Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Manuscript Format

How I format my manuscripts for Harlequin Romantic Suspense in MS Word:

1. Margins: one inch on all four sides
2. Line spacing: double
3. Indentation: Special - first line, each paragraph starts indented
4. Under Paragraph, check the box for "Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style."
5. Font: Times New Roman
6. Font size: 12
7. Word count (as of 2/2013): between 70-75,000. This comes out to around 250 typed pages.
8. Header: Last Name / Title on the left, page number on the right.
9. Chapters: type the word chapter and the number centered on the page. No extra carriage return between the last paragraph of the previous chapter and the first paragraph of the current chapter.
10. Scene breaks: use # between scenes. No extra carriage return between the last paragraph of the previous scene and the first paragraph of the current scene.
11. Sentences: one space between sentences

How I format my synopsis in Microsoft Word:

1. Margins: one inch on all four sides
2. Line spacing: double
3. Indentation: Special - first line
4. Under Paragraph, check the box for "Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style."
5. Font: Times New Roman
6. Font size: 12
7. Max pages: 5
8. 8. Header: Last Name / Title Synopsis on the left, page number on the right.

I worried about formatting when submitting my first manuscripts. It's important to follow the guidelines listed on the agent or publisher's submission guidelines, but making a small mistake, like putting two spaces between sentences instead of one, won't make an agent or editor reject a good story with strong writing.

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