What Writers Need to Know About Formatting (FAQs)

When writing your future bestseller you don’t want to have to waste too much time wondering if you should be leaving one space or two between sentences or worried that you’re committing other style faux pas. Here I’ve collected a writer’s set of FAQs about formatting (and formatting-related) issues that will help you navigate the basics.

What Are the Guidelines for Formatting a Manuscript?

One Space or Two Between Sentences?

When to Use a Prologue

Where Should You List Your Manuscript’s Word Count?

How Long Should Novel Chapters Be?

What’s Considered a “Clip”?

How Do I E-mail Clips?

What is a Logline?

Contest Guidelines and Formatting

Which Word Count Do Agents Want?

Should I Use The Chicago Manual of Style for My Book?

U.S. vs. Canadian Scriptwriting Formatting (Is there a difference?)

One excellent resource for making sure your manuscript, query letter, book proposal, synopsis, etc., is formatted correctly is Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript 4th Edition. It’s one of our bestsellers and has answers to just about every formatting question you could possibly have. Check it out.


Follow me on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Read my Dad blog: TheLifeOfDad.com
Sign up for my free weekly eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

You might also like:

2 thoughts on “What Writers Need to Know About Formatting (FAQs)

  1. Nancy

    I have purchased Sambuchino’s book and think it is excellent. I do have a couple of questions. In the manuscript examples he does not indent the first paragraph, but does indent subsequent paragraphs (pages 69, 71, 122, 143, 161 to point out a few). Can you explain this? What am I not understanding?
    He does indent the first paragraph in the picture book example. Again I am confused. Why is that a different format? Also he does not start the picture book text one-third to one-half down. Is this because picture books should now be submitted with a title page?

    Thanks for any help. Again the book is excellent–great examples and concise, easy to follow information.

    1. Brian A. Klems Post author

      I asked Chuck and according to him:

      “Picture books are unusual in that the first paragraph can either be not indented or indented. Either is acceptable. And the 1/3 page down just gives it space and makes it pleasing to the eye.”

      As for not indenting the first graph in a manuscript, the reason for that is this: The indent is there to separate from paragraphs above it. The first paragraph of a chapter doesn’t have a paragraph above it, so it doesn’t need an indent to separate.

      Hope this helps,
      WD Online Editor


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.