Mind that space bar: Put your best foot forward

Let’s be honest, no matter what sphere of writing you might be interested int the writing world is extremely competitive. With this in mind, it is important to put your best foot forward, to make a good impression. You want your writing to shine, to stand out from the rest. To do this, you will have it formatted to the standards that are expected by the publisher; however, a lot of writers will get on the bad sides of their copy editors, because they get careless with the space bar.

As a copy editor, I can attest how annoying it is to go through articles removing extra or careless clicks of the space bar. It takes time, and the writer should have taken time to not pass them on to me. Don’t be lazy — make yourself stand out as serious, especially since, thanks to word processors, there are no excuses not to check spacing.

I know there are still typing teachers who say two spaces after each period. They are wrong. Two spaces were used in the old days when typewriters were being used. Why? Typewriters used monospaced fonts. However, with computers, we now have countless fonts, most of which are proportional compared to monospaced. AP, MLA, and The Chicago Manual of Style, the big three, all recommend the use of one space after a period, so save your copy editor the need to go through your manuscript and remove each and every extra space you put after a period.

Other common spacing problems are often oops. An accidental extra space between words. Clicked the space bar before indenting a paragraph. Accidentally hit the space bar before starting a new paragraph. We all make these mistakes; however, to leave them in a manuscript you are submitting is beyond lazy.

Almost all word processing software should have an option to check grammar, which will put a squiggly line under extra spaces between words. If this is not an option, turn on your show formatting marks or hidden characters; it varies depending on program. Spaces will then be marked with little circles.

So take the time, check your work, and get rid of those pesky extra spaces!


Published by smwright

Sarah Wright is the author of The Heritage Lost Series and several other works of speculative fiction. Professionally, she works as a staff writer and editor at a newspaper/magazine company. She enjoys interweaving her love of history into her writing, even in the most fantastic settings.

One thought on “Mind that space bar: Put your best foot forward

  1. I totally agree. Somebody needs to inform those people why it’s wrong. lol. Anyway, it’s definitely a pet peeve of mine as well. Great post! 🙂

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