Proper Manuscript Format for Fiction Writers | William Shunn

Publishers who ask for camera-ready copy

A reader writes to ask: I read your article on proper manuscript submission and found it to be very informative. I submitted my manuscript to a publisher and received an email that they would like to print but it is...  read

Composing a cover letter

A reader writes to ask: I am going to FEDEX my short fiction story to [a certain American] magazine, who were the only gracious ones to send me a response to my e-mail query (out of hundreds of e-mail queries...  read

Word counts for proposal submissions

A reader writes to ask: I am submitting a short story collection, but the publisher requests just the first 50 pages. How do I handle this in terms of what I would write for word count? Do I include the...  read

Labeling scenes within a chapter

A reader writes to ask: My question is in regards to formatting a prologue. My story is a fantasy/sci-fi tale that has two separate events that occur to two separate groups that lay the foundation for the actual "chapter 1"...  read

Uncorrecting the ellipsis character

A reader writes to ask: I've been writing in Microsoft Works, which I believe is similar but not identical to Word. When I type an ellipse by typing three periods in succession, the program automatically compresses them together, rendering the...  read

Ending your manuscript

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) or... I've seen both methods...  read

Positioning chapter headers on the page

A reader writes to ask: I have a children's fiction novel. Once the second chapter starts, do I type the chapter at the top of the next page or 1/3 of the way down, like mid-way the page? Start the...  read

Confusing book design with manuscript formatting

A reader writes to ask: I came upon your blog when asking a question about short story indentation at ask.com. I don't know if you'll ever read this, but if you do and can spare some time, I'd appreciate a...  read

How line height relates to word count

A reader writes to ask: I read somewhere that if you format properly you should get 25 lines per page, but I consistantly get 24. So when I use Word to give me a word count on 141 pages, I...  read

Some fine points of underlining

A reader writes to ask: I scoured your blog as well as the Internet, and am still having problems with underlining for italics. I am definitely using underlining but am fuzzy on the following:Do I use "underline words only" like...  read
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