when I felt my books didn't need a fourth edit. Those days are long gone. This edit, however, is optional. It's possible you really did get the result you wanted by the third edit. In recent years, however, I've been repeating the whole process one more time to make sure all the inserts, deletions, and revisions I made in Edit Three read smoothly.

7.  Final Edit (for indie authors only).  This is the one featured in last week's blog - where you're doing a final run-through of single-spaced, justified copy just prior to upload. Even at this point, it is still possible to find mistakes, or think of a better word, or realize you left some vital motivation out. It's not too late. This is when even I edit "on screen." (And never, even at this point, forget to save to a flash drive or wherever you save your backup copy.)

SUMMARY.  As anyone who reads Mosaic Moments regularly knows, I only give advice. I never say, "My way or the highway." (Too many so-called experts are already guilty of that.) Each author is an individual and must devise his/her own approach to editing. Which is all right, as long as you do it, and do it meticulously and well. Or hire someone to do it for you.

Never, ever, simply enter a Required Page End at the end of a chapter, 
heave a great sigh, and think you're done!

~ * ~

For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.

For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here. 

To request a brochure from Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, please use the link to Blair's website above.

Thanks for stopping by,



Saturday, January 6, 2018

Indie Formatting

The Reale Family at The Island, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Thursday, Jan. 4: I guess you have to be young to enjoy "up north." (Not that Tennessee really qualifies as "up north" - except vertically.) But I'm freezing in Central Florida at the moment where the high today is 47°F. (8.33 C.) (My begonia and basil are sitting on my dining room table - in response to a predicted three freezing nights in a row. Sigh. I had to let my vines take the nip - the flowers on the Black-eyed Susans are shriveled to nothing, but the leaves are surviving - so far.

Friday, Jan. 5: Last night all my plants curled up their toes except my herbs. Even the pansies are drooping, the vinca is wrinkled up as the Black-eyed Susans. Alas, even the leaves are damaged - first time in many years I've lost my plants. Yard is barren - not something we're used to here in Florida. 

Fence last week

Fence this week. Sigh.

On top of that, I forgot to bring in my pink geranium. Double sigh.

~ * ~ 


 In November, as I formatted both The Blackthorne Curse and Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart for Indie pub, it seemed a good time to talk about this basic subject again. But so many things were happening around that time that this post got put off until the New Year. [And because I put this post off for six weeks or so, I may have missed a step somewhere. If so, abject apologies. Let me know so I can fix it -  in Blog Comments or by "Contact" on my website (below).

I am one of those authors who absolutely refuses to give up the superior word processing available with Word Perfect, which inevitably makes more work when I have to translate my manuscripts into Word. The editing process, however, is the same in every program. Edit for content, copy edit for typos, missing words, etc. Then do it all again and again, as necessary. Only when you have a truly polished manuscript do you go to the steps below.

So . . . for authors who haven't done this yet, or authors who struggled with the process and are still shaky about how to get it right , here, step by step, is how to do the job in Word2016. Hopefully, these instructions are adaptable for those using other word processing systems.


FULL STOP:  Do not begin the formatting steps below until you have edited, re-edited, polished, and fully agonized over every word in your book. The steps below are FINAL ones, the last thing you do before upload. Fiction manuscripts will also need cover art. More about that can be found on the publishers' websites.

Grace Note: The instructions below presume your manuscript has page numbers. Mine do, for two reasons: I edit hardcopy. And I've been formatting manuscripts that way since I typed mss for my mother on a manual typewriter when I was in high school! Hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Before you begin, all sections of your manuscript must be in one document. (I usually have c. six 5-chapter segments.)  To make the sections into one document:

1. Open Section 1; copy with an "overall" name. 
Example: I opened Lady 1 and copied it as Lady2016. 
Be sure to place a Required Page End at the end of Section 1.* (Control+Enter)

*I am presuming you already have Required Page Ends at the end of each of the previous chapters.

2. Open Section 2. Select All - Copy - Paste at the end of Section 1. Add Required Page End. Repeat process with other sections until all are in one continuous document.

After your book is in ONE document:

1.  Be sure all margins are 1" (or the European equivalent)

2.  Delete all Headers.

3.  Delete all Page Numbering. (This step may have to be repeated at the beginning of each of your old sections.)

4.  Change Line Spacing to 1 (single space).

5. Format Paragraph - First Line Indent - change from .05 (standard ms) to .03 (book).

6.  Select All - Alignment - Justification (This makes a straight right margin as well as left.)

 Now - working with the manuscript itself . . .

1.  Turn on what few codes MS Word offers - click on the ¶ sign in the Toolbar.

2.  As you go through the ms, look for anomalies, such as two spaces in a row. A manual (instead of auto) margin tab (which won't work in an ebook), missing Required Page Ends at the end of a chapter, etc. (MS Word shows only a few codes, so this isn't nearly the chore it is when working in Word Perfect. Or as helpful.)

3.  General Instruction: as you do a final read of your manuscript, continue to look for typos, missing words, and places where your ms could be just a wee bit better in spite of all the editing you've already done.

4.  Oh yes, and whatever you do, I beg you not to put an Index at the front of a Fiction book. It's absolutely ridiculous. It looks like amateur night in Dixie. (Somebody said I should do that, so . . .

5.  Format the beginning of each chapter as you come to it. In most cases this means making the Chapter Number a uniform number of spaces from the top. (I use two.)

a.  Highlight & increase Chapter Number font. (I usually go to 14.)

b.  Center Chapter font, if desired. (This involves an extra step, (c) below.)

c.  Paragraph - First Line Indent - Change .03 to .00. (Otherwise the centering will be off.)

6. Date & Location lines. These lines are generally placed Flush left, in italics. Again, it will be necessary to highlight the line(s) and change the First Line Indent from .03 to .00.

7. Indenting quoted notes or letters in a manuscript. The classic rule is to put letters in italics and indent both sides if the letter is 3 lines or longer. But most electronic readers are smaller than books of the hardcover era when these rules were made, so my advice:  Indent only the left side of your copy, using the "book" indent of .03. [I found Word2016 did its best to make changing margins within a manuscript as obscure as possible, but it can be done. (In Word2003 it was easy, as it is in Word Perfect.) Sigh.]

When you reach the end:

1.  Add a short bio of yourself, including links to your website, blog, Facebook Author Page - whatever strikes your fancy.

2. Add a well-organized list of all your books and series.



If you're really into the business end of writing - you love the challenge of squeezing out every cent by doing all your own formatting for every e-reader, phone, & tablet in existence - then you won't want to read my final bit of advice. But for the rest of you . . .
I format for upload only in Microsoft Word. I don't struggle with any of the other formats. I upload my books to Amazon and Smashwords and let Smashwords do their "thing" - translating my books into every known format. Which they do almost instantaneously, to my constant wonder. [And the free Smashwords Style Guide (to Indie Publishing) by Mark Coker, Smashwords' founder, is a "must" for any aspiring indie author.]

Grace note:  It will be necessary to save your formatted manuscript into Word 2003 for upload to Smashwords, as that is the format their system was designed for. (It's a simple "Save As" in all MS Word programs.)

The Wonder Publishers of the world:

~ * ~

This week I uploaded a new post to my Facebook Author Page. It contains what I hope is interesting background information on why I kept a tale of Suspense on the shelf for eight years. Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart will finally make its debut later this month. It's a tale that mixes agricultural terrorism with immigration issues and features a romance with an almost insurmountable culture clash. If you'd like to read background on HDHD, click here.

For a link to Blair Bancroft's website, click here.

To request a brochure from Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, please use the link to my website above. See Menu on the right.