REVIEW COMMENTS    

“...the Nora Roberts of medicals.”- Author Susan Carlisle

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Two Dianne Drakes under the one cover was an enjoyable treat!
-From Mills & Boon website

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What a sweet romance...I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading more of Ms. Drakes’ work.
- From Coffee Time Romance

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I recently discovered her, and enjoy her tremendously.
- Found on Smart Bitches Trashy Books

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For a medical romance this story has more than enough action and drama to hold anyone’s interest, and the romance is only a small portion of its appeal.
- From Coffee Time Romance

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Facing the Mirror (from I Never Thought I’d see you Again): In Facing the Mirror, by Dianne Despain (Drake), Maggie Holmes learns she has cancer while she is an Emergency Room. The author's writing is direct and poignant. When reading this well written story the reader is one with Maggie Holmes.

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Reviewed on the Mills & Boon website:

Firefighter With A Frozen Heart - An excellent story written with emotional depth and understanding.

Engrossing and probably Mrs Drake's best yet.
- Ten out of ten

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P.S. You’re a Daddy: This is a story of the love for a sister and family. Funny and loving, laughed, cried and waited for the happy ever after. Good read!

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 A Child to Heal Their Hearts: “To be honest a book set in a holiday camp for recovering sick children didn't sound an appealing subject and I'm also not particularly keen when children form a large part of the plot. However Mrs Drake has written so compellingly about this that I was able to forget my prejudices. Reid is an engaging and dedicated hero while enigmatic at first, Keera's emotions were portrayed realistically and sympathetically. There were unexpected turns in the plot and I ended up thoroughly enjoying this book. Nine out of ten"

My most requested article ever...

"HEADERS AND MARGINS AND FONTS, OH MY!"
(AKA Industry Standards)


Dianne Drake
©2002

Once, a long time ago, there were no computers. Imagine that! Whatever came from the creative mind was transferred to paper by an archaic contraption called a typewriter. Of course, the typewriter was a vast improvement over the mighty ink pen, which was infinitely easier to use than the quill. But the big problem concerning the old Olivetti was its limitation in noting all the things writers like to note in their manuscripts. Italics, for example. Many antiquish models didn't offer them. Plus, each typed page was handled as a separate entity - pulled from the stack of paper, aligned in the carriage, and manually margined and headed. The total allowance for differences in any one typewriter-typed manuscript could have run as high as the page count. Not a great situation if you're an editor.

The process way back then was simple. The writer typed the manuscript and sent it to the editor. The editor made changes, sent it back, and so forth. Eventually, when the manuscript reached a form deemed acceptable, it went on to a copy editor who looked for all those tiny misstakes . . . mistakes. Somewhere in the process the book was retyped manually, and from that an honest to goodness book emerged ready to go to market.

Because the process was arduous, the editors and typesetters needed uniformity to make their lives simpler. So Industry Standards were born.

  • Double-spaced to allow the editor room for notations on the manuscript.
  • One-inch margins to allow even more room for notation.
  • White paper, 8½ x 11 ( in some countries using metrics, standard paper size is a bit larger), typically twenty pound for easy handling as well as reading.
  • Wide, spacious font, such as one of the Couriers, again to allow room for editor notation.
  • 12 point font.
  • Twenty-five lines to the page to assume an average word count of two-hundred fifty words per page.
  • Underline the phrases to be typeset in Italics because most typewriters didn't have an Italics function.
  • Headers at the top of the page for easy reference, including author's name, book title and page number. Plus, anywhere from one-half to one inch separating the header and first line. Again, for the space.
  • Indented paragraphs instead of blocked.
  • Title page with title, pen name, author's real name and contact information, plus agent contact information. Title pages have been used traditionally for an editor to convey information to others, such as a copy editor, who work on the manuscript.

With set standards, when an editor told you to create a manuscript using Industry Standards, you knew what to do. Then along came word processors and computers, and the whole thing changed. Because managing a manuscript on a disk was so easy, what was once retyped for publication from the scribbled-upon pages of a copy editor suddenly became a thing of the past (well, almost - a few publishers still go through the manual retyping process). From your disk to their hard drive and voila! A book.

Easy and convenient, new technology made the lives of everybody in the book process easier. So what if you didn't use a Courier font? Hey, if the editor wants it, she'll make that change herself with a flick of the disk. Right? This everything goes philosophy suddenly became fine and dandy, and soon, Industry Standard wasn't stressed because seemingly, it wasn't as important. Writers raised in it stayed the course, but newer writers veered away. Some never even heard the term Industry Standard. Sure, a few of the old Industry Standard basics stuck around - skip the neon pink paper and stick to white. But many of the subtleties disappeared - the handling of Italics, a proper title page, font, spacing. Arguably, much of this may or may not be important to certain editors, and when you're published it's simple to ask, "What do you want?" When you're not published, though, the task is a little more daunting. Is the editor to whom you're submitting okay with the everything goes style, or is she one who prefers, maybe even demands rigid Industry Standards? It's hard to tell, and if you're still knocking on the publishing door trying to get in, the little things you do could make a difference.

So what do you do when you don't know what to do? The answer is simple. Use common sense!

  1. When standards are outlined in a guideline, follow the guideline. (E pubs have different standards so always ask for guidelines!)
  2. When guidelines aren't available, stick close to traditional Industry Standards.
  3. Don't pull out your hair when your page set-up ends up at twenty-four lines, or you can't set the correct margin below your header. Most editors will overlook a couple of little things for a great story.
  4. If you have an editor, ask!

No matter what you do, though, don't ever kid yourself that editors aren't looking at the total picture, because they are. Everything you put on paper speaks to your professionalism as a writer. Bottom line - editors want professional writers.

In music school, aspiring composers are taught rigid structure for harmonies and rhythms. At the end of composition class the instructor sends his students into the world armed with a set of rules that will never leave them, then tells them, as they're walking out the door, "Oh, by the way. Now that you know the rules, you can break them if you want to."

In writing, Industry Standard is the backbone of your presentation. It's not the creativity, but rather the way creativity transfers physically to paper. So does it still matter? Absolutely, unless you're Kurt Vonnegut, who always used a yellow legal pad to write his manuscripts longhand, and turned it in that way. All editors expect some of it, some editors expect most of it and a few expect all of it. And oh, by the way. Now that you know the rules, you can . . .well, you probably can get away with breaking a few, if you want. But do you want to? It's kind of iffy, isn't it? To break or not to break. One thing's for sure, though - no editor will ever hold it against you if you don't!