Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hi everyone. I'm Cheryl Norman's Guest Blogger today and thought I'd re-post my blogpost from there, to here, today. (was that as confusing reading it as it was writing it?)
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Do You One-Space or Two-Space?

Okay, so when did this thing about two spaces after the period end? I mean, I’ve been typing two spaces after every period since pounding away on the old Smith Corona back in high school. That was a long time ago. And this old dog doesn’t easily take to new tricks.

New tricks, indeed.

Now, in all truthfulness, I’ve known about the one-space-after-the-period-rule at our office for a while now. It is our “house style” if you will. But that doesn’t make it any easier to convert my brain to the one, or two space, rulings considering whichever desk chair my butt happens to be sitting in at the time – at my office or at my home.

This should not be so difficult. But it is.

I’ve been writing so much fiction in the evenings and on weekend these days, that my two-spaces-after-the-period rule for my fiction writing is bleeding over into my one-space-after-the-period rule in my work writing. Egads! My fingers are not trained to consider when and where and why, fiction vs. non-fiction, love scene vs. research-based academic text.

What is a writer girl to do?

My friend Jan, technical writer extraordinaire, suggested the Find and Replace option. I suppose that could work. My home computer gives me a green wavy line if I leave one space. (Yay! This is a great help) One click and it is corrected. My office computer doesn’t do that. I can type one or two spaces and no green wavy line appears. Why is it that one computer knows me and the other doesn’t? Can’t they all just read my mind? Like, aren’t they supposed to do that?

Probably because I am totally confusing the office computer by mixing up my one- and two-space rules. It is abso-rule-diculous.

House style, my co-worker reminded me as we were editing a document yesterday. I’m on the computer making corrections while she is verbally editing what I’ve written. (yes, under deadline at work, too)

“One space after the colon,” she said.

“What? When did that happen?”

“House style.”

“Excuse me? There has always been two spaces after a colon.”

“Not anymore. House style. One.”

Ugh. What next? Punctuation outside of a quote? (I hear they do that in other countries) Acceptable use of multiple exclamation points!!!!!!! (big pet peeve)

Okay, in reality, I know the reason for this one-space-after-the-period thing. It has to do with computers and justification and not using typewriters and typesetting any longer but I tell you…it is not easy to learn these new tricks! Or am I just way behind the times?

So I ask you, fellow writers, when you are writing, what do you do? Do you two-space or one-space and pray tell, does it really matter as long as we are consistent?

Inquiring minds want to know.

maddie

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