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[Solved] Question regarding Manuscript Formatting - Starting a Chapter

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Viraj Puri
(@virajpuri)
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Topic starter
 

Hi! sorry if this isn't the right place to ask, I'm new to WOTF and have a question regarding submission formatting. 

I was going through a couple of manuscript formatting guidelines and one thing that stood out to me was that every new chapter must start one-third to half a page down. I know the electronic submissions for Writers of the Future have a few deviations from standard manuscript formatting in order to ensure anonymity, I was wondering if there's anything particular on this guideline.

Do we follow such chapter formatting or is it redundant for the contest? What would be the best practice to follow?

Thank you!

 
Posted : September 5, 2021 11:08 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Posts: 1283
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The best method, in my experience, is to follow Shunn manuscript format aside from the parts that involve listing your name and personal details. That includes starting the first page partway down. Here's a link to the format guide. Hope it helps! grinning  

https://www.shunn.net/format/story/

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
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Posted : September 5, 2021 6:20 pm
Wulf Moon reacted
Wulf Moon
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Posted by: @virajpuri

Hi! sorry if this isn't the right place to ask, I'm new to WOTF and have a question regarding submission formatting. 

I was going through a couple of manuscript formatting guidelines and one thing that stood out to me was that every new chapter must start one-third to half a page down. I know the electronic submissions for Writers of the Future have a few deviations from standard manuscript formatting in order to ensure anonymity, I was wondering if there's anything particular on this guideline.

Do we follow such chapter formatting or is it redundant for the contest? What would be the best practice to follow?

Thank you!

In addition to Liz's comment, there are no chapters in short stories. These are called scenes, and are separated by scene breaks. Again, Shunn's guide shows you how.

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Posted : September 5, 2021 6:24 pm
David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
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Shunn’s formatting is the recommended format for Writers of the Future. Go with the classic, not the modern.

https://www.shunn.net/format/classic/

As short stories don’t generally have chapter breaks, it’s recommended to use a single centered hashtag for scene breaks (as shown in Shunn’s). 

As you noted, don’t put your personally identifying information on your manuscript (also check your metadata to ensure it’s off there). That’s really the only major deviation from Shunn’s formatting for WotF. 

Write on and good luck!

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Posted : September 5, 2021 6:27 pm
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David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
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Ha! I took too long writing my post and @disgruntledpeony beat me to it. 

Winner, Volume 39, 2nd Quarter, 3rd Place
Subscribe to The Lost Bard's Letter at www.davidhankins.com
Published Stories:
"A Properly Spiced Gingerbread" - Critters Best Magical Realism Story of 2022
"The Last Quest of Corbin the Coward"
"Reassessed Value" - Tangent Online 2022 Recommended Reading List
”Hell’s Bureaucracy”
Coming Soon:
"Felix and the Flamingo" in Murderbirds!
"Another Day on the Orbital Ranch" in DreamForge Magazine

 
Posted : September 5, 2021 6:30 pm
Viraj Puri
(@virajpuri)
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Topic starter
 

@lost_bard @disgruntledpeony @wulfmoon Alright, thanks a tonne everyone! 

 
Posted : September 5, 2021 11:40 pm
Morgan
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Posted by: @lost_bard

As you noted, don’t put your personally identifying information on your manuscript (also check your metadata to ensure it’s off there). That’s really the only major deviation from Shunn’s formatting for WotF. 

 

This raises a question that's been bothering me for a while now. Is it really all that necessary to edit my file's metadata and delete all identifiable information under Properties? I mean, will a judge seriously go digging to figure out who I am? Metadata isn't something you can normally see unless you go looking for it, right?

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Posted : September 7, 2021 11:23 am
David Hankins
(@lost_bard)
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@morgan-broadhead

Digging through my faulty memory, I know that one of the many threads here discusses this point in detail. While it is unlikely that your metadata will get displayed, it's not impossible. You have to consider that different judges prefer reading submissions in different formats. Some may receive a print-out with no danger of metadata viewing, while some may use tablets or other devices to read submissions. Each word processing/editing/viewing program has a slightly different way of automatically displaying your metadata information. For example, using MS Word, if the judge goes to the 'File' tab in order to save/print/etc. it automatically shows them 'Created By' and 'Last Modified By' and suddenly your submission isn't anonymous.

I'm sure that WotF does their best to keep this information from the judges, who themselves want to give each aspiring author the best chance. But it's also incumbent upon each submitter to meet the criteria of the contest. As Wulf often says, this is the Olympics of short fiction SF/F writing contests, so the competition is steep. Little details like this, even in formatting, might make the difference.

 

Winner, Volume 39, 2nd Quarter, 3rd Place
Subscribe to The Lost Bard's Letter at www.davidhankins.com
Published Stories:
"A Properly Spiced Gingerbread" - Critters Best Magical Realism Story of 2022
"The Last Quest of Corbin the Coward"
"Reassessed Value" - Tangent Online 2022 Recommended Reading List
”Hell’s Bureaucracy”
Coming Soon:
"Felix and the Flamingo" in Murderbirds!
"Another Day on the Orbital Ranch" in DreamForge Magazine

 
Posted : September 7, 2021 11:48 am
Wulf Moon and Morgan reacted
Morgan
(@morgan-broadhead)
Posts: 311
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@lost_bard 

Since I've never stripped my metadata before, AND I've never won this contest yet, Imma go with THAT being the reason! laughing  

"Writers WRITE. And they finish what they start."
— Chuck Wendig
Drop me a line at https://morganbroadhead.com
SFx1
HMx2
Rx4

 
Posted : September 7, 2021 12:07 pm
Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
Posts: 2929
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@morgan-broadhead  A curious soul can go into properties and find out who wrote it. It’s a long shot, but why jeopardize your entry? Also, check your headers. It’s easy to forget the subsequent headers with name/ title / page number. Blind contest. Get your name off the manuscript, or you get an R without knowing you did this simple mistake.

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
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IT’S HERE! Many of you have been begging me for the Super Secrets book. The Illustrated workbook is here! And the book How to Write a Howling Good Story is on its way. Find out the latest HERE!

 
Posted : September 7, 2021 1:15 pm
Shriya S
(@surhut_the_samwise)
Posts: 7
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@wulfmoon About that, can the scenes have specific names? 

 
Posted : September 7, 2021 10:43 pm
Wulf Moon
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@surhut_the_samwise You can do anything you wish if it's done masterfully. But until you’re a master, why not do it the way you’re supposed to?

Proper manuscript format for the win! So simple, yet so hard for many. Read Super Secret #0. 😁

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in Writers of the Future, Vol. 35. Order HERE!
Need writing help? My award-winning SUPER SECRETS articles are FREE in DreamForge.
IT’S HERE! Many of you have been begging me for the Super Secrets book. The Illustrated workbook is here! And the book How to Write a Howling Good Story is on its way. Find out the latest HERE!

 
Posted : September 8, 2021 9:24 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Posts: 1283
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Posted by: @wulfmoon

@surhut_the_samwise You can do anything you wish if it's done masterfully. But until you’re a master, why not do it the way you’re supposed to?

All for proper manuscript format! However, if I carried this mentality with me everywhere as a writer I'd never try anything new, because I am a walking magnet for imposter syndrome. giggle When I was first starting out, a lot of the writing advice I received was very harsh/creatively stifling. It was when I started letting go of some of those strictures and experimenting with new and interesting formats/perspectives that my stories really started selling. Learning the basics of writing is important, but there's so much conflicting writing advice out there that it's easier for me to treat it as guidelines rather than rules.

@sirhut_the_samwise Learning basic writing forms is essential, and Shunn manuscript format is definitely your friend. That said, there's nothing wrong with trying out experimental things like scene headings. It's definitely worth checking with beta readers to see if they're doing what you want them to do when you're trying something out of the ordinary, though--and it's important to listen to their feedback on the matter. If something routinely isn't working, or if it pulls readers out of the story instead of proving immersive, it might be better to shift back to a more conventional format (or to set the story aside for awhile and come back to it later when you've practiced enough that your skill level has improved).

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales
Twitter
4th and Starlight: e-book | paperback

 
Posted : September 10, 2021 7:32 am
Shriya S
(@surhut_the_samwise)
Posts: 7
Active Member
 

@disgruntledpeony Yeah, I'm using the shunn manuscript template and just erasing the personal details things, but I had a really cool epiphany about my story(I could speak for HOURS about it AAAAA), and I definitely relate to the imposter syndrome one. Scene names could help me add structure to my story and make it less confusing, ya know

 

 
Posted : September 10, 2021 9:20 pm
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