1. neverliketheending
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    neverliketheending New Member

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    Manuscript questions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by neverliketheending, Oct 9, 2010.

    I dont mean a pen or a computer, but do most of you use Ms Word? What size and type of font do you use and what page size?
    I've just started, (have millions of questions, but I'll start with a basic one) and I thought usually when it comes to word count and pages, its normally about 300 words to a page, but mines more like 800.
    I know it doesn't really matter for the story line, but I'm trying to figure out chapters and it might help that, I think my chapters are quite long.
     
  2. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    If you use the standard size font, 12, I believe an MS document gets 100 words per page.

    I like to use Times New Roman, Tahoma, Sylfaen, or Plantagenet Cherokee for fonts. They're simple, but different. It gives me something other than blah to type through :D
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First off, I am shutting down the software question in this thread, and refer you to this thread instead.

    MS Word is the industry standard, and OpenOffice is the most popular free alternative.

    As to your other question, publishers only care about word count, not page count, and you should think in those terms as well. Chapter length can vary from the 500-1000 word chapters favored by James Patterson to the entire novel written without chapter breaks.

    As for manuscript format, first look at potential publishers. Many post manuscript guidelines. In general, the most commonly preferred format is a 12 point fixed-width serif font (Courier New is widely recommended), Letter sized paper (8.5" x 11"), 1" margins on all sides. Courier is often considered much more readable than Times New Roman. The text should be left-aligned (ragged right), and numbering begins after the title page.

    Short pieces generally do not require a cover page. Instead, the title and auther (pen name) appear at the top of page 1. As always, check your publisher's submission guidelines to see whether a title page is requested.

    Paragraph format should be double spaced, with no leading or trailing vertical spacing, and with a 0.5" first line indent.

    Each page except the title page should have a header that contains the author's last name (pen name), condensed title (some publishers suggest all caps), and page number. When submitting a hardcopy manuscript, it should be printed single-sided unless the publisher specifies otherwise.

    Before submitting, check that publishers's guidelines and make appropriate adjustments. The above settings will meet many publishers' guidelines and will require minimal changes for most others.
     
  4. neverliketheending
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    neverliketheending New Member

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    Hi, thanks for your answers and the link to another thread. Its all so complicated! There was me thinking, come up with a good idea write it down send it off. Lots more research needed I think.
    Cheers

    Sorry meant to say, working out the chapters was more for me. Thanks
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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  6. neverliketheending
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    neverliketheending New Member

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  7. TobiasJames
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    TobiasJames Contributing Member

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    I already do all of that anyway, with the exception of left-alignment. I always write in 'justified' because there's a little bit of OCD telling me it's "neater". The format was not commented upon when I had it proof-read, and I'd be surprised if a really good manuscript was rejected purely on the grounds that it was justified rather than left-aligned. If it goes into print, it's generally justified anyway, isn't it?
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No. Magazine columns are generally justified, but not books. In manuscript, publishers prefer fixed-width fonts for easier editing, and justifying the text defeats that by putting varying amounts of space between letters. The submissions editors will like you better if you stick with left-aligned text.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    definitely do not justify your margins in mss you intend to submit... the standard is left-aligned, period!
     

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