IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Due to the murder of my family and the resulting court cases, police investigations, and FBI investigations, I no longer have time to daily update this website.

Likewise ALL novel, short story, and article writing projects are on hiatus.

All book releases, book signings, workshops, and convention appearances for 2015 (and unknown amount of time after) are on hold while the murder investigation of my family is ongoing.

Writing advice for the worldbuilding, character creation, and other writing how to articles are on hold.

From now on, the bulk of updates here will be about the investigation into the murder of my family.

No, NOT just THIS author website, not JUST the EelKat pename, not just self published books: ALL 15 (fifteen) of my penames are on hiatus, that includes traditional published books as well, newspaper reporting jobs, editing jobs, my work for Harlequin Romance Novels, my work for Disney... EVERYTHING is on hiatus. Every publishing house I work for, every series I write, every penname I write under: they are ALL on hiatus, ALL projects.

There is NOTHING being published under ANY penname, not for ANY series, not for ANY publisher, from 2015 onward. EVERYTHING is on hold due to the murder of my family. I do not know when or even if, any of the projects will be restarted or finished.

Yes, BOTH the magazines I owned are indefinitely shut down because of this as well, with no plans for either magazine to return. The publishing house I own is also closed to submissions from now on, we will no longer be publishing anything. It is unlikely we will reopen the publishing house either.

All book signing tours, workshops, letures, PAX events, ComicCon events, carnival/festival/state fair/car show events are also canceled. I will not be attending ANY of them. If a venue still has my name listed as a guest/speaker/etc it is because they've not yet removed it. I WILL NOT be there, no matter where it is! 

EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, IS CANCELED!

The ONLY thing continuing from this point on, is THIS website, where I'll post updates on the murder investigation, hopefully every week, but, you know how it is when 10 members of your family are beheaded, it's kind of difficult to have a schedule for anything anymore.







Formatting Manuscripts 



Formatting Manuscripts 

Formatting Manuscripts 

When I was submitting to publishers, I just used standard format of 8.5x11 with .5 margins


However now that I primarily self-publish via Kindle Paperback, I use the template they provide, which is 9x6, with a lot of presets. It's specifically for their printers, so I'm not sure if it's standard to others or not. I just downloaded the ,doc file they gave me and saved it as "book template" then make a copy of it everytime I start a new book.

Just went and checked to see what the KDP template settings were. The one I am using says:

6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)

Inside (Gutter) Margins 0.5” (12.7 mm)

Outside Margins (no bleed) 0.25” (6.4 mm)

Outside Margins (with bleed) 0.375” (9.4 mm)

Font: Garamond 11pt, justified

They have a bunch of templates you can download, with all the standard manuscript formats used for each trim size:

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834230

The template sizes they have listed as available to download a template of are:

5" x 8" (12.7 x 20.32 cm)

5.125" x 8.25" (13 x 20.92 cm)

5.06" x 7.91" (12.85 x19.84 cm)

5.185" x 8.16" (13.15 x 20.44 cm)

5.25" x 8" (13.34 x 20.32 cm)

5.375" x 8.25" (13.64 x 20.92 cm)

5.5" x 8.5" (13.97 x 21.59 cm)

5.626" x 8.75" (14.27 x 22.19 cm)

6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)

6.125" x 9.25" (15.54 x 23.46 cm)

6.14" x 9.21" (15.6 x 23.39 cm)

6.265" x 9.46" (15.9 x 23.99 cm)

6.69" x 9.61" (16.99 x 24.4 cm)

6.815" x 9.86" (17.29 x 25 cm)

7" x 10" (17.78 x 25.4 cm)

7.125" x 10.25" (18.08 x 26 cm)

7.44" x 9.69" (18.9 x 24.61 cm)

7.565" x 9.94" (19.2 x 25.21 cm)

7.5" x 9.25" (19.05 x 23.5 cm)

7.625" x 9.5" (19.35 x 24.1 cm)

8" x 10" (20.32 x 25.4 cm)

8.125" x 10.25" (20.52 x 26 cm)

8.5" x 11" (21.59 x 27.94 cm)

8.625" x 11.25" (21.89 x 28.54 cm)

8.25" x 6" (20.96 x 15.24 cm)

8.375" x 6.25" (21.26 x 15.84 cm)

8.25" x 8.25" (20.96 x 20.96 cm)

8.375" x 8.5" (21.26 x 21.56 cm)

8.27" x 11.69" (21 x 29.7 cm)

8.395" x 11.94" (21.3 x 30.3 cm)

8.5" x 8.5" (21.59 x 21.59 cm)

8.625" x 8.75" (21.89 x 22.19 cm)

Courier and TNR are both not recommended for print as they are now considered fonts for web screens and don't print well.

Times New Roman is actually considered one of the worst fonts to use because it is hard on the eyes in print. Most publishers say in their submission guidelines, to specifically NOT use either Times New Roman or Courier or Comic Sans, as they are the "most amature" fonts. Palatino Linotype is the one most publishers recommend.

Standard fonts publishers use are

90% of the paperback books you buy in stores use: Palatino Linotype

Any not using Palatino Linotype are usually using one of these:

Garamond

Georgia

Book Antiqua

Hoefler Text

Caslon

Sabon

Tahoma

Verdana

Goudy Old Style

Bookman

Baskerville

As for what I use, it is always stated in the copyright pages of the books, because this is what ALL professionally trade published books do, you should open a few books and read the copyright pages once in a while. You might find it rather illuminating.

#1 way to tell a trade pubbed book from a self pubbed book is the info, or lack thereof, found on the copyright pages.

Here's the copyright page from volume 1 of the Quaraun series:

Text copyright EelKat Wendy C. Allen 1997 – 2014

The Twighlight Manor Universe, EelKat, and all related characters and elements are copyrighted to The Twighlight Manor Press & Wendy C. Allen. All rights reserved.

Published by The Twighlight Manor Press


Paperback edition ISBN: 9781521030844


Volume 1 or 3 of a continuing 130 part serial is a Novel 95,002 words (305 pages) long.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher and author.


Volume 1 of the series (or Volume 3 depending on how you look at it), this is the story which introduces both Quaraun The Insane and his unnamed Phookan Fae lover, known only as "The Unicorn."



THE NIGHT OF THE SCREAMING UNICORN: After a tiring week of battling monsters, Quaraun is tired, hungry, wounded, and looking for a place to sleep, before both darkness and an oncoming storm arrive. Led on by a map with a mind of its own, Quaraun The Insane finds himself lost in a forest, standing before a tavern named "The Screaming Unicorn." Too tired to think about checking for traps, the wizard walks through a portal to the Realm of Fae, where he encounters an Elf-eating Phooka, who is more psychotic than he is.



TYPE: Novel

WORD COUNT: 131,110 words

FONT: Garamond 10pt

PAGE COUNT: 307 printed paperback pages according to LibreOffice

POINT OF VIEW: third person limited; Quaraun's point of view

HAPPY EVER AFTER? no, this volume does NOT have a happy ending; character death ending 

CLIFFHANGER ENDING: Yes. Sort of. Almost. This volume ends with a sort of “To Be Continued...” that doesn't actually continue. All the Quaraun books have open interpretation style endings.

CONTINUING SERIAL? Yes; this is volume 8 of 130, but the stories can be read in any order and do not continue, each stands on it's own as a complete story (beginning/middle/end)

INTERRACIAL COUPLES? Yes; a white skinned cross-dressing male Elf and his black skinned male Asian Phooka lover

LOCATION: The Forest of No Return (real name Reclaim Blueberry Plaines, Ross Forest, Old Orchard Beach, Maine

YEAR: 1400s maybe, could be 1800s, you never know with Quaraun

GENRE: Dark Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery > Bizzarro > Literary>Absurdist 

LANGUAGE: Crude> Very, BoomFuzzy’s from Biddeford, Maine, if you’ve ever been to Biddeford, Maine, well, you know what to expect


LITERARY FICTION WARNING: This entire series is Slice of Life Vignette Literary Fiction, meaning there's a lot of dialogue, a lot of talking, a lot of thinking, a lot of monologue, and a lot of emotional introspective, but not much action going on in this heavily character driven series. Each story is a narrow focused look at a single event (often a single day or hour) in Quaraun's life.


PRONUNCIATION GUIDE:


Quaraun: Quay-Rownn A name I made up, for one of my player characters while playing RPG games. Pronounced like in Quaking Quaker, named Que-Que in an Earthquake rescued by a RoNin in a row-boat made of Rowan wood. Merrily they sail away as Que-Que the quaking Quaker sings Row, Row, Row your boat. Quaraun = Quay-Rownn. Quaraun is a cross-dressing albino Elf.


Phooka: Foo-KA, Like phooey foo-fighters and kakapo birds. A Phooka, pronounced with a soft “f” and spelt with a “ph” is an evil blood thirsty type of Faerie, related to a Kelpie, and is a type of Unicorn, not to be confused with Pooka (poo-ka – pronounced with a hard “P” like Winnie the Pooh Bear and spelt with no “h”) also not to be confused with invisible rabbits named Harvey. This is not a race I invented or created. Phookas are a little known but powerful shape shifter race of water horses and among the most feared of all races of Welsh and Scottish Fae, said to be feared even by RedCaps.


Thullid: th-ooo-LID, like you was thinking of thick goo on a lid. th-ooo-LID. Thullid. A race I created specifically for this series. A Lovecraftian creature, similar to a humanoid version of Cthulhu; basically a pink or purple or sometimes green skinned squid/octopus/jellyfish headed humanoid alien type thing, with lots and lots and lots of tentacles wriggling all over the place.


I hope you will enjoy reading these stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them for you.


~Many hugs & kisses From EelKat


NOTE ABOUT THE NUMBERING OF THE VOLUMES:(Several readers have asked, what order to read the books in. The answer is whatever order you want to. The series was never numbered, prior to it's Kindle re-release. From 2007 til 2014, no volume ever had a number. Amazon Kindle requires that the volumes have “volume numbers” if they are part of a series, thus why the Kindle editions ONLY have numbers. The series jumps all over the place looking at all points of time in Quaraun's life. Quaraun has lost his memory and is trying to piece together the events of his life that brought him to become person he eventual became. The series is thus, the Elf looking back at various points of his life, never in any sort of order, and his memories are not always matching events accurately. Events are seen as Quaraun remembers them, which may or may not be how they actually happened, thus resulting in any story can be read in any order, without the need for any other story before or after it. Each story in this set stands on it's own, not actually connected to any other. It was not written in any chronological order, nor was it intended to be read in order straight through his life. ~EK)


NOTE: The “narrator” of the series, all 130+ volumes, is an elderly 750 year old Quaraun, a patient of a mental institute, telling a psychiatrist his life. 

Quaraun IS in fact clinically insane and is an unreliable narrator. 

In every volume, not just this one, do not believe everything the narrator of this series tells you. 

Never trust anything Quaraun says. If you pay attention, you'll notice he contradicts himself often.

Know that Unicorn often changes his version of the truth to match Quaraun's, even if he knows Quaraun is remembering events wrong. 

If you need to pick a character to believe – pick GhoulSpawn/Gremlin – he always tells the truth...GhoulSpawn, however is not in this volume.



Okay... so... today is June 18, 2021, this page hasn't been updated in nearly a decade, and so here is an update.

I still do the stuff above, unchanged after all these years, this is just more info on the topic of formatting, specifically, it is dealing with how I format my chapters in my drafts.


Should i worry about chapter length in the first draft? 


>>>Should i worry about chapter length in the first draft? I am working on a fantasy novel right now, and i want to make the word count exceed at least 110k when i finish the first draft, but I’m noticing my chapters are short, and the longest chapter i have so far is only 3k words. Should i worry about this now, or try to add more filler details later in the second draft?

First off, I know this is Reddit, but that's no excuse for not having enough self respect to at least TRY to use even a little bit of grammar skills. Please. Consider trying to correct your grammar as much as possible before posting ANYTHING online, especially if you are looking to get published. Publishers DO look online to see what your posting history is. They like to deal with people who can act like professionals in public.

A typo here and there is one thing, but, your lack of use of grammar is a bit concerning, when you are posting on a forum for writers and asking professional career published authors for advice.

Published authors do tend to be quite an arrogant lot, sad to say, and about 90% of the published career authors here on this subReddit ARE quick to brag that they won't give the time of day to any "newb" who doesn't have enough self respect to use proper grammar when asking for help. They are often quick to brag that if you can't at least take the first steps to learning your craft, than why should they bother wasting their time on you.

I feel that your question would have received far more answers, had you made at least a little bit of a smidging of an attempt to try to use some level of basic grammar.

You'll get more answers from pro-writers on the career of writing, when you present yourself as viable competition and not a someone who doesn't take the craft seriously.

I'm looking at the snarky spit fire comments and the utter lack of any helpful advice in the comments of your question here and I am reminded of how dismayed I am to be part of a career that prides itself on it's prim and roper arrogance and ability to squash competitors simply by snubbing their nose at you and refusing to give you a civil answer.

You'll have to excuse the pretentious self righteous jackasses who couldn't be bothered to do anything other than post snark at you, but I'm telling you why they did it so that in the future, you can post questions and get actual answers.

Had your question not been a jumbled mess, riddled with endless grammar errors, they would have answered you with a plethora of how and why they make chapters like they do. But they just posted snark at you instead because, well, did you even pre-read what you wrote before you posted it?

Read your question again and, see if you can't edit out a dozen or so of the grammar errors.

And if you can't see the grammar errors... uhm ... find a REALLY good, PROFESSIONAL copy editor for your manuscript, because you kind of need one.

Anyways, let's answer your question, seeing how no one else can be bothered to act civil tonight.

>>>Should i worry about chapter length in the first draft? I am working on a fantasy novel right now, and i want to make the word count exceed at least 110k when i finish the first draft, but I’m noticing my chapters are short, and the longest chapter i have so far is only 3k words. Should i worry about this now, or try to add more filler details later in the second draft?

>>>Should i worry about chapter length in the first draft?

Everyone has their own method that works best for them, so if it's bothering you enough to cause you to have trouble getting the 1st draft written, than maybe you should think about chapter lengths during the first draft, just so you can move passed that worry and get back to writing?

Personally, I don't worry about chapters at all. As in, I just write the first draft, straight through and there are no chapter breaks at all. The whole thing is just one big long text, with no divider points aka no chapters.

Probably not a conventional way of writing. I know a lot of writers I've talked to in local offline writing groups, find my method a little strange, and most of them say they like to write each chapter as a completely separate doc file within in the novel's folder (on their computer). 

And years ago, I used to do that, but, I started fussing over the chapters too much and just slowed me down and interrupted my work flow. So I just started writing the entire 1st draft all in one big file and completely avoided even considering where chapter breaks should go.

Because I publish in the Epic Length Fantasy genre, my end goal is 120k to 130k for my novels. (I aim at an 80k end goal for my Harlequin Romances, and a 70k end goal for my Horror and Sci-Fi, so there's quiet a big difference in word counts depending on what market my goal is for; but most of my work is for a single long running Epic Length Fantasy series, and everything else is just one off random stuff I do only rarely, so, for my answer here, I'm focusing on the Fantasy lengths not the other genres) 

Usually my 1st draft will end around 50k to 70k, which is not close to the end goal. But that's fine, because during the 2nd draft, I will expand scenes, add scenes, delete scenes, move scenes, rewrite scenes, change character motives, add characters, remove characters, ask myself questions like: "Well, what would happen if Character A did this and Character B said that and Character C went there instead of here...?"

So for me, a LOT gets added in the 2nd draft, usually doubling the word count, and it's during that phase that I start thinking about where chapters should be and writing the "chapter end cliff hangers" and "chapter scene transitions" and stuff like that.

The 1st draft, that is just me getting the entire story idea out on paper in as much detail as possible. Kind of like if I was sitting around a campfire and telling a story to the gang, so it's just full on stream of consciousness without worrying about chapters and scenes and such. 

I like to get everything out on the page, during the first draft, and than worry about the details in the 2nd and 3rd drafts. I usually don't even start thinking about formatting (page breaks, chapter breaks) until after I've fully edited and polished the story a few times, so chapters usually don't show up in my drafts until the 4th or 5th drafts.

>>>but I’m noticing my chapters are short, and the longest chapter i have so far is only 3k words. 

As for how long each chapter is... I have no idea. I've never done a chapter by chapter word count. I have no clue how long my chapters in my published novels are. I know some chapters are long, spanning 50+ pages and other chapters are short only 2 or 3 pages, and most seem to be around 10 or 12 pages, but, I've never checked chapter by chapter word counts, so who knows how many words are in each chapter. As long as the total end word count meets with publisher requests, I don't think it matters how long or short each chapter is.

I just write each chapter until that section ends. I don't add more words just for the sake of adding words. I don't delete scenes just for the sake of reducing words. I let each chapter stand on it's own, as it's own "mini-story" with beginning-middle-and-end within the bigger story as a whole and let it end as long or as short as it needs to be to say what it is that it needs to say. That's how I do it at least.

Others may do it different. But again, it's all good. We each work differently, and it's going to be different with each genre, and with each publisher as well.

Just try different methods and figure out which works best for you. That's all any of us really can do. Trial and error until we find the best fit to match our personal writing style.

>>>>>i want to make the word count exceed at least 110k

>>>Out of curiosity, why? That's a 440 page book. And you want more?


My guess is they want to trade publish through some big house like TOR or something, where the MINIMUM required word count for Fantasy is 120k and preferred is 180k, and up to 230k is welcomed.

Pretty standard actually. Most big house publishers won't even look at Fantasy under 120k and will only go that low in word count if they've published you before.

While self-pubbed Fantasy has small word counts, big mass market pubs still want 150k to 180k mega bricks, so if the OP is aiming for one of those types of publishers, than yeah, 110k ain't gonna cut it. They need a lot more.


So, I was over on Reddit, you like I often am, and found this question. And answered it, like I do. However, the answer I initially gave was a simple generic answer. If you want to read my original answer unaltered, simply click on Reddit's embed feature links which Reddit provides for webmasters to be able to post their answers on their websites, while linking back to the original thread on Reddit (if you didn't know Reddit offered and encouraged the use of this feature, look for it in the "share" features underneath every post, comment, and reply on Reddit).

I am answering random questions today about world building, over on Reddit and decided to take my answers from there and expand upon them even further over here. So that's what this page is. Me rambling on about various aspects of world building techniques I use when writing the Quaraun series. The questions I am answering are embedded here. Clicking the link in the embedded question will take you to the original Reddit page where you can see the original answer along with other people's answers. If you wish to comment, you can do so on the Reddit page where a place to do so is provided.

In any case, as with all of my Reddit answers found on my site here, my original post on Reddit is much shorter then the article here.


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