Portion of a Macintosh keyboard. The Shift key has been replaced with a "Magic" key.

3 Easy E-Tricks for Writers, and 1 for Fun

Almost every writer I know has a love-hate relationship with their writing program, whether it’s Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Scrivener, or a yellow legal pad. It’s clear there’s no single perfect choice for drafting, editing, and formatting your work for publication.

A typewriter with a bright-red ribbon. The word "Proofreading" is centered on an otherwise blank page.

PDF Proofreading Markup

Copyeditors typically work in a word-processed manuscript, making and suggesting changes directly in the document. Proofreaders come in at a later stage, after the manuscript has been converted and formatted for publication in a program like Adobe InDesign.

Table of contents on the right-hand (recto) page in a book

Does Your Novel Need a Table of Contents?

From our own reading, most of us know that some paperback and hardcover novels have a table of contents page in the front and some don’t. Lurking online, I perceive a widespread notion that tables of contents are old-fashioned and pointless for fiction.

Close up of hands shuffling a deck of cards

How to Reorganize Book Chapters with a Click

One of my favorite MS Word tricks allows a novelist (or any book writer) to view and organize their chapters in the Navigation pane (an option under the View tab). Using this feature, I can see all my chapter titles at a glance, and I can go instantly to the one I want by clicking on its title.

Navigating Spaces in Manuscripts and Beyond

To a copyeditor working on a manuscript, a space is usually just a space, and line breaks are random, fluid occurrences that vary as text is added and deleted and moved around. Designers and typesetters will take the edited text and make it pretty for publication, in part by applying different types of spaces as needed to prevent unwanted breaks.