Short Story Format, Pg. 5

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Shunn / Format / 5 The surname and keyword are important because sometimes unbound manuscripts happen to fall off editors’ desks and become mixed up with other manuscripts. The header helps the editorial staff reassemble yours in the proper order. Except for paragraph indentations, the left margin of your manuscript should be ruler-straight. The right margin, however, should be ragged, not justified. Right justification messes up the spaces between words and sentences and makes the manuscript more of a chore to read. In the days of typewriters, the usual practice was to put two spaces after the end of every sentence, and also to put two spaces after every colon. This helped make the separations between sentences more apparent, and helped editors more easily distinguish periods from commas and colons from semicolons. With the dominance of computers, that practice is changing, and it is more common now to see only one space between sentences. Ingrained habits die hard, though, so if you’re used to hitting the spacebar twice after a period, you shouldn’t stress out about it, particularly if you’re using a Courier font. If you intend a word or phrase to appear in italics, the convention has long been to indicate this in your manuscript by underlining. This practice, too, is beginning to change. In Courier you should continue to underline, since italics in monospaced fonts are easy to overlook. In Times New Roman, though, it’s becoming more and more acceptable to use italics directly. (Again, consult submission guidelines when you’re in

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Now go ahead and study a sample excerpt from a novel manuscript.
What similarities do you notice? What differences?

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