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Modern Manuscript Format
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Shunn / Format / 2
resembles typewriter output. You can use that too if you like, but it’s probably on its way out, at least in fiction circles.) Place your contact information in the upper-left corner of the first page, including your legal name, address, phone number, and email. Add your preferred pronouns if you like. List any professional writing affiliations next, but only when relevant. If you belong to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, for instance, you should say so on submissions to Asimov’s or Analog, but your membership might not cut much ice with editors at The New Yorker or Cat Fancy. In the upper-right corner of the first page, place an approximate word count. Get this number from your word processor, then round to the nearest hundred. (This manuscript, for example, is 1,488 words in length, which rounds to 1,500.) If you’re edging into novella territory, round to the nearest 500. The point of a word count is not to tell your editor the exact length of the manuscript, but approximately how much space your story will take up in the publication. Though many sources say you should, it is not necessary to place your Social Security number or any other tax ID on your manuscript. If your story is accepted, the publisher will ask for it in your contract. Until then, this is extraneous (and in fact presumptuous) information. Place the full title of your story a third to halfway down the first page, centered on its own line. (The editor may use that empty space to make notes for the production team.) Double-space once down and center your byline below the title. Your byline indicates the name that gets credit for the story when it’s published. This is not necessarily the same as your legal name up top, which is the one that will be printed (we hope) on your check. It could be a pen name, or a variation on your legal name. Even if the two names are identical, each must appear in its appointed slot. Double-space two more times down, and that’s where you’ll start the actual text of
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Last updated 17 March 2020


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