BASIC MANUSCRIPT FORMAT

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:

 

Format

Paragraph

Set General:

Alignment: Left

 

Set Indentation:

Left: 0”

Right: 0”

Special: First line by: 0.5”

 

Set Spacing:

Before: 0”

After: 0”

Line Spacing: Double

 

Then click on: Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style

…and you’re 90% of the way there.

 

Then, under

Preferences…

Choose: AutoCorrect

click on: Automatically correct spelling and formatting while you type.

But…

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

OR

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.

Click here for .docx

Click here for .doc

Click here for .pdf

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!

 

—Philip Athans

 

 

 

About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
This entry was posted in authors helping authors, authors to writers, best fantasy blogs, best genre fiction blogs, best horror blogs, best science fiction blogs, best websites for authors, best websites for writers, Books, fiction writing blog, fiction writing websites, freelance editing, freelance writing, help for writers, helping writers become authors, how to write fantasy, how to write fiction, how to write horror, how to write science fiction, Publishing Business, SF and Fantasy Authors, websites for authors, websites for writers, writers to authors, Writing, writing advice, writing fantasy, writing horror, writing science fiction, Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to BASIC MANUSCRIPT FORMAT

  1. Michael Tedin says:

    For those of us who use Scrivener or some other writing software, it’s probably a good idea to check to make sure it is exported with the correct formatting. I think I assumed it had exported it correctly, but there were some margin and indentation errors.

  2. Pingback: No Wasted Ink Writers Links | No Wasted Ink

Leave a Reply to Michael Tedin Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s