Short Story Format, Pg. 4

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

                                               Shunn / Format / 4

     One double space below your title, center your byline.  This

may seem like redundant information, since your name is already

in the upper-left corner of the manuscript, but it’s not.  The

name in the corner is the person to whom the publisher will make

out the check.  The byline is the name that receives credit for

the story when it appears in print.  These are not necessarily

the same.  Perhaps your name is J. Scott Bronson but you publish

fiction under the pseudonym Everett Stone, or perhaps you are a

married woman publishing fiction under your birth name.  Whatever

the case, even if the two names are the same, both must appear on

your manuscript.

     Begin the text of your manuscript two double spaces below

your byline.  The first line of every paragraph in your

manuscript, including this first paragraph, should be indented

one half inch from the left margin.  (You can set tab stops or

paragraph styles in your word processor to help with this.)  Do

not place extra line spaces between paragraphs, as is the common

practice in blogs and other online writing.  The first-line

indentation is sufficient to indicate that a new paragraph has


     Place a page header in the upper right corner of every page

of your manuscript except the first.  This header consists of

your real surname, one or two important words from the title of

your story, and the current page number.  Do not place the header

in the upper left corner because the editorial staff will

sometimes clip your manuscript in that corner as they work on it.

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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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