1. Toritoes
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    Toritoes Member

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    What format?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Toritoes, Jul 1, 2009.

    Does anyone know the typical format you would send your work off in? Eg, what size font, style font and what programme (Microsoft word etc)?
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Standard manuscript format is size 12 Courier New, double spaced, 1" margins all around.

    You can find more specific guidelines here.
     
  3. fantasy girl
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    fantasy girl Contributing Member

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    doesn't it all depend on the prefrence of the publisher, please tell me if im wrong
     
  4. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    Exceptions may occur, but what Banzai stated is the norm for a printed ms. Always check guidelines to be safe.
     
  5. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I just changed the font of my book based on these recommendations.

    Frankly, it's going to take some getting used to.

    I much prefer the Times New Roman, personally. I find Courier New downright ugly, especially the italics text.

    And I even copy/pasted an excerpt from that article and changed the font to Courier New 12, and what I see in Word looks nothing like what I see on the linked article.

    Charlie
     
  6. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I googled this and found other sites that recommend Courier New.

    Then it occurred to me: I'm not ready to send my manuscript anywhere.

    I can always change fonts before I send it off. That way, I can write in a font I'm comfortable with, even share my work with other people in a font I think they'll enjoy reading the book in, and when it comes time to submit, change my font.

    Apparently publishers like New Courier because it's easier on the eyes when reading massive amounts, and the wide characters allow for write-ins and carrot tops.

    Only one thing though: Changing fonts is easy, but I just read (in one of the websites I googled, and the advice is also in the linked article) that you should not use italics for submission, you should underline. (The underlining, I assume, will change to italics at print time?) If so, that will take a lot of work, unless Microsoft Word has an automatic "change all italics to underlining" function I don't know about.

    Comments, anyone with actual experience with this?

    Charlie
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First off, look at potential publishers. Many post manuscript guidelines. In general, the most commonly preferred format is a 12 point 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.

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

    Each page should have a header that contains the title, author's name, and page number. When submitting a hardcopy manuscript, it should be printed one-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.
     
  8. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some publishers want underline instead of italics, and visa versa. This can be quite annoying to change from one to the other throughout a full novel manuscript.

    Maybe there is a better way (and someone will post if there is), but when you write your novel the first time, both underline and use italics in the text as you go.

    Then, it is fairly simple (at least in MS Word) to get rid of the underline and keep the italics or visa versa.

    If, for example, you want to get rid of the italics and keep the underline, select the entire manscript, then click on italics (which will make everything italic) and then click on it again, and all of the italics in the manuscript will be removed, but the underline will remain where it is.

    Terry
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Named styles help. If you use italics for embedded foreign phrases, the create a named style called something like Foreign Phrase. You can also base several named styles on another named style called something like MSS Italics.

    That way, you can simply modify the style definition to control how that type of text is rendered in your manuscript, and just as easily change it back. It's still a good idea to work on a copy of your master manuscript, though!

    I have a document template named Manuscript containing a growing number of such utility style definitions. It beats the hell over having to go through a manuscript with global replace, and making sure you didn't screw something up in the process.

    FYI: Underlining is an old manuscript standard for italicised text. It dates back to the days of typewritten manuscripts. Typewriters don't have italics, so underlining was the convention for representing text to be italicized. Likewise, an em dash does not exist on a standard typewriter, so it is conventionally rendered as --.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's another reason for underlining italics... in some fonts they're not different enough from regular font, so don't show up that well and it's easier for the printer to see the underline and know those words need to be italicized...
     
  11. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Resurrecting an old thread...

    I'm still not the most fluent person in Microsoft Word (and still haven't figured out the "named template" thing) but I just figured out that you can automatically change all your italics to underlining.

    Click "Edit"
    Click "Find"
    Click "More" (to expand window)
    Click "Format"
    Click "Font"
    Select Italics

    Click "Replace" Tab
    Click "Format"
    Select Underline

    Click "Replace"
    When you're sure it's doing what you want it to do,
    Click "Replace All"

    I hope this helps someone...

    Charlie
     

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