Proper Manuscript Format for Fiction Writers | William Shunn

When to use a separate title page

A reader writes to ask: At the recent meeting of our local writers group we got involved in a discussion about formatting. Several of us were having problems with the header/footer and page numbering aspect of our word processing program....  read

Copyrighting your work

A reader writes to ask: At the end of your podcasts, you include the important fact that your podcasts have a Creative Commons license on them, and I'd like to ask how I can be sure my own work has...  read

Story collection format

In followup to the post Proper novella format, a reader writes to ask: What do you do if you are using a novella as part of a short story collection? If you're including a novella in a collection, then format...  read

Indicating literal thoughts

A reader writes to ask: How should I differentiate the character's thoughts from the rest of the narrative? Some people have suggested I put them in quotation marks, but I find that when I read novels in which the character's...  read

Proper novella format

A reader writes to ask: What does the format look like for a novella? What's the first page look like? And, what do you do with chapters? The novella is a curious case. Not quite short enough to be called...  read

Word count vs. page count

A reader writes to ask: I've been speaking with an agent who has expressed keen interest in my sci-fi/humor novel, and what she's telling me is that while she really digs it, the manuscript is simply coming in too long...  read

Automatic page numbers in Word

A reader writes to ask: I had a quick question for you regarding header formatting for novel manuscripts. I'm trying to customize the autotext feature for headers to follow the example you gave: Author / Book Title / Page #...  read

Formatting text in interesting shapes

A reader writes to ask: Do you have any direction to point me in formatting elaborate typesets in manuscript. i.e. I have a sex scene written in the shape of a penis. Any help? An interesting question, and one that...  read

Word count discrepencies in novel submissions

A reader writes to ask: I've been writing a novel over the past year, and with the help on your site as well as a few other sites, I've been converting it into manuscript format. However, after having copied over...  read

Italicizing long blocks of text

A reader writes to ask: If you don't mind, I have a very quick question for you. You say that italics should never be used, and italicized passages should be underlined instead. But what if a story has long passages...  read
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