One Space or Two

camidon's picture

Our web site states:

"Text should be on one side of the paper only. On word processors, left justify text. Double-space between lines of text. Indent paragraphs, but do not leave an extra space between them. Leave two spaces (not one) between sentences. Do not use italics; Underline text that should be italicized. Use two hyphens (--) to represent a dash, and space out ellipses ( . . . not ...)."

This is, by all means, the old publishing industry standard (as much as one has ever existed). However, this standard was really set before the advent of the computer word processing rennaissance. As the old publishers and editors die or retire, a new younger generation is replacing them.

How much of this has changed? I ask because SCBWI-MI (The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Michigan chapter) has had multiple discussions on just one of these "standards": Do you put one space or two spaces between sentences? The old "standard" and our web site states "two spaces (not one) between sentences. Michigan members of SCBWI adamantly assert one space (not two) is correct.

Admittedly, I am no longer as aware of the speculative fiction markets and standards as I once was, having recently snuggled into the children's market. However, I doubt that the two markets really have different standards.

Does anyone have any thoughts or recent editor input from the speculative market side of things on this "space" issue?

It seems like a simple $*@$! question. One space or two? One lump or two? I feel that I've invited you all over for aftenoon tea.

In my view, you always have to check with the agent/editor/magazine/publishing house first. If they have a preference, follow it. If they don't, use the standard.