Friday, August 26, 2005

This is what a manuscript page looks like-schematic

header: your last name/title

(four lines)

(centered) Chapter One

two lines

(tab indent of five spaces or 1/2 inch)

250 words in Times New Roman 12 point. Courier works too. Anything else is a risk. Leave your risk taking for content, not presentation.

Indent each new paragraph with the tab key.
Indent new lines of dialogue with the tab key.

bottom page, lower right: page number

second page as before

and so on until you reach the end of the chapter.
Insert a line break NOT returns to get to a new page.


(4 returns) Chapter Tw0

and so on.

Do not put Copyright or (c) on any page or anywhere on the ms.

Do not include dedications, acknowledgments, title pages or tables of contents for a novel.


John Askins said...

Thanks for the information. Would you please explain why you specify using the tab key rather than the return key for new paragraphs and a line break (rather than a page break) for a new page?

Janet Reid said...

Tab key for indents.
Return key for new line.

It means I can adjust the amount of space in the indent automatially by changing the tab stops.

Not all fonts use the same amount of "space" so five spaces in TNR isn't the same acreage as five spaces in Courier.

It just makes it easier if I have to fix stuff.

wbdinsmoor said...

Using a manual line break at the end of the page often pulls the first one or two lines from the next page onto the bottom of the page, or moves the last line of the page onto the top of the next page. Is this acceptable, or should we do something like turn off the "widows" and "orphans" option?

Sarah Jensen said...

I've read places that Bookman Old Style works in the manuscript. Is that not the case? I've also read that Times New Roman 12 pt is too small and hurts people's eyes. So just TNR or Courier?

David Isaak said...

No title page?

I was taught to include a title page for novels--that being where detailed contact information was placed as well. Title centered about halfway down the page, name, address, phone, etc. left-justified in lower left quadrant.

Janet Reid said...

Back in the old days when we were wrangling paper, sure, a title page was needed.

Now, not so much.

It's not going to keep me from reading your work if you don't have one. In fact, I delete them now that I read on the Kindle.

D.N. Lyons said...

Ms. Reid, I use a page break; is that acceptable for manuscripts?


Cynthia Bronco said...

Thank you! :)

M.B. Sandefur said...

Is double spacing a manuscript a good idea? I would think so but then again agents prefer different things.

Mike said...


You don't mention line spacing, is double spacing now redundant due to electronic reading?

Same goes for sample pages - is that 6 double line spaced or 6 single line spaced pages? It makes quite a difference.

notpurfect said...


Well, I hate to flaunt my ignorance and inexperience so soon; but how does one deal with pictures or other illustrations in a manuscript? Are they included as separate items to be incorporated in the finished product; are they simply placed within the manuscript as the author would like them, or are they considered latter on, after the agent/publisher decides if there is any merit in the writing?

Ginger said...

If there are 250 words on the page, then clearly it is double-spaced.

Sabrina Ross said...

now is this your particular format or is this the basic way all agents accept it?

Cynthia J Faryon said...

Thank you Janet, I appreciate your time and effort in explaining the basics.