I love getting questions! The question HOW DO I FORMAT MY MANUSCRIPT for editors/publishers is one I’ve been asked more than once. Of course, this is my first publishing deal and I know that every editor/publisher/agent will have different requirements, but there is a basic standard that helped me make the conversion process simple and it’s easy to search for.
- 1. Set your font to New Times Roman and size 12
- Set one inch margins all the way around
- Set paragraphs to double space (with no extra space in-between paragraphs)
- Do not use all caps for emphasizing (the writing should set the tone)
- Do not use a bunch of returns for a new chapter to start on a new page. Return twice, title your chapter center, return twice and begin the next chapter.
- For scene shifts, center XXXXX on a line by itself, with a space before and space after
- Internal direct thoughts should be in Italics, but don’t over use it.
I suggest keeping your chapters in separate files when you first start writing. It makes it easier to go back and edit work or add to chapters. In the end, editor/publishers/agents will want this all in one file, but we have a lot more work to do before we get to that stage. Strolling through a 1000 page document is not fun and left me frustrated. I found separate chapters (and keeping all my drafts) was the best way to go.
Now, I hope I’ve given some of you a jumping off point and we can all get some writing done. It’s time to line the shelves with must reads and tales forgotten with new twists and turns. We write because we must. We write to unleash our souls. We write because writing is our purpose.
Happy Writing…keep the questions coming.
Shelly Goodman Wright
Author of A LIGHT INTO THE DARKNESS a Christian Suspense/Romance novel—FEB 2012