Thursday, May 21, 2009

Barbour, Page breaks and More Questions we might be too shy to ask

When I was in third grade, I would raise my hand when I needed to go to the restroom. I'd wave it and wave it and my teacher never seemed to see me. One day, I could no longer hold it and wet my pants there in my chair.

Now this post is not about my embarrassment. (That's another story.) It's about being comfortable enough to ask the important questions when you need to. I was too shy back then to speak up and say, "Please can I be excused?"

I'm not so shy anymore.

So here they are. Questions that might make me less of a sloppy writer. Hopefully someone in blog land will be able to help me.

1. How do you make page breaks and do I need them in my manuscript to keep the Chapter headings from sliding all over when I edit. Plus, how many spaces go between the Chapter heading and the first line in the chapter?

2.VERY important. How detailed is a chapter synopsis? I want to submit to Barbour Books and they require that with the query. Has anyone ever done one
before? How should they be set up?

3. What does it mean when Explorer says it can't open a blog site? I so want to visit some of my new followers and can't.

4. How long are your chapters? I keep mine any where from 1200--2000 words. Can you have as many chapters as you want in a book?

5.When a publisher asks for a query letter and the first three chapters and a bio, do you put it all on one document? I had to do that for an agent once and felt so stupid because I had them separate. Is that the usual?

Ok--those are my questions for now. Do you have some of your own? If you want me to post them, just ask!

20 comments:

Chelle Sandell said...

I HATED to ask questions and just about peed myself if the teacher directed one at me. LOL. I've never heard of a chapter synopsis unless they want a paragraph summary of each chapter for the entire book. Have you googled chapter synopsis? I know Harlequin usually wants a 2-5 page synopsis breaking down the plot highlights with goals, motivations and resolution. I would assume a chapter summary would be like a blurb?! Email me if you'd like and maybe I can help you with some of your questions. chellesandell @ sbcglobal.net

I do a page break by holding down the ctrl and the enter keys at the same time. Not sure why you can't view certain blogs unless the blog site is having issues. My chapters run about 250 words a page with 15-20 pages per chapter. I don't think it matters as to how many chapters...as long as each scene/chapter moves the plot forward. If you're emailing the document for submission...I THINK all of the requested documents need to be in one attachment. The body of the email is usually like a cover letter. Not sure...I've never emailed a submission. You're welcome to email me if you need help:)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I'm having trouble with explorer too. Must be on their end.

Yes, all one document if sending in an email. If snail mail, don't run the query letter and other info together. Does that make sense?

How many chapters do you have? Most 10 - 12 chapter books have more words, but it all depends on your book. My manuscript has 52 reflections with approximately 1200 words per reflection.

For what it's worth...

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

Good questions. I can't wait to hear the answers!

Kathryn Magendie said...

I have a peed the pants story, too...
1. How do you make page breaks and do I need them in my manuscript to keep the Chapter headings from sliding all over when I edit. Plus, how many spaces go between the Chapter heading and the first line in the chapter?

I do the "control enter" thing - so that makes a hard page break -that way, my chapters stay as a new chapter no matter what edits I do.

2.VERY important. How detailed is a chapter synopsis? I want to submit to Barbour Books and they require that with the query. Has anyone ever done one
before? How should they be set up?

I have never done a chapter synopsis - ever! I'll let someone else answer that one - but I'd think you wouldn't want more than a paragraph or two?

3. What does it mean when Explorer says it can't open a blog site? I so want to visit some of my new followers and can't.

Today I've had all kinds of trouble getting on blog sites - it won't let me in - and knocks me right on out....one of them I tried 3 times and got in - others I couldn't at all - this happens every now and then and I have no idea why!

4. How long are your chapters? I keep mine any where from 1200--2000 words. Can you have as many chapters as you want in a book?

I like short chapters- I may have a longer one interspersed in there, but for the most part, I like my chapters on the sorter side...TG had something like 30 chapters!


5.When a publisher asks for a query letter and the first three chapters and a bio, do you put it all on one document? I had to do that for an agent once and felt so stupid because I had them separate. Is that the usual?

Let's see - I'm trying to remember. If they don't specify - I probably would have the 3 chapters sep from the query and bio, if email - because if it's email, I have the letter and bio in the email body and attach the 3 chapters as a doc - unless they say put it all in the body and no attachments, then it all goes in the body - and etc etcetc But, I don't think you should feel stupid about a thing -- agents and publishers are all different - and some aren't as strict as others - just use your best judgment and let it go.

I'm no help! *laugh*

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I have a question of my own? What happened to all of our Follower widgets??? They've all disappeared.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Krista Phillips said...

1.) I didn't read through the specific other answers, so this might already be answered, but here's mine: Go to insert, then page break. It should skip you over to the next page.

Lines, I've seen lots of different answers, including "about a third down the page" so I don't think there's a right or a wrong. SOmeone, a published author, told me they use six double-spaces the chapter number "Chapter Two" one double space, then start writing.

2.) I've never had to do a chapter synopsis, so I don't know the answer to this. I *think* it's pretty short and sweet "what happens in this chapter" but I'm.... that's a guess!

3.) THANK YOU I'm not the only one! It opens it and while it is downloading pops up an error. Is that what happens? I can barely get on my own site, and about half the blogger sites are fine and the other half error out. HIGHLY irritating!

4.) Chapter lengths vary by author. Some like very short chapters (Trish Perry has many two page chapters in a book I just read and very few were over 4 or so) I like to mix mine up. I have some 10-12 page long chapters, and others are only 2-3. Some of this is style I think.

5.) I'd put them all in one document. Many editors ask for NO attachments anyway. Not sure if this is a right or wrong thing, but seems logical to me.

WOOHOO look at me, Miss question answerer today! *grin* Blessings to ya! Love the blog!

Lin said...

wow I have no questions just lots of amazement at the variety of answers. I just went through trying to follow the rules of submitting some contest entries and it wasn't easy to understand or follow their specific instructions. May need to ask for clarity.

Jessica said...

Oh man, I am SO glad you didn't pee your pants this time! LOL Because your questions have given me answers! (btw, I peed my pants in 7th grade, I have you beat. :-) But not from shyness, just from laughing too hard. heh)

I'm so glad the errors aren't my computer! This whole time I thought they were me. Must be something going on in the blogosphere.
Also, I had no clue how to do separate chapters. I just write and write, then separate my chapters manually when I'm done (and yes, it's such a pain, but I never even thought of writing them separately) I'm going to have to try this.
Never did a chapter synopsis. Good luck!
With fiction, you can have as many chapters as you want. They can be as long as you want. There is no set rule. :-) Mine run ten pages, double-spaced.
Have a great night!

Krista Phillips said...

I think everyone has a "peed their pants" story.

I'd share mine, but I'm still not over the embarrassment. (And I was in the 6th grade at the time... it was a doosy, I'll just say that!)

sarah said...

wow, you know how to grab attention. Loved how you opened this. :} I have a ton of questions. I'm going to a writing conference and need a one sheet and query letter. What's the difference? Can I use the intro from my book proposal as the query? How long does a book have to be to be considered a book? Where do you publish short stories?

As for the blog question, I couldn't get onto my own blog and finally changed from IE to Firefox. Now can do. It seemed to be an internet explorer thing. HOpe that helps.

Love your blog. Love the way you put things. Sarah

Kristen Painter said...

I think you've had answers to most of your questions, so I'll just answer #4.

My chapters are about 7-10 pages long. I don't go by word count or pages, actually, but rather how the action is flowing and where scenes end. I try to always start with something interesting and end on a hook, so that determines where chapters start and stop.

Greg C said...

I don't have a lot of answers to these questions. Lately I have been getting messages that say unable to open requested site but then it lets me anyway. This started after the last blogger update and I assume it has something to do with that. The hardpage is a good idea unless you are going to make changes. If you were to delete say a paragraph then the page comes up short. You would then have to either leave in a short page or go back and take out all the hard page breaks. That is all I know. :)

Michaéle said...

I had the same experience...you just never forget those "wet my pants" stories!

I think your questions are amazingly appropriate and I can't wait to see some of the answers!

I have a question...I have a submission for "Hay House" publishing and they contract through agents only. It seems agents are as hard to obtain as a publishing contract is.


Hugs to you Terri!!!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Terri: My dad always told me, "Never be afraid to ask questions; others may want to know the answers but are afraid to ask. You will be doing them a favor by asking."

These are things I'd like to know myself, so thanks for asking for me!
Jen

Helen Ginger said...

You've already gotten answers, so I won't repeat. But I will say that you asked very good questions. Isn't it great that now we can ask a question at 8 am and have multiple answers by 8:15! (Or whenever) I think that's amazing.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Amy De Trempe said...

These are all questions I have had and am now glad to have the answers. Great blog.

Nancy said...

I love your blog because I have so many questions myself. I need an easy book on blogging. I'm new at this process. I have been writing for a very long time and have had a lot of the same problems as you are running into. Your honest questions help me realize that I am not alone in the fog.

Playwright Chick said...

If you're writing in Word, you can page break by going to INSERT and then page break.

I've never peed my pants - but my sister, a music teacher, refused to let a kid go once and he peed in his pants. My sister was scarred as badly as the kid and felt terrible. She hadn't let him go because they'd just come from a bathroom break!

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sarah said...

can't answer most of these but with explorer...when that happened to me...my server downloaded firefox..and I've never had that problem again. It's something to do with explorer and if you wait long enough it will correct itself but it's a royal pain.
As a parent...I wish teachers were more in tune with even the shy kids...