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Manuscript Prep

Manuscript Prep

To make editing a smoother process, please format your manuscript before emailing it to me. I edit in Microsoft Word and utilize Track Changes for inline edits and comment boxes. Send me doc or docx files for editing. As for specifics, this is what I require:

  • Body of the text – Times New Roman, 12 pt. font.
  • 1 inch margins.
  • 2.0 line spacing.
  • Left aligned or justified.
  • First line of each paragraph indented using First Line Indent. No tabs or double returns between paragraphs.
  • Scene breaks marked with either # or * * *. Be consistent so I can easily find them all.
  • Include the story title and author name in the header or footer on the first page of each chapter.
  • Remove double spaces after periods and stray spaces before hard returns.
  • Use Curly Quotes when writing rather than straight.
  • Insert a page break at the end of each chapter using Insert>Break>Page Break.
  • Check your Language in Word so it is set it to your preferred country and the correct dictionary is used throughout. Do so by selecting all the text in the document and then changing the language.

For those who want to preformat, use the Styles Pane. This tool will make your life easier once you learn how to use it. Here is a simple video tutorial to get you started. A few styles I use consistently are:

  • Body of the story and the default. – Normal
  • Chapter heading – Header 1
  • Subtitles – Subtitle
  • POV changes or dates – Subhead
  • Scene breaks – Ornamental Break
  • Quotes or anything that needs to be offset from normal text – Block Quote or Quote
  • Lyrics, poems, notes – Verse

If you are formatting in Vellum, please let me know on the intake form you fill out before each project. I have a template to help make formatting in Vellum a little easier.

One tip: use Line Spacing Options to insert cushion before or after chapter titles, subheadings, and ornamental breaks rather than using multiple hard returns. Those hard returns entered one after the other are ignored by e-readers, so you’ll only end up with one blank line. E-readers rely on styles. See how to do this on Word for Mac below. Word for Windows and 356 will be similar.

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