Shunn / Format / 5
The surname and keyword are important because sometimes unbound
manuscripts happen to fall off editors’ desks and become mixed up
with other manuscripts. The header helps the editorial staff
reassemble yours in the proper order.
Except for paragraph indentations, the left margin of your
manuscript should be ruler-straight. The right margin, however,
should be ragged, not justified. Right justification messes up
the spaces between words and sentences and makes the manuscript
more of a chore to read.
In the days of typewriters, the usual practice was to put
two spaces after the end of every sentence, and also to put two
spaces after every colon. This helped make the separations
between sentences more apparent, and helped editors more easily
distinguish periods from commas and colons from semicolons. With
the dominance of computers, that practice is changing, and it is
more common now to see only one space between sentences.
Ingrained habits die hard, though, so if you’re used to hitting
the spacebar twice after a period, you shouldn’t stress out about
it, particularly if you’re using a Courier font.
If you intend a word or phrase to appear in italics, the
convention has long been to indicate this in your manuscript by
underlining. This practice, too, is beginning to change. In
Courier you should continue to underline, since italics in
monospaced fonts are easy to overlook. In Times New Roman,
though, it’s becoming more and more acceptable to use italics
directly. (Again, consult submission guidelines when you’re in