Friday, August 1, 2008

Electronic Worksheet: Standard Manuscript Format

When writing for a publication, it is always a good idea to research the desired standards for how that publication would like to receive a manuscript. If a writer is unsure of the desired format, or doesn't know where the manuscript will eventually be sent, standard manuscript format is a good option.

  • The cover page should include the writer's name, address and telephone number (in some cases, the manuscript's total word count should also be given) in the upper right-hand corner.
  • The title of the manuscript and writer's name or pen name should be halfway down the cover page.
  • Each page following the cover page should include the writer's name, manuscript title and page number in the upper right-hand corner.
  • A standard font should be used, and italics should be avoided (in some cases, italicized words are underlined to later be changed by the publication).
  • Paragraphs should be left-justified and single-spaced.
  • New paragraphs should start with a five-space indention.
  • Margins should be at least an inch wide and equal on each side.
  • Pages should be printed on only one side and left unbound (a paperclip would likely be appropriate for larger manuscripts, but avoid staples).

Beyond this, writers should check the publication's formatting standards as they get closer to submitting the manuscript, and alter the format to specifications.

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