Presenting your written work for critique

By Ron Pavellas

When you present your writing in a format which is easily read, it is not only considerate of your colleagues, it increases the chance that your work will receive its best attention.

So, how to present one’s work? Consider these subjects:

Font design
Font size
Line spacing
Margins
Pagination

Font design
Function is more important than form here. Pretty fonts may not please everyone. It has been shown that, in general, fonts with serifs are more quickly recognized and understood. I am most comfortable with Times New Roman and Garamond. Your group should agree upon what font design is preferable. Your group might want also to consider Courier New as your preferred font. It sometimes is requested by agents and publishers.

Font size
Twelve point is most easily read. If your group thinks 12-point seems too large for Times New Roman, try Garamond at 12-point. Of course, there are many other choices. These two are offered as a starting point.

Line spacing
I recommend “1.5 lines.”

Margins
I recommend a minimum of one inch at all four edges. Your group might want to exceed this for one or more of the edges.

Pagination
Much time will be lost during a discussion if the number of the page is in question, or pages are not physically connected. I recommend bottom right placement, where the eye most quickly lands after reading a full page.