I have searched the internet for guidance in preparing a manuscript for submission to a publisher. Here are a couple sites that I have found useful:
- Editors Blog
- Daily Writing Tips
- 5 Best Free Writing Tools For Authors More on this later.
- Scrivner A complete 'development system' for manuscripts.
- Example manuscript I actually started with this one.
- StyleWriter. This looks pretty neat. Do I need it? Do I want it?
So after importing the first few chapters, everything was just a mess. I threw up my hands (but not the computer) and looked once again to Google. I found reference to a program named Scrivener and downloaded a trial version. After running through a quick tutorial, I started importing.
This works pretty well, I thought, except I still needed to remove all the blank lines that I had added in the blog to separate paragraphs. Manuscript format requires indents for the beginning of paragraphs and no blank lines. Scribener will take care of all this formatting if the text is clear of formatting. But Scrivener doesn't allow global search and replace on individual chapters. So again I turn to MS Word to reformat each chapter before importing into Scrivener. Word has a nice search and replace for global sorts of things so this step doesn't slow down the process very much.
After an afternoon's work I had all 33 chapters imported into Scrivener. After doing this it occurred to me that in the process of getting MS Word to reformat these chapters, I managed to figure out what was frustrating me in the first place. Namely that I was trying to work in 'print layout' view and not in 'draft' view. Duh. But now that I have the whole thing imported into Scrivener, I will work there until the trial period ends. At that point I will probably export the whole thing into Word format and go from there. We'll see.
Now that I have a 'first draft' in the 'proper' form I will be able to look at it as a whole. I can then tackle the task of editing the content while paying attention to the overall organization and flow. I think there is a story in there somewhere but I suspect it is buried under a lot of fluff. Scrivener reports that the story currently has 227 pages and 44,000 words. I have a feeling that the story is about half told so this sounds like reasonable progress.
The weather forecast calls for more of the same so I can expect to have time this winter for both writing and editing. I prefer the former.