Questions about formatting a manuscript

by david fannin
(van lear, ky. United states)

Question: What does it mean to double space your manuscript?


Answer: It means that there is space equal to a blank line between each line of text. Once upon a time, if you were writing on a typewriter, you would hit the carriage return twice at the end of each line rather than once in order to double-space your text. Later typewriters had a setting that allowed you to choose to double or triple space automatically.

Today, any decent wordprocessor will let you adjust the space between lines to double (or 2.0). Look under the format tab/menu for this option or access the help feature.

Question: What does it mean to leave 1 inch to one and a quarter inch margins?

Answer: It means that the words on your page begin 1.25 inches from the left edge of the paper when it's printed, and stops at least 1.25 inches from the right edge of the paper.

The blank area down each side of the paper is called the "margin." This space can be used by an editor (or yourself when editing your own work) to write notes.

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Manuscript Spacing

by Marjorie
(Downers Grove, Il, USA)

Question: I am fifteen trying to write my first draft manuscript and I wanted to know, should I still indent my paragraphs on the manuscript or will that mess up the publisher's word count?

Answer: The standard manuscript format is to indent the first line of each paragraph five spaces to show that it is the start of a new paragraph.

Do not put an extra blank line or any extra partial space between paragraphs or lines. Just stick with standard double-spacing, so that you have 25 lines per page.

(If you want to indicate that a blank line should appear in the printed book, insert a line with just a "#" symbol in the centre.)

Comments for Manuscript Spacing

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Nov 18, 2012
Thank you!
by: Anonymous

Thank you!

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