1. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    Font Decisions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Metus, May 6, 2012.

    I was wondering what font size and line spacing I should have for my first draft. I want one page in a word processor to roughly equal in word count a page from, say, Eldest or one of the later Harry Potter books. I want this so I can easily tell if my book is getting too long or cluttered.

    I'm using Times New Roman font, by the way.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Forget any correlation to published pages. Manuscript should be a fixed width serif font, such as Courier New, 12 point in size. Paragraphs should be double spaced, with a 0.5" first line indent, and no additional vertical space between paragraphs. The page should have a one inch margin on all sides, and should be printed one sided. Every page should have a heading consisting of the author's last name, the title of the piece, and the page number, separated by forward slash characters. Chapters begin on a new page, with a centered title in the same font and size as the text.

    For more information on manuscript format, see William Shunn : Manuscript Format : Novel Format (there's also a section on short story manuscript format).

    You determine proper length by word count, not page count. A new writer's first novel should be 80,000 to 100,000 words in most genres. Check specific publishers' submission guidelines.
     
  3. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    Oh, yeah. I wouldn't try to submit something like I described above for review anywhere. It would just be for my personal benefit/taste as I was working on it. I'd reformat the entire thing if or when I actually try to get it published through a publishing house or online. Thanks for the information, though.

    As for word count, I'm not limiting myself at all. I'll be publishing via Ereader most likely, and I might not even charge any money for it. Writing isn't my source of income, so I don't need to make any money off of it, and the only person I need to please is myself.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For a first draft, standard manuscript format is the best anyway. It leaves plenty of space on the page for edit marks and notes. Also, a fixed sized serif font is best for finding typos.
    Notice how clearly the typo in "liilacs" stands out in Courier New, in comparison to Times New Roman or the default Arial font.
     
  5. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I agree that I prefer a font like Courier with plenty of space for my first draft but I was at a class once and the teacher (an author with more than 20 books to her name) said she writes her first draft in something like Comic Sans because it seems friendly to her.

    As far as your original question about having one of your pages in a word document equal one page of a standard novel. I've heard several times (not sure where I heard it but it sounds about right) that one doublespaced page with a normal size 12 font (not too big or too small) equals about one page in a standard book. It never really mattered to me because I go by word count but you could easily put the theory to test by getting the word count on several pages of say Eldest and then compare it to the word count of one of your word document pages.
     
  6. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Given the average novel page has 300 words, if you type in size 14 font you will fit roughly 300 words on a page.

    I need to type in size 14 font in my rough draft because I use a TV instead of a monitor and I sit far away.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i use consolas, which I like a lot. Where I live many published authors say publishers prefer when people use realy wide margins in the ms they submit to them. It makes it easier to read and looks like a printed book page. With that guideline, 1,5 spacing and font size 11 for consolas I get around 300 words in a page, wich is about as many as in a printed book (depending of format). Follow the guidelines at the publishers/agents sites if you want to submit your work to them.
     

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