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Editing Tips - Presenting Your Work

© 1999 by Mary Embree

The first impression should be first class. Often the over-all appearance of your written presentation will determine whether or not your work will even be read. The more professional-looking your work is, the more seriously it will be considered. Here are some pointers:

  1. Always send fresh copies of your work. Do not send copies that have been returned to you if they have been damaged or look shopworn. No one wants to think that he/she was not important enough to warrant a good copy.
  2. Margins should be at least one-inch on all sides. Narrow margins make it look like you tried to cram a lot of information into a small space. Framed with wider margins, the page itself is more aesthethically appealing.
  3. Format your presentation appropriately. Use the style prevailing in the field for which you are presenting it. For instance, query letters and synopses of a book should be single-spaced. A treatment (which is like a synopsis only longer) for television or film should be double-spaced. Manuscripts should be double-spaced. Research script styles, as they vary widely depending upon whether they are for a theatrical film, a TV movie-of-the-week, a TV series, a stage play or some other genre.
  4. The print should be sharp and dark enough to read easily. If you can, avoid using a typewriter or dot matrix printer. Use an inkjet or laser printer. The font or typeface should be easy to read. Times New Roman or some variation of it is usually best. And it should be in 12 point; nothing smaller.
  5. Edit mercilessly. There should be no typos, misspellings, grammatical errors, misplaced punctuation or overly long sentences or paragraphs.
  6. Once you’ve prepared your presentation, set it aside. Don’t send it out the day you write it. Look it over carefully again a day or two later to make sure that it is as professional-looking as you can make it.

~ Mary Embree, SPAWN's Founder, is a writer, editor, and publishing consultant. Mary can be reached at



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