Well, okay, that might be a little dramatic. Here’s what happened.
I have been using Open Office for a while. I have a soft spot for open source software — a lot of it is pretty good, and various friends and even one Professional Writer had said that it worked great for them, had all the features they needed, etc. I created my manuscripts, formatted them in 12-pt Courier double-spaced page-numbered and properly headered goodness, and then sent them off into the wilds, to editors.
Yesterday I got a very speedy rejection from one of them. No problem, thought I, on to the next market! I pulled up the submission guidelines for the next in the list, and double-clicked the manuscript .rtf file to format it for the new editor. It opened in Wordpad, instead of Open Office.
Oh. Em. Effing. Gee.
Spaces where there were none, specifically after every closed-quote. Some paragraphs were double-spaced, some were single-spaced, some were 1.5-spaced. An entire chunk of the document was in all caps. How does that even HAPPEN? The title was centered, but the by-line was left-justified. It was a mess. Any editor opening that would have to think to herself, “learn to format a manuscript, kid,” and send an instant rejection.
This is probably also the case with the second story that’s out for submission right now. I’ve been too afraid to look.
It was so bad that rather than trying to strip formatting and fix it, I decided the only way to be safe was to re-type the whole damn thing in Word. So that’s what I’m spending my day doing. Fortunately I type fast.
It was a surprising and very unwelcome speed bump. There was a part of me that wanted to curl up and just ignore it for a while, put those stories on mothballs so I don’t have to feel the embarrassment of seeing what that editor saw. But that’s not how we’re doing things anymore, is it?
So here I sit, hammering out words (and tightening a little bit since I am taking a full pass at it again, may as well, right?) Another hour and I should have this out to the next market. Then I’ll look at the other one and probably start retyping that one as well. Not sure what to do about the existing submission. Sigh.
I need to get this out of the way so I can get back to Devotions. Must keep moving forward. In the immortal words of Ian Faith, “It’s just a problem. It gets solved.”