Short Story Format, Pg. 2

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An earlier version of this article was reprinted in Writers Write: The Internet Writing Journal, December 1998

                                               Shunn / Format / 2

wide as every other.  It’s easier for an editor to detect

spelling errors in a monospaced font than in a proportional font

like Times New Roman (in which the “i” uses less horizontal space

than the “m” does).  With a monospaced font, there will also be

fewer characters on each line, which can make your manuscript

easier to scan.  Still, many writers have come to prefer Times

New Roman, and either is usually acceptable.  (If in doubt,

consult your intended market’s submission guidelines.)  Set your

font size to 12 points.

     Use nice wide margins all around your pages.  There should

be at least an inch to each side of the text--top, bottom, left,

and right.

     Always double-space between lines.  Never submit a

single-spaced manuscript.  The editor needs room to make

corrections and other typographical marks between lines--but not

too much room, so don’t triple-space either.

     The guidelines I’ve offered so far will give you pages of

about 250 to 300 words apiece.  This may increase your page

count, but don’t fret about that.  It’s easier to read a lot of

pages with fewer words on each than it is to read a few pages

with lots of words on each, and as a result your story may feel

as if it reads faster than otherwise.

     Now, to the first page of your manuscript.  Place your name,

address, telephone number, and e-mail address in the upper left

corner.  If you belong to a professional writing organization,

you may list your membership beneath this information, but only

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Now go ahead and study a sample excerpt from a novel manuscript.
What similarities do you notice? What differences?

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