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Issues of formatting

June 17, 2007

So I finished my entry for the competition and submitted. Diary of the Future now opens with Nicky’s little brother dropping fartbombs. I realised recently that I hadn’t made use of Tommy’s character quite enough. Knowing how annoying little brothers can be. (And yes Chris you were very annoying as a kid, a teenager! Who knew from that you’d turn out to be such a great father.) So now Tommy will make extra very annoying and smelly appearances because his weapon of choice is flatulence.

Last time I entered this particular competition, I received some very odd remarks from one judge who could not cope with the fact that I’d used single quotation marks instead of double quotation marks. Single quotation marks are the standard submission requirement in Australia (and I think the UK) but obviously not the standard in the US. This time, I didn’t want a judge to trip over the formatting and be blinded to the story, so I formatted it US style. I changed realise to realize. I changed mobile phone to cell phone (actually did that in the synopsis but didn’t do it in the sample chapters.) And I changed the quotation marks. Don’t you love find and replace? It’s a marvellous thing. Until you realise that all your apostrophes are now double quotation marks. And there as a lot of them! You see, I’m quite fond of contractions. Especially in dialogue. It took quite a while to go through all those pages and change those apostrophes back. Too long!

So I guess the best thing I can do is retrain my typing to use double quotation marks for dialogue. Then when I want to submit to an Aussie publisher I can do a simple ‘find and replace’ which won’t interfere with my apostrophes. But that could be easier said than done. I still haven’t retrained myself to type one space after a full-stop instead of two. So the dilemma still stands….

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