Ending your manuscript | Proper Manuscript Format | William Shunn

Ending your manuscript

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A reader writes to ask:

Please-does anyone out there know how to end a manuscript for a short story or novel?

Do you skip a line and write -END- (margin left)
or THE END (Centered)

I've seen both methods you mention, and in addition I know writers who always end their manuscripts with "###" or "-30-" centered. The simple fact, though, is that you don't have to do anything explicit to indicate the end of a manuscript. The fact that there are no more words or pages after a certain point should indicate the ending all on its own.

If you are truly afraid that someone reading your manuscript will reach the end and think there are pages missing, then either of the methods you cite would be fine. There's no standard method, so let your personal preference guide you.

But if someone reaching the end of your story doesn't realize they've reached the end, then you probably have a big problem with the story itself, not with the presentation of your manuscript.

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FLOG is Hugo- and Nebula-nominated author William Shunn's blog on manuscript formatting and preparation for fiction writers. It features formatting questions from real readers and writers like you. Submit your questions to info at format dot ms. Identitying information will remain private. We regret that we can't always respond individually to submissions, and that we can't answer every question we receive.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 12, 2009 12:01 PM.

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