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lynnmosher

How to format your manuscript

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From Nathan Bransford, How to Format Your Manuscript. Here's most of it...

 

So how should you format your manuscript? Here’s the “Author Standard” template for submitting to literary agents and book publishers:

 

*Double Spaced

*1″ margins

*1/2 inch indent for a new paragraph

*Pages numbered (and make sure page numbers don’t start over every chapter)

*Page break after the end of a chapter

*No fiddling at all with anything else — no messing with the spacing between paragraphs, no fiddling with the width of the type, no full justification, no hyphenation. Basically just open up Word, hit double spacing, make sure the pages are numbered, and start typing.

*And most importantly — don’t try and make it look like the layout of a book.

 

What font? Well, I know there is an ongoing battle between the Times New Roman camp and the Courier camp. (I personally prefer Times New Roman).

 

But do not choose anything other than one of these two fonts. Seriously. No matter how much Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed is calling your name, and believe me I know how tempting you can be, Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed, you wily devil you…… just resist.

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51 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

But do not choose anything other than one of these two fonts. Seriously. No matter how much Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed is calling your name, and believe me I know how tempting you can be, Gill Sans Ultra Bold Condensed, you wily devil you…… just resist.

 

My temptation is comic sans, but only because as an indie I like to annoy agents. ;)

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5 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

My temptation is comic sans, but only because as an indie I like to annoy agents. ;)

 

LOL And that one certainly would! xD

 

For those who do not know, comic sans is a huge no-no! :oops:

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Posted (edited)

Ok. Please do NOT use Papyrus. Especially not for titles. It rivals with comic sans as far as that goes. :D

Edited by Sophie
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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Sophie said:

Yes. Please do NOT use Papyrus. Especially not for titles. It rivals with comic sans as far as that goes. :D

YES! SO overused! I used that font for my treasure hunting book because my computer software, OpenOfficeWriter, has limited fonts. I want to try to download some fonts or get them online soon.

I tried writing the start of a historical fiction once using Papyrus, and I got this annoying feeling even as I wrote the book. I quit after the first chapter.

Edited by Sarah Daffy
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2 minutes ago, Sarah Daffy said:

I want to try to download some fonts or get them online soon.

 

Be careful if you download fonts from dafont. They are not free. A few may be but be sure to read the fine print. Most are for personal use. There are several places that will send fonts once a week that are usable for commercial use but still need to be checked for books. I have a bazillion fonts I download every week. Then again, I make a lot of memes/graphics and use a lot of different fonts.

 

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A font is the roller coaster through a Disney ride.  Smooth wheels and cushions are its passport to anonymity. 

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Thanks for this. I had not known about the indented paragraphs.  I ususally do block and leave a space between each para. Will go back and reformat work now.

Yes, I Verdana - it is easier to read but you can reformat by using 'select all' to change th font when ready to sned off to LAs.

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2 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

I like Verdana. It's easier for me to read. I don't like TNR or Courier. Oh, well ...

I used Courier for a four and a half page script I wrote once. I don't use it often but like the way it looks like a typewriter. Verdana, I never use that one.

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I hav just tried formatting a whole chapter using the guidelines given in this thread. Problem - the indent works fine with the paragraphs but sends the dialogue bits all over the place because it treats dialogue like a paragraph. I google for advice and most of the sites I read stipulated not using the tab to indent the first line. Any suggestions on how to stop the messing with the dialogue without having to manuelly set the paras each time using the layout dropbox facility as recommended.

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4 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

 I don't like TNR or Courier. Oh, well ...

Yeah I agree, but we have to use Courier for screenwriting.  It takes up a lot more space than other fonts.

Edited by Sophie
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7 hours ago, Shamrock said:

Any suggestions on how to stop the messing with the dialogue

I don't know which word processor you use, but with Word, before you type, you set the top triangle on the left margin in however much you want to indent (generally a half inch). That makes all paragraphs, whether narrative or dialogue (and dialogue should be indented as well), begin a half inch in. The rest of the paragraph is left lined.

 

This will be huge, but I don't know how to shrink it. (Thank you, Rebecca. I just did shrink it!)

1448157643_ScreenShot2019-06-11at5_41_43PM.png.6d6b4088b9a95475aad5dd88b5600b52.png

 

 

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PS. If you already have the page typed, do a CTRL+A to highlight the whole thing, then reset it. 

 

The top triangle moves just the first line. The bottom triangle moves all the other lines, like for an outdent. The little box at the bottom moves everything in.

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