Of Double Spaces and Tabs

Little TAB key

Little TAB key (Photo credit: Kai Hendry)

Makes me think of ‘Double double, toil and trouble…”  Ah Shakespeare coined the phrase well.

Well, this post isn’t about Shakespeare.  No, this is more about the being that I am trying to be published, I thought it prudent recently to find out what the format of a manuscript should be, if I ever need to send it off to an agent or editor.  I had first thought about it after reading one of Tim Kane’s post on what not to do when you  submit a manuscript.  I knew some of the things, like playing with fonts.  A big no-no.  And  changing page margins to fit more words on the page.  Uh, yeah, they are seriously not going to like that. 

However, I didn’t know about the not hitting the Tab button to indent, and the single space after a sentence, rules.  You wouldn’t think those would be big things, but I learned typing in the old manner of hit the tab to indent and hit two spaces after a sentence.  Even now, as I type this, I am double spacing.  I have it so ingraned in my head, I don’t know how I will ever get out of that.  And the thought of reformatting all my written things.  Pages and pages of double space after a period.  Egads, I shudder to think of what to do in that manner.  Does anyone have any suggestion to remove that little uh oh? 

Breaking a habit like that seems impossible.   Hitting the tab key I think I can fix, so long as I figure out the auto tab setting.  Which for those of you who are interested, it’s five spaces.  Tab seems to indent about, oh, ten.  Or more.    I can understand why an editor wouldnt’ like that because it really does take up lots of extra spaces. 

I don’t even know why I indent when I write.  Habit again, I suppose.  I was drilled on indenting for every new paragraph.  It’s stuck there.  But it isn’t even really that necessary when I type.  And going back to indent is a whole lot easier than un-indenting.  Trust me, I’ve played around with it.

Well, it’s been interesting to read what to do and what not to do, because it isn’t set in stone.  Sure, like I said about margins, fonts and tabs, seem to be pretty much universal. Oh, so is double spacing the lines.  But then there are others that supposedly are a bit more fluid.  All depending on who you send it to.

I’m just not enjoying this habit breaking I’m going to have to do.  See, there I double spaced again. I dont’ even think about it.  Personally, I don’t like single spaced anyhow, or hwo it looks.  I don’t see enough of a break.    Well, I guess I have to conform, but I think  the double space is a dumb rule.  I don’t even quite get what kernaling is.

Any thoughts?  Any suggestions on breaking the habit?  I never though I could change my cursive ‘T’, but I have.  So I guess things are possible.

For those interested, I found this site, Kleine Editorial Services, and this post, Standard Manuscript Format, helpful.

Writing on


2 thoughts on “Of Double Spaces and Tabs

  1. I like this site, I’ll have to visit and keep in ‘touch’. My husband just completed his first book and we have a friend helping to proof-read it. We will be submitting it to a small press first and they mentioned following the basic guidelines for formatting manuscripts.

    I think it’s interesting that I was only reading about it yesterday, and learned about the spacing both after sentences and paragraphs. We, my husband and I were both having problems on our computers with the indenting. I didn’t know till now that one isn’t supposed to hit the tab key, but I did finally have the paragraph icon show up and once I right clicked on it found that I had options that I could change to help with that portion of the manuscript. Now it does it for me correctly and automatically, nice compared to what was happening before.

    Btw, the reason I hadn’t written before was because my blogs had been shut down unbeknownst to me, by their auto spam finders. After looking-once I queried this yesterday-they apologized and made them available once more.

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