Manuscript format question

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RusticBohemian
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Manuscript format question

Postby RusticBohemian » Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:07 pm

I often see this suggested as the best way to set up your manuscript: https://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

But some of the information does not apply because we're supposed to keep any information that could identify us off the manuscript.

So can I boil it down to the following?

- 12 pt Courier font.
- Put the title at the top, centered and in caps.
- Add page numbers to the header on the right-hand side.
- Double spaced
- With the word-count in the upper right-hand corner of page 1

Anything other changes I need to make before I submit?

Thanks!

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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby disgruntledpeony » Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:29 pm

You want both your title and page number in the right hand corner of the header. Otherwise, I think you've more or less got it?

The only things you need to avoid including in your submission for WotF are your name in the header, your byline, and your address/e-mail. I usually write my prose in proper manuscript format these days, and when it comes time to submit to WotF I save a separate document to strip off my personal info. Saves me time, because then I have it formatted for both standard manuscript format and anonymous submissions.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

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RusticBohemian
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby RusticBohemian » Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:47 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:You want both your title and page number in the right hand corner of the header. Otherwise, I think you've more or less got it?

The only things you need to avoid including in your submission for WotF are your name in the header, your byline, and your address/e-mail. I usually write my prose in proper manuscript format these days, and when it comes time to submit to WotF I save a separate document to strip off my personal info. Saves me time, because then I have it formatted for both standard manuscript format and anonymous submissions.


Thanks!

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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby HermioneLee » Tue Mar 17, 2020 5:48 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:You want both your title and page number in the right hand corner of the header. Otherwise, I think you've more or less got it?

The only things you need to avoid including in your submission for WotF are your name in the header, your byline, and your address/e-mail. I usually write my prose in proper manuscript format these days, and when it comes time to submit to WotF I save a separate document to strip off my personal info. Saves me time, because then I have it formatted for both standard manuscript format and anonymous submissions.

Is it okay to put my page number and title on the bottom right part of my manuscript?
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:20 am

HermioneLee wrote:
disgruntledpeony wrote:You want both your title and page number in the right hand corner of the header. Otherwise, I think you've more or less got it?

The only things you need to avoid including in your submission for WotF are your name in the header, your byline, and your address/e-mail. I usually write my prose in proper manuscript format these days, and when it comes time to submit to WotF I save a separate document to strip off my personal info. Saves me time, because then I have it formatted for both standard manuscript format and anonymous submissions.

Is it okay to put my page number and title on the bottom right part of my manuscript?

Maybe? I wouldn't recommend that, though, as it's not standard manuscript format. Part of our job is to make things as easy for the judges as possible, and following standard manuscript format is generally the best way to do that (but always check every market's submission requirements, because some ask for things out of the norm, a la anonymous submissions or a different font).
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KD Julicher
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby KD Julicher » Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:47 am

You can use Times New Roman if you prefer, I believe Dave has said that he either prefers it or is fine with it. Use italics, not underlines. That's definitely preferred, regardless of what SMF may say.
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RusticBohemian
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby RusticBohemian » Tue Mar 17, 2020 6:51 am

KD Julicher wrote:You can use Times New Roman if you prefer, I believe Dave has said that he either prefers it or is fine with it. Use italics, not underlines. That's definitely preferred, regardless of what SMF may say.


Italics instead of underlining for what type of text?

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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby disgruntledpeony » Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:17 am

RusticBohemian wrote:
KD Julicher wrote:You can use Times New Roman if you prefer, I believe Dave has said that he either prefers it or is fine with it. Use italics, not underlines. That's definitely preferred, regardless of what SMF may say.


Italics instead of underlining for what type of text?

The text you would usually italicize. (Manuscript guidelines often suggest underlining what will be italicized text, but these days a lot of places prefer just using the italics.)
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

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Wulf Moon
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby Wulf Moon » Tue Mar 17, 2020 11:57 am

HermioneLee wrote:Is it okay to put my page number and title on the bottom right part of my manuscript?


Hermione: Go back up and click on Shunn's Guide to Manuscript Format that Rustic linked (thanks, Rustic!). Follow that as closely as you can. If you do so, you will have a professional looking manuscript. You want your manuscript to look like that because it will mark you as a pro, not an amateur. Doing other things, like putting your title and page number on the bottom right, using fonts other than Courier or Times New Roman, justifying your margins so the end looks straight and neat, all of these things jump out as nonprofessional, and do you really want an editor to be associating that word with your manuscript as soon as he looks at it? Top editors have to look at thousands of stories every quarter, they have tired eyes, and they get annoyed when someone taxes them. So don't give them reason to get annoyed. First impressions count, so dress your manuscript for success. If you look at my Super Secrets, this is Super Secret #0. It's so simple, it's stupid simple. And yet, it's so hard for aspiring writers to follow it.

I have personally talked to David Farland about font preference. We both prefer Courier, and here is why: it is a monospaced font, which makes it easy to spot errors. There is no tricking the eye. Is it stale and boring? Yes. But when you're editing manuscripts, that's a good thing. Will he kick your story if you use Times New Roman? No, that is another standard manuscript font. But if you use Funky Chicken, be prepared to have a VERY short read.

You want your *story* to stand out, not the odd presentation.

I hope that helps.

All the beast!

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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby HermioneLee » Tue Mar 17, 2020 2:54 pm

Thanks to disgruntled peony and Moon! I’ll follow your advice
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Dustin Adams
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby Dustin Adams » Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:29 am

I believe margins are 1" top, left, bottom 1.5" right.
This is a throwback to paper subs needing a little more space for reader notations. Now it probably helps keep 250 words per page, etc.
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby HermioneLee » Sat Mar 21, 2020 12:15 am

Hello guys! I’m having a bit of problem figuring out when I should add an extra double space between paragraphs. From what I have read in the anthologies, (35&34) most authors add an extra double space when switching scenes, while others never do. I’m a bit confused about this...

Also, should I include the word count on the top of my first page? I see the approximate word count in Shun's guide, but I don’t think it is required in the WOTF manuscript
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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby disgruntledpeony » Sat Mar 21, 2020 3:43 am

HermioneLee wrote:Hello guys! I’m having a bit of problem figuring out when I should add an extra double space between paragraphs. From what I have read in the anthologies, (35&34) most authors add an extra double space when switching scenes, while others never do. I’m a bit confused about this...

Also, should I include the word count on the top of my first page? I see the approximate word count in Shun's guide, but I don’t think it is required in the WOTF manuscript

You don't need to add an extra double space between paragraphs. However, if you want that extra space when switching scenes, a good shorthand in manuscript format is to use a hashtag on the line between the two scenes, like so:
#
Some people center it; some don't. Either way, it denotes a blank space.

Also, I do still prefer to include the wordcount in the top right corner of the first page on WotF. Not sure if everyone does, but it just feels right to me.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby HermioneLee » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:00 am

Thank you very much, Liz :) I’ve got another question about word count, does two words linked by hythons count as one or two words?
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TimE
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby TimE » Sat Mar 21, 2020 4:23 am

HermioneLee wrote:Thank you very much, Liz :) I’ve got another question about word count, does two words linked by hythons count as one or two words?


Compound words count as one. Father-in-law is one word, not three.

But I suspect you're worrying too much. My count when I post to Scribophile is different to my count in Word. When I submit to WotF, I use the count Word says.
Unless you're pushing 17,000, you really don't have to worry. For instance, Word has don't as one word - and that's what I go with. I'm not going to manually count all my contractions.
Good luck. Keep Writing.
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby HermioneLee » Sat Mar 21, 2020 5:02 am

TimE wrote:
HermioneLee wrote:Thank you very much, Liz :) I’ve got another question about word count, does two words linked by hythons count as one or two words?


Compound words count as one. Father-in-law is one word, not three.

But I suspect you're worrying too much. My count when I post to Scribophile is different to my count in Word. When I submit to WotF, I use the count Word says.
Unless you're pushing 17,000, you really don't have to worry. For instance, Word has don't as one word - and that's what I go with. I'm not going to manually count all my contractions.
Good luck. Keep Writing.

Thanks, TimE! Good luck to you, too! wotf007
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby FitBoy01 » Wed Mar 25, 2020 7:06 am

KD Julicher wrote:You can use Times New Roman if you prefer, I believe Dave has said that he either prefers it or is fine with it. Use italics, not underlines. That's definitely preferred, regardless of what SMF may say.

I want to learn latex but there is so much on the internet which confuses me. Can anyone provide his published manuscript which he drafted in latex template? I will be really grateful to him. Manuscript in solar cells/semiconductor physics/nanomaterials will be highly preferred.

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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby Retropianoplayer » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:15 pm

FitBoy01, if you're going to use latex template, you need to first obtain permission from THE DOMINION, which has a branch office on Tatooine a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. As far as solar-cell manuscripts, there's a lending library on Deep Space Nine near Quark's Bar. If you present them with gold-pressed platinum, you can borrow the nano materials on the Third Solar Eclipse of the planet Bajor.

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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby GlibWizard » Sat Mar 28, 2020 4:14 am

FitBoy01 wrote:
KD Julicher wrote:You can use Times New Roman if you prefer, I believe Dave has said that he either prefers it or is fine with it. Use italics, not underlines. That's definitely preferred, regardless of what SMF may say.

I want to learn latex but there is so much on the internet which confuses me. Can anyone provide his published manuscript which he drafted in latex template? I will be really grateful to him. Manuscript in solar cells/semiconductor physics/nanomaterials will be highly preferred.


You should not use LaTeX for submissions to Writers of the Future or other SFF publications. Editors need to receive the story in a format that they can edit and then input into their own typesetting software if they accept it for publication. Because TeX is a markup language it has extraneous material when imported into something that can't read it, and it doesn't compile to the industry standard file formats for fiction. If your science fiction story involves an equation for which TeX is the best tool, I'd embed it as a graphic at this stage so that you can submit *.doc or *.rtf.

Amr Nasser
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby Amr Nasser » Wed Apr 01, 2020 1:41 pm

It has finally happened. In my haste to meet the deadline for Q2, my sleep-starved brain forgot to double-space the manuscript, or add the title and word count in the header.

Is this an immediate rejection? wotf017 Should I resubmit the correct version in Q3?

Also, how long is the wait usually?

Thanks!

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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby SwiftPotato » Wed Apr 01, 2020 2:38 pm

I couldn't tell you if it'll be an instant rejection or not, but I don't believe a manuscript with major format errors will win, unfortunately. I'd recommend taking a look at Shunn's manuscript format and then creating yourself a template that follows it to a tee, then using that template and nothing but that template to submit your stories.

If you do plan to resubmit the correct version, take some time to let the story rest, and then go back to it with fresh eyes and see what you can do to make it even better than it is now. You've got the full quarter to do so.

For context on the wait, Q1 is still waiting for results. They're going to be significantly delayed due to current events, but two to four months is about the usual wait.

Best of luck on your submission!
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Apr 01, 2020 5:51 pm

I'd definitely recommend fixing the formatting, but it might be good to wait and see what happens before resubmitting the same story to a new quarter. While I always advocate for proper manuscript format, I'd expect Dave to be a bit more lenient on that than most places (this is a contest for beginners, after all). I doubt that level of formatting error would be an instant rejection in this market, because the story itself is probably decently readable, but it might count as a mark against you, if that makes sense.
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain

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Dustin Adams
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby Dustin Adams » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:28 am

I agree with making a format and getting used to typing in it. Initially I liked the font and style I had typed in for years and I stuck to that, changing only when about to submit. Then I found myself printing and reading one more time, catching, fixing... eventually I just got used to the format.

When starting a new story, I open my previous quarter's entry, save it as Q3, Q4, etc., then delete everything and start anew. That way I always have the proper format.
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby JVAshley » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:51 am

I agree Dustin. I have trained myself to writing in the proper format for submissions so I have one less level of complication when getting a manuscript ready for submission or query.

Although, I do not name mine 'Q3' or such. I wish I had then I could keep better track of which story and version was submitted when. I will do that from now on. Thank you.
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby Reuben » Mon May 04, 2020 6:24 pm

Quick question, how do you put both the title and the page number as headers? I'm using google docs.
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Re: Manuscript format question

Postby RSchibler » Mon May 04, 2020 7:40 pm

Go to insert page numbers - the header can be edited. You can add your title (and last name for other markets) by double clicking. Choose “other options” to remove the page number from the first page however! That’s a mistake I just recently realize I was making. If that doesn’t make sense PM me and I’ll send you a screen grab of me doing it.
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