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QUESTION: Hello Cathy.
I really just would like to meet you. You and Vincent Wales seem to have been trading the #1 Writing Books ranking here(at least since I joined). I am Jefferson Bales - tutorjb1. I was delighted to discover your answer on Formatting Manuscripts and subsequently the absolutewrite Web site. Did you contribute everything that's there? I have an old(1980s)WD  _Guide to Manuscript Formats_ book that is very detailed, but of course, has zero Info. about formatting with computers. Do you know if WD has a new edition that does? I'd also be interested in a Win7 and esp. a Word7 For Dummies-type_ book(s). I'm working on a novel and typing the first drafts of each chapter in separate Word7 Docs to make it easier to write transitions during the first rewrite In one of the later chapters, when I type apostrophes in contractions the t (for instance) is being thrown back an extra space. If you know what might be causing that, I'd very much like to hear your opinion. I had a _Win98 For Dummies_ book, but can't find anything like it for Win7 or Word7. Don't work too hard on this, but I would appreciate a clickable link to the absolutewrite site since I'm even having trouble with bookmarks in Win7. I would be honored to have you as a member of my group at I've been sending Larry Block's Newsletters there for some time. You might be interested to know that all his work in all forms is on sale and nearly all of it is autographed. More Info. is in his newsletters among the Messages in my Bookdoctors group and at LB's blog at Do you know the very kind and capable editor, Elizabeth Lyon? I'll leave it to you whether or not to make this "question" private. I'm very happy to discover a writer as knowledgeable as you here and sorry not to have said Hello sooner.

If you write, your time will come
When the sun will shine and the crops will grow
You'll think you don't need to worry no mo,
If you write, your day will come.
Jefferson Bales - tutorjb1

ANSWER: Hi, Jefferson!

Sorry for the delay in responding. I moved to a new Windows 7 computer and couldn't get into my Yahoo account for some reason, which is where my notifications for questions go.

Glad my answers over at AbsoluteWrite have been of use to you. While I did create a number of articles over there, it's a really HUGE site, so no--I didn't contribute everything. There's a lot of very talented writers over there with great information, so look around. You'll find a little of everything. Here's a link, but it might be if you also have Win7, you might have to get rid of IE9 and go with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. I had to move to Chrome in order to manage clickable links. Driving me nuts!

As to your second question, yes--there is a new version of the Writers Digest manuscript guide. Here's a link to it:

As for Word7 and the apostrophes, it might be you have the "auto-correct-as-you-go" feature on. That replaces things you type with other things you didn't intend. If you go to the File link and pick "Options" and then go to "Proofing" there's an Auto Correct button where you can pick and choose what the software does and doesn't change. If it is set to change quotes to "smart quotes", that's your problem. Uncheck that box and it should fix it.

Hope that helps, and good luck!


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you, Cathy. I can't find the File link and therefore Options and auto-correct  remain hidden. Where do I look under the tabs across the top of Word7 Docs that start with "Home?"

Also,I have a disability that sitting at my desk reading or typing anywhere aggravates. I would very much appreciate your telling me where to find a print version of the style manual you told me about so I can read it anywhere and refer to it during the times I am able to work at my computer.
It's wonderful to finally "meet" you.
tutorjb1 - JB

Hi, Jefferson!

You should be able to get a copy of the Writer's Digest manual at any bookstore, or it can be ordered and shipped through any online retailer, like Amazon or B&

In Word 7, if you look to the LEFT of "Home" there should be a "File" tab. At the bottom of the list is "Options."

If there's only a "Home" tab, then you might look under the "Help" tab or the "Tools" tab. Hope that helps!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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