Writing Discussion

Standard Manuscript Format Links

Here’s a general reference with some useful standard manuscript format links. I hope this is helpful for anyone planning to submit a short story or novel somewhere, though it’s also for my own reference.

How to Format for Online Submission – Many of the standard manuscript formatting guides you find online don’t take into account online submissions and modern word processing software issues. Great post by Patty Jansen!

Example of Short Story – A  sample of a short story formatted in SMF via William Shunn.

Example of Novel with Chapters – A sample of a novel with chapters formatted in SMF via William Shunn.

Format for submitting a partial – Just in case you need it via BookEnds LLC

Formatting tips for writers – Including how to format a synopsis via Agent Query

Dark Courier Font – A favorite of more than a few writers. It’s easier to read than Courier.

My Questions:

  1. Double space or single space after a period?
    Single space. This one is easy to search and replace if you’re in the habit of double spaces (I am).
  2. Curly quotes or straight quotes?
    If formatting for e-books, use curly quotes. Some publishers prefer straight quotes. Auto-formatting sometimes messes up the curly quotes (they can end up backwards or straight) so double check them.
  3. Indent the first line of the story, chapter, scene or not?
    I’ve seen it done both ways. Your choice?
  4. Where do you add your pseudonym?
    To the ‘by’ line beneath the title of your novel/story. In the address section and page header of the document use your legal name.

Note: Some online publications may ask for web formatted submissions (single spaced, spaces between paragraphs, no indents).

And in other news, I’ve been on a break from writing for the past week. It’s been nice to enjoy the summer and indulge in some non-writing creative outlets (dancing, sewing, food photography). Do you have creative hobbies other than sewing? How has your summer been?

14 Comments to “Standard Manuscript Format Links”

  1. Well, one of my creative hobbies other than sewing is writing. 😛

    Seriously, though, this is muy useful. I’ve had Shunn’s example bookmarked in the past… but these other links are very helpful, and I’m definitely bookmarking/tagging this for later reference.

    As to my actual answer for the discussion question: besides writing, I read, of course. These days my other main hobby is playing with B.T. It used to be that I drew as well (frequently scenes of dragons or other fantastical creatures) – but I haven’t done much drawing for several years, mostly due to lack of time.

    1. T. S. Bazelli Author

      Glad you can use it!

      I’ve been reading slower these days, and there’s a small stack waiting for me. You used to draw? Envious! 😉 Might be fun to post a few of those on your site, actually ;D Somewhat related.

      1. Most of my old fantasy art is posted at my Elfwood page. (Funny enough… if you google “Stephen A. Watkins” my Elfwood page ranks higher than my actual blog… even though I haven’t updated Elfwood with anything in, oh, years. There’s also a few chapters from the old, abandoned, and awful version of my novel-I’ve-been-writing-since-forever, “Project SOA#1”. Maybe someday I should post something about my fantasy-themed art at the blog…

  2. Awesome! Thanks for giving us the various examples of all kinds of different formats. It can be daunting when you’re making multiple submissions. I guess the best thing you can do is to pay close attention to each publisher’s/agent’s guidelines.

  3. Not a lot of sewing here, either. My biggest creative hobby is one I’m not confessing to anybody any time soon.

    I really need to convince myself to write in Courier. It’s so much bigger than Times New Roman that it feels like cheating.

  4. Oh, I must bookmark this page. 😀

    Hmm…hobbies? Besides reading and writing and watching movies or playing games?! Well, every now and again I like to tinker around on the piano, think of new songs, though that has become less frequent of late. 🙁

  5. Joelle Wilson

    Thanks for posting this information. Very useful. I make wire and glass jewelry and take nature photos when I’m not writing. And of course my stack and list of books to read keeps growing. 🙂

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