It’s been a while since I’ve updated my own standard manuscript file, so I took some time this morning to do that. Most of this week’s post, then, will be found as downloads from Athans & Associates Creative Consulting.
But first, here’s a handy guide for some basic formatting stuff:
Always only ever use 12-point Times New Roman.
Formatting, in Word, is actually pretty easy. If you’re using a PC (I’m a Mac guy) the interface might be a little different, but the basic settings are under:
Special: First line by: 0.5”
Line Spacing: Double
Then click on: Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style
…and you’re 90% of the way there.
click on: Automatically correct spelling and formatting while you type.
Under AutoCorrect, Math AutoCorrect, and AutoText, uncheck all other boxes.
Under AutoFormat As You Type, check only: “straight quotes” with “smart quotes” and Hyphens (–) with em dash (—).
Then set your headers:
First, under Format/Document
Go to: Layout
Click on Different first page
The default margins should be 0.5”—leave those as is.
There should be no header on the first page and no footer on any pages.
For page 2 and beyond, set the header flush right to look like this:
Your Name/“Title of Story”/page number
Your Name/Title of Novel/page number
The header can be in 11-point Times New Roman.
But there’s more, which I’ve presented in three handy formats.
Of course, write in any format or lack thereof that pleases you, but when you’re ready to get this ready to send to an editor, agent, or any other reader, make these easy but essential formatting changes!