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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Double space, double space, double space!
- 1 inch margins all the way around.
- Paragraphs should always be indented.
- In the header you should put- Lastname/ TITLE and in the footer the page number.
- Page break after each chapter- trust me, this is totally necessary once you reach revisions.
- 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!
- Four lines of space before your title.
- Two lines of space between title and first paragraph.
An example from the Sharkly Janet Reid:
header: your last name/title
(centered) Chapter One
(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!