2Toby Bishop @ 2500 wordsst Ave. N.E.Redmond, WATHE FAIRY FOALToby BishopThis is where you begin your story, about one-third of the way down the first page. Indent the first paragraph, and double-space the text of the story. Use Courier 12-pitch font, and always
3Bishop - 2 Fairy Foal Underline anything meant to be in italics. These instructions are not optional. Variations will be seen as the mark of an amateur, and that won’t help you get published. These guidelines mean no more than words will fit on a page, but that’s good, because it’s easier for the editor to read it. The goal is to make your manuscript appear to have been typed on an old-fashioned typewriter, clear, simple, and straightforward.Leave at least one inch of margin space all around the text. Again, this is easier to read, and it leaves room for the editor to mark the manuscript. We want an editor marking our manuscript, because that means an editor is actually reading our manuscript.Simple stuff: black ink on white paper, print on only one side of the page,
4Bishop - 3Fairy Foaland be certain that your name appears on every sheet. Manuscript pages can and do getseparated in a publisher’s office.The left margin of your manuscript should be straight, and the right should be ragged. Right justification annoys the editor, and above all, we do not want to annoy our editor.If a word is too long to fit on a line, move it to the next line. Only if a phrase is normally hyphenated should you break it up at the end of a line. Only use hyphens if you want them to show up in your story when it’s printed.Always place two spaces after any sentence-ending punctuation. Don’t argue.Also, always place two spaces after a colon. Better yet, don’t use colons.Two hyphens indicate—like this—em dashes. It’s terrible that Microsoft Word
5Bishop - 4Fairy FoalWord changes em dashes into one solid line, but I don’t know how we fix that. It doesn’t seem to be bothering my editors, so I guess that’s working out all right.If you want a line break to appear in your story, as in a scene break, use#and only one. Some of this is simply common usage, and it makes it clear you’ve done your homework. Editors like writers who have done their homework.Some of us who publish a lot argue about how to end a manuscript. I figure, why not be clear? And so I always type “The End” at the end. Others say that’s not necessary, but if your story ends near the bottom of the page, you may leave a reader in doubt about whether it has ended, or a page is missing. Also, round up or down when estimating word count. If all of this feels arbitrary to you, do a Google search on
6Bishop - 5Fairy Foalformat, and we’ll talk.Always, always read through your manuscript, at least skimming, a final time before you send it off. Double-check things like page numbering, spelling, some of the little glitches that come in when printing from a software program (I have occasional trouble, for example, switching from WordPerfect to Word. It’s Bill’s fault.)The EndSee? That might have been confusing. Now you know I really meant The End.