Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Great Debate...

Oh yeah…it is of vital importance: whether to put one space or two after a period. You laugh…you think I am joking. But alas…I am not. On no less than three writing loops today, there was massive discussion on whether to use one period or two after a period that ends a sentence. Post after post after post bemoaning the fact they are from the old school where two spaces ruled. Must they change their ways? And the most daunting question of all: how can they possibly go through a 400-page masterpiece and remove all those extra spaces?

On my! The trials of being a writer.

Now tell me…can you truly, really tell in most instances how many spaces are after a period? Does anybody really think a prospective agent or editor is going to throw down a manuscript in disgust and exclaim: “Horrors! This piece of drivel has two spaces after every period!”? I really doubt it. They are probably much more likely to roll their eyes at the 15,000 misplaced commas than worry about how many spaces are between the end of one sentence and the start of the next.

At every roundtable discussion I’ve attended, someone always asks the editor or agent speaking: “What are you looking for?” Never once has the reply been: “Oh, I’d love to see just one space between sentences. That is what excites me! That is what makes me think that perhaps I’ve found the next bestseller.” Give me a break! (as my friend, Jon Stossel (in my dreams I wish I knew him…he is so stinkin’ cute…but I digress) would say…) The usual answer is… drum roll please… “A good story.” Periods be damned…never ever hinted at as being an important consideration.

And yet we seem to forget that the story is what is important, and instead get hung up on period spacing, what font to use, how many rubber bands, if any, to use when binding the manuscript together for mailing. You know, the important things. Forget about a good plot, lots of conflict and tension, characters that shine. Let’s worry about the vital stuff…

And yes… I put two spaces after periods even though I have technical writing training which demands that only one space is proper…. So there! Do you suppose that is why I’m not published yet…

Side Note here: The roof is fixed! The roof is fixed! The roof is fixed! And…there was no sign of termite habitation, infestation, or damage! Woo Hoo! Now that, folks, is news worth shouting about! Now on to getting the ceiling repaired…

5 comments:

Too cute! Too cute! At first, when it turned out we were both sorta addressing the same issue today, I thought maybe I should wait to post mine...but then I remembered, we're two different writers! Two different VOICES! Our posts will be different...and so they are!

Yeah...except yours isn't up there yet!! I can't wait to see yours!

And it is really cool how two people can take the same topic and put a totally different spin on it... I often wonder how two people can write together on the same book...I think that would be incredibly difficult.

I would love trying to write a book with someone. Especially a romance where one did the guy and the other did the girl. I've tried to get someone to write with Jen's point of view (she's the girl lead in my trilogy) but haven't been successful.

Going on nine days. The last blog was very good, but is still last week's news. What kind of trouble have you gotten into this week?

One space after a coma, colon or semi-colon, and two spaces after a period. Ah, English class was so fun.