I've been swimming in a sea of romance novels recently, rarely venturing out of my safe little HEA bubble. It's my own fault: I've been trying to do revisions on my work work (most of which is romance) and needed to submerge myself in the realm of all things heart-eyes. Taking a break from writing, I've been carving out a bent in my TBR pile, many of which are books from Wattpad writers. Some I've hated, others I've felt indifferent, and some draw me in to the point that I just can't get enough.
Clique Bait by Ann Valett falls into the final category.
It is the perfect mix of revenge, the battle between good and evil (high school version) and a little touch of (somewhat expected) romance all blended together into a captivating page turner that I finished in 3 days.
Curious? Here is the blurb (courtesy of GOODREADS):
Chloe Whittaker is out for revenge. Last year her best friend Monica’s life was unceremoniously ruined by the most popular students at their high school, so this year Chloe plans to take each and every one of them down. She traded her jeans and T-shirts for the latest designer clothes, deleted everything on social media that would tie her to Monica (and blow her cover), and carefully devised a way to befriend the members of the popular clique. Now all that’s left to do is uncover their deepest, darkest secrets and reveal them to the world.
Chloe has the perfect plan…that is, until she begins to fall for one of the people she’s determined to destroy.
Chloe is relatable, and determined, but far from perfect. She messes up, walking the delicate tightrope between social royalty and obscurity, all under a veil of blackmail. You go through most of the book wondering exactly what happened to bff Monica, and only find out in the final quarter of the story what drove Chloe towards her mission.
The one thing I didn't get was this: if Monica treated Chloe so badly in those final months, why go to all the trouble to avenge her? Maybe it's me, but if someone shunned me, and chose popularity over years of friendship, I can't say I would risk social expulsion and torment to bring down those I felt wronged her.
But I'll admit it made for an amazing book, filled with situations I am pretty sure many teens now days face. The categories of the social hierarchy was perfectly executed, and gave a visual to the delicate balance of high school.
If you want mystery, vengeance, and twists and turns, this book is for you!
You've done the hardest part. The writing is complete! You are considering what comes next, but before you can jump into the query trenches or submit to publishers, there are some rules to follow regarding formatting.
For some of us, we dont think too much about format when we are drafting. Like I said before, drafts don't have to be pretty. They just have to be written. But if you are considering having industry professionals seeing your work, there are rules you must adhere to.
Formatting is fairly standard for all genres, regardless of fiction or non-ficiton. I would recommend setting up your documents with these settings before you even start writing, so everything falls in to place easier.
Here are a few of the biggest rules:
Use black, 12-point, Times New Roman font ONLY
All authors have their tricks for getting the words on the page. One of the biggest tricks is to write in courier font, to increase productivity. Crazy as it may sound, it really works! You will find yourself flying through the story, the words pouring from our fingers. But when it comes time for professional formatting, TNR is the ONLY way to go.
Use standard page size (8.5x11in), left alignment and margins at 1 inch on all sidesWord automatically defaults to these settings, but if you're someone who likes to write in another processor or on Google Docs, please double check these parameters before sharing the document with professionals.
Single space after periods
This is one that I had to train myself to do. In school we always used 2 spaces after a period, but in publishing it is a no-no. If you've already finished your manuscript and are thinking "OH CRAP!" I've got a fix:
Use your find and replace tool. Find two spaces, replace with one. Voila!
Double line spacing
This is a big help to your agent or editor. You want to make sure they get every opportunity to read your words, so make them easy to view. You will need to change this setting from Words default formatting.
Indent all paragraphs by .5 inches. DONT TAB OR SPACE
This is another MUST, and I've seen editors talk about it online. Indenting starts of paragraphs is a professionalism requirement, but NEVER use your tab key. Use the ruler at the top of your Word doc, and set the indent to .5in.
Use that header
The header can be used to identify yourself and the book, no matter the page the editor is reading. Personally, I put the title and my last name in the header, by the page number. This is a personal preference, of course, to do this at all, but most agents I have found request it.
Number your pages!
Numbers should be at the top of the page, right corner. While most published books have them at the bottom, your manuscript is different. And don't start numbering on your title page (if you have one). Start at the page where your story begins.
Word doc files are key.
Most agents and editors request .doc or .docx files for submissions. It is the main standard when it comes to manuscript submissions, so even if you work in another processor, be sure that you submit according to the agency guidelines.