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Two spaces after every sentence?

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Jay Morgan
Posted on Monday, July 30, 2007 - 04:29 pm:   

Hi all,
I'm new to submitting stories, and was not sure if two spaces after every sentence is still necessary. I've been told it is by a few people, but most magazines don't mention it in their guidelines. Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks,
BF
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Monday, July 30, 2007 - 06:43 pm:   

The position held by the Society for the Advancement of Byron Bailey at the Expense of Everyone Else is that any spaces between sentences is entirely unneccesary and takes up unreasonable amounts of, well, space. Likewise, punctuation at the end of a sentence is entirely unnecessary, too.
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Jay Morgan
Posted on Tuesday, July 31, 2007 - 09:06 am:   

Thanks. That was helpful....I guess.....
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Charles Coleman Finlay
Posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - 06:33 am:   

Jay,

If the editor is noticing the number of spaces after your periods instead of the story contained in the sentences, then you're doing something wrong. Look, no one is going to buy or reject your MS based on the number of spaces after your periods.

Not that it's a dumb question. I've asked it myself -- not that that proves it isn't dumb -- at a couple of places where I sell regularly. The answer has always been, "Look, we're not going to buy or reject your MS based on the number of spaces after your periods."

Saying that, however, the markets I sell to usually indicated to me that they preferred two as it made scanning the MS easier. However, I have a very small sample to choose from and other professional writers I know, with more sales than me, insist their publishers prefer one space. To the degree that "it doesn't really matter which as long as you're consistent" equals a preference.

It's not like the difference between using Courier (or Times New Roman) and Gothic Bold fonts. Just pick one. Or two. It doesn't really matter as long as you're consistent.
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Charles Coleman Finlay
Posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - 06:35 am:   

Byron,

Shouldn't that read: "The position held by the Society for the Advancement of Byron Bailey at the Expense of Everyone Else is that any spaces between sentences is entirely unneccesary and takes up unreasonable amounts of, well, space.Likewise, punctuation at the end of a sentence is entirely unnecessary, too"?
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - 09:37 am:   

Sorry Charles, but if I myself were to write it that way, it would fly directly in the face of the stated goals for the Society for the Advancement of Byron Bailey at the Expense of Everyone Else. However, you yourself look like you'd make a great member to the society. The squandering of your talent would be a great boon to my cause. So, what do you say? Do you care to join a cause? As to it's worthiness, let's just let history decide.
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Charles Coleman Finlay
Posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - 10:20 am:   

But Byron, to advance yourself at the expense of everyone else it's important to be different! Unique! One-of-a-kind! And what better way than devising your own unique system of punctuation so that even an illiterate reader could, at a moment's notice, distinguish your illustrious prose from that of your more mundane and herd-like competitors? Think of cummings! Think of Gertrude Stein! Think of the children, for pity's sake! Er, I meant... think of Joyce!

And I have just run out of exclamation points. But clearly you lack the imagination to follow through on your plan.
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Jay Morgan
Posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - 03:30 pm:   

Thank you, Charles.

That was actually very helpful!

I've been told there are certain editors out there who look for any excuse to reject manuscripts. But I do think that presentation is secondary. I just don't want to give some overworked editor an excuse to reject my work - especially for something as trivial as not spacing enough. Just trying to cover all bases. Thanks again!
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 - 04:48 pm:   

"But Byron, to advance yourself at the expense of everyone else it's important to be different! Unique! One-of-a-kind! And what better way than devising your own unique system of punctuation so that even an illiterate reader could, at a moment's notice, distinguish your illustrious prose from that of your more mundane and herd-like competitors?"

Your advice is sound Charles, but creativity in punctuation is not one of my strong points. Still, I heartily recommend your advice to everyone else. My uniqueness as a writer isn't in the realm of punctuation, sentence structure, characterization, plot, dialogue, description or frankly any combination of the aforementioned. However, there is another way to stand out from the herd and that is to elimate the herd or at least greatly reduce it. I feel that is where my natural abilities and talent lie rather than in punctuation.

"But clearly you lack the imagination to follow through on your plan."

We can hope so. :-)
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jeff hotchkiss
Posted on Thursday, August 02, 2007 - 08:24 am:   

I haven't used two spaces between sentences since I started using a computer in high school (which involved Windows 3.1).
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T. L. E.
Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 03:19 pm:   

What do you do with the last sentence of a work? (And if you double space between sentences, do you quadruple space between paragraphs? And, also............................................................................ ...................................................never mind....)


--30-- (or is it --31--?)
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Marguerite Reed
Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 08:02 pm:   

I always used 2 spaces. It's best to make one's manuscript as invisible as possible, so as not to distract the editor from the fantastic story.
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T. L. E.
Posted on Monday, November 26, 2007 - 09:26 pm:   

I like that answer, Marguerite. (If one could only plug a story directly into an editor's ear/brain. [Probably possible soon.......]) ;#)
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Atlee Anderson
Posted on Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 12:00 pm:   

wait, wait, wait, you had a computer in high school?

All I had was an IBM typewriter, but it was electric & had one of those nifty little ball-thingies with the type on them.

Typing was the only class my dad said he'd understand if I got a C as a grade.

HA! I now earn my living typing & I've almost mastered the # keys, 25 years after typing class.

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