Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tipsy Tuesday- Formatting

It's Tipsy Tuesday!! Know what that means? I'm going to dish out writerly tips and a special treat at reader's request!

Today's tips are on formatting your manuscript. Dun dun DUN! Tricky part is, nobody really agrees on formatting other than a few basic points. Some agents will give specific guidelines on the format they expect manuscripts to be in on their websites, some don't, or just don't care. So, have a grain of salt and read on.

  1. A generally agreed upon point is the font. Always 12 point, Times New Roman or Courier. Don't get fancy, it won't be appreciated.
  2. Always use a title page. It should have your title and byline in the center, estimated word count at the top right, and your name, address, phone, and email at the top left.
  3. Double space, double space, double space!
  4. 1 inch margins all the way around.
  5. Paragraphs should always be indented.
  6. In the header you should put- Lastname/ TITLE and in the footer the page number.
  7. Page break after each chapter- trust me, this is totally necessary once you reach revisions.
  8. Write in the correct format from the start. No, it is not easy to go back and change it. I had to do that with Emerald and boy was it a pain!
  9. Four lines of space before your title.
  10. Two lines of space between title and first paragraph.

An example from the Sharkly Janet Reid:

header: your last name/title

(four lines)

(centered) Chapter One

two lines

(tab indent of five spaces or 1/2 inch)

250 words in Times New Roman 12 point. Courier works too. Anything else is a risk. Leave your risk taking for content, not presentation.

Indent each new paragraph with the tab key.
Indent new lines of dialogue with the tab key.

bottom page, lower right: page number

And now the treat!

Try a sour-apple martini made with 2 1/2 oz. sour mix and 3/4 oz. each vodka and sour apple liqueur for a 160-calorie treat. Yum! If that doesn't inspire your writing, I fear nothing will!

1 comment:

Marquita Hockaday said...

Beautiful, beautiful post! Thanks for the help on formatting, I really do have issues with that- and while I am fretting over those damned margin and indents, I will sip on my lowfat sour apple martini!