NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > GENERAL DISCUSSION > Creative Writing Corner
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Paragraph Format Preferences
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Paragraph Format Preferences

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
Author
Message
steph9289 View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 23 Jan 2016
Location: New York
Status: Offline
Points: 652
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steph9289 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Paragraph Format Preferences
    Posted: 06 Feb 2017 at 10:57am
Okay..this is just me being curious about the formatting choices that people make. I have seen a lot of variety over the last few days. It makes me wonder if it's a geographical thing or if it's just random. Here are a few varieties I have seen:

1) Writers who choose to leave an extra space between paragraphs instead of indenting.
2) Writers who have no extra spaces between paragraphs and indent each paragraph.
3) Writers who indent dialogue, but do not indent the narrative.
4) Writers who choose to not indent at all.

I wonder if some have just been conversion/formatting errors or purposeful choices. What does everyone think? Is there one right answer? Should we vary our format based on the content of our stories? Do different parts of the world format their paragraphs differently? It's just so interesting to me!!
FFC Challenge 2 Mom Knows Best
FFC Challenge 1 The Exchange [6 points]
Back to Top
Sponsored Links
The #1 Writing Tool

Back to Top
Archon1995 View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 30 Jul 2015
Location: Roswell, GA
Status: Offline
Points: 713
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Archon1995 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2017 at 12:36pm
For this contest there are no standard formats, other than the specified fonts and doc types to use. There are no penalties for the various formats. (Though I imagine someone who submitted with no paragraph breaks, one big block of text, wouldn't do very well...)

Many prefer to submit their stories in a standard manuscript format. This particularly makes sense for those who intend to submit stories for publication, or already do so.

I do think, however, that some of the judges include how a piece is formatted in their scores, whether they realize it or not. No matter how hard they try to be objective, the judges will be subjective to some degree and they're all professionals (or supposed to be). There have been some stories which did very well in the forum that didn't do well with the judges at all.
R1C1 G7 PRESSURE POINT
Back to Top
justmel View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 25 Jan 2015
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Status: Offline
Points: 631
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote justmel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2017 at 2:17pm
Interesting thread.  It's true, as Archon1995 says, that there are no format requirements beyond font and doc type, but in addition to that, the stories you're reading through the forum may be significantly different from what the writers submitted.  For instance, the word doc I submitted for the Challenge was double-spaced in black TNR12 with all paragraphs indented and no breaks between paragraphs.  But when I copied and pasted the story into my blog, the paragraphing and the font type, size, and color all changed.  I didn't plan it that way--that's just the blog's default, and I didn't give it a second thought until now. 
 
(Edited to add "double-spaced")


Edited by justmel - 07 Mar 2017 at 6:28pm
Back to Top
scriber View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Groupie
NYC Midnight Groupie
Avatar

Joined: 31 Jan 2017
Location: Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 124
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scriber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2017 at 4:48pm
For whatever reason my word program likes to be a big pain about indentation, so I tend to leave it out unless used for something like a letter or song. Personally, I always leave a space between paragraphs. I just find it easier to read. That isn't surprising since it's what I learned and how I wrote for a magazine. Come to think of it, I didn't indent much while writing my articles either and my editors never made comment. Probably because it saved space.
Back to Top
milesmum View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Status: Offline
Points: 3091
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote milesmum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2017 at 4:53pm
Originally posted by scriber scriber wrote:

For whatever reason my word program likes to be a big pain about indentation, so I tend to leave it out unless used for something like a letter or song. Personally, I always leave a space between paragraphs. I just find it easier to read. That isn't surprising since it's what I learned and how I wrote for a magazine. Come to think of it, I didn't indent much while writing my articles either and my editors never made comment. Probably because it saved space.


Yeah, standard format is different for non-fiction. Definitely do double space and indent if you are submitting fiction though. 12-point, TNR, double spaced and indented is standard. Take it from a fiction editor Wink
Back to Top
scriber View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Groupie
NYC Midnight Groupie
Avatar

Joined: 31 Jan 2017
Location: Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 124
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scriber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2017 at 4:57pm
Originally posted by milesmum milesmum wrote:

Originally posted by scriber scriber wrote:

For whatever reason my word program likes to be a big pain about indentation, so I tend to leave it out unless used for something like a letter or song. Personally, I always leave a space between paragraphs. I just find it easier to read. That isn't surprising since it's what I learned and how I wrote for a magazine. Come to think of it, I didn't indent much while writing my articles either and my editors never made comment. Probably because it saved space.


Yeah, standard format is different for non-fiction. Definitely do double space and indent if you are submitting fiction though. 12-point, TNR, double spaced and indented is standard. Take it from a fiction editor Wink


Honestly, I've had to re-learn how to write fiction, so admittedly I am prone to making these mistakes haha. It's made me incredibly self-conscious about showing instead of telling. It's all writing, but worlds apart.
Back to Top
plkphoto View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 14 Jan 2015
Location: AliceSprings OZ
Status: Offline
Points: 2903
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote plkphoto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2017 at 5:55pm
For this contest I use double space between paragraphs (single space within) and no indent -- mainly because I find that style the easiest to read… probably because of my non-fiction background.

But, when submitting, I always check the format guidelines and if they want "manuscript style" then I double-space the whole thing, with indents to show paragraphs. (And by indents, I mean five spaces not tab or indent setting.) That's standard for novel manuscripts. Sometimes they request something different for short fiction. Always best to check!
Back to Top
KieraLesley View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Newbie
NYC Midnight Newbie


Joined: 19 Jan 2017
Location: Melbourne
Status: Offline
Points: 53
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KieraLesley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Feb 2017 at 10:46pm
I used standard manuscript format (Examples here: http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html and here: http://www.sfwa.org/2005/01/manuscript-format/) because I'm planning to polish up my story and submit it to other places, and because I'm used to slush reading final versions formatted that way. A piece doesn't feel "finished" to me unless it's formatted to standard.
Back to Top
ottersdaughter View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 26 Jul 2016
Location: Vancouver, WA
Status: Offline
Points: 631
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ottersdaughter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2017 at 6:43pm
I'm an English teacher, so I tend to do everything in MLA standard format unless required to do otherwise Tongue Uploading to Google docs for posting in the forum usually squishes everything to single space though...

Edited by ottersdaughter - 08 Feb 2017 at 6:43pm
FFC 2017 CH2 - Finding Fault

2016 FFC & ShSc Finalist
Back to Top
LaissezFaire View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 1094
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LaissezFaire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2017 at 9:16pm

1) Writers who choose to leave an extra space between paragraphs instead of indenting.

I think this is fine for a single spaced story, but not double-spaced. The paragraphs crash together otherwise.

2) Writers who have no extra spaces between paragraphs and indent each paragraph.

I think a single space document screams for white space with no space between paragraphs it blends. The indents do help though. I don't like reading stories formatted this way in a Google doc.

3) Writers who indent dialogue, but do not indent the narrative.

I have done that and it was because I didn't know the were supposed to be indented.

4) Writers who choose to not indent at all.

On a blog this is fine. Smaller space like a magazine and it is hard to indent in a blog via html. I hate it in a Google doc or printed document. It is just so hard to know where you are and where you left off.


I wonder if some have just been conversion/formatting errors or purposeful choices. What does everyone think?

I have noticed that people who do a lot of blogging or online reading tend to go single space, double between paragraphs in block format. People who copy edit, have written essays, or who have sent out manuscripts follow the standard double space with indents for a document. People who don't know tend to be inconsistent with style.


Is there one right answer? Should we vary our format based on the content of our stories?

Not one answer, but a style for venue.   If the story is posted direct on a blog single space with double between paragraphs (indents optional and usually not done). This gives enough white space for the narrow presentation without forcing too much scrolling.

In a document to be read online Google doc style, Times New Roman, double-space, indents is best for reading. Arial and Courier are okay, but imo harder on the eyes in pixel form.

In a document to be printed, Courier or TNR. Double-spaced with indents. If there are necessary italics for format of the story TNR handles it better. But Courier is better for edits.

Do different parts of the world format their paragraphs differently? It's just so interesting to me!!

That is a good question. I know Chinese characters are in columns. Arabic must have its own rules. I imagine the rules fit the script of the language.

Edited by LaissezFaire - 08 Mar 2017 at 10:32am
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  12>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.10
Copyright ©2001-2017 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.047 seconds.