Formatting Your Manuscript

April 17, 2014 by No Comments

At this week’s meeting the topic of formatting your manuscript came up. While we managed to most of the questions there and then we thought the subject would make a brilliant post so here we are.

The first thing to say is that none of points below are set in stone. In many ways you can format your manuscript anyway you wish to. These are guidelines.

Formatting Your ManuscriptFormatting Your Manuscript

At West Lothian Writers we follow these suggestions:

  1. Use a clear size 12 font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Courier.
  2. Double space your manuscript so when you print it out you can write between the lines clearly. However, some of our members use 1.5 spacing rather than double.
  3. Every new line you take should be indented except for the first line of your paragraph. If you are using a word processor this can be done automatically using the paragraph formatting option. It should look similar to the image on the right.
  4. A new line, and therefore an indent, should be whenever a new person starts speaking.

The paragraph formatting box can be found either in the Format Menu of older word processors or be highlighting the text you wish to format, clicking the right mouse button and selecting paragraph from the menu that has just appeared.

Formatting Your Manuscript

Other Things to Consider

In their article A Manuscript is Not a Book, the website The World’s Greatest Book adds an additional eight suggestions to the four we have above. They are:

  1. The Double Space
  2. Multiple Line Breaks
  3. Headers, Page Numbers and Footers,
  4. Paragraph Margins,
  5. Multiple Tabs
  6. Tables of Contents
  7. Text Styles
  8. Learn about Dashes and Special Characters

What is great about their article is that it goes into depth on each point explaining why it is important and how you can control these features.

As if to reinforce our point above, Daily Writing Tips offer some alternative suggestions. In their article 16 Manuscript Format Guidelines, they disagree with the use of a font like Arial. However, while we disagree on that we do suggest you give their article a read as it is some useful tips in there.

We hope that was helpful. Please leave your own thoughts about formatting below!


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