As you type your manuscript, you have to format it. Knowing how to format a manuscript in the beginning will save you a lot of time and energy later. It’s not that difficult as long as you do it right.
Follow these simple instructions:
* Use a 12-point font. Whether you use Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier New is your judgment call.
* 1-inch margins
* Indent your paragraphs. I like to use .3 for my tabs.
TIP: You don’t have to hit “tab” on your keyboard, though. If you have Microsoft Office, right click your mouse. When a little screen pops up, go to “paragraph” and then click “tab.” You can set the tab to whatever size you prefer (no greater than .5, no less than .3), so whenever you hit the “enter” button to start a new paragraph, it’ll automatically indent for you.
* Your title page should have your name and contact info in the left corner and in the right corner the word count for your manuscript.
Name Word Count
* 5-7 spaces down from the bottom of your contact info type the title of your book. Add another space and type “by”. Then add one more space and type your writing name. 3-5 spaces down from your name is where you type “CHAPTER ONE” or begin your story if you don’t have chapters.
TITLE OF BOOK
* Create a header for the top of each page. In the left corner type your last name/title of your book in all caps/manuscript, and to the right put the page number.
TIP: Microsoft lets you insert a header that’ll appear automatically on each page. You can also insert page numbers.
Last Name/TITLE/Manuscript Page 1
* When starting a new chapter go about 7 line spaces down from the header.
CHAPTER ONE -- CHAPTER TITLE (If you’re using chapter titles.)
* After you write the chapter number, go down 3-5 spaces, indent using tab, and start writing the first paragraph.
* When you start a new page, begin typing 2-3 line spaces below the header.
FYI: You don’t have to use these exact line spaces, but using spacing close to it would be wise.
* For words or sentences that need to be italic in a book (such as a character’s thoughts), underline it because it's easier for an editor/agent/publisher to see.
FYI: Sometimes editors/agents don’t think this is necessary, but I still do it this way until I know that specific editors/agents tastes.
* Indicate a scene break with the pound sign or 3-4 centered asterisks.
* At the end of the manuscript, go a few lines spaces under the last sentence (or half-way between the last line and the bottom of the page) and type in all caps:
*This is an updated version of an article previously posted on my blog, Write with Fey.