How to write a manuscript for a fiction novel

February 9, As a literary agent at Trident Media Group, a plethora nonfiction book ideas come across my desk.

How to write a manuscript for a fiction novel

APA formatting for academic manuscripts is a different animal. Manuscripts should be set up 8. Font throughout should be Times New Roman, 12 pt.

how to write a manuscript for a fiction novel

There are other acceptable fonts, but Times New Roman is a standard in book publishing for its legibility and classic look. Line spacing is double. Type one space between sentences.

Every chapter ends with a page break. Each chapter begins on a new page. All chapter headings should be uniform. If you want to show that a scene changes within a chapter, use a row of three asterisks on an extra line, set on a line by themselves.

An alternative style is to insert a blank line, but a reader can miss this extra line if it falls at the bottom of a page. If you use British, Canadian, or Australian spelling, make a note to the editor to keep it British or to Americanize it.

Manuscripts should be one contiguous file for all text. All content to be included in the finished book, such as Dedication, Acknowledgments, Foreword, Preface, Appendix, and Index, should be included in one file.

This is the traditional order for the more common divisions of a book: Start the header or footer on page two. Having a page reference is helpful when editors and authors correspond.

Published page numbers will, of course, be different. Dash Mechanics One of the more common mechanical problems authors seem to have is with the dash. Dashes can be used instead of commas, parentheses, or colons, and to show interrupted dialogue.

Explore the possibilities

The em dash, often simply called the dash, is the most commonly used. Many authors simply type two hyphens, which Word automatically converts to an en dash most times when typing continues.

To insert a hyphen - use the hyphen key or the minus key. To insert an en dash — press the Ctrl key and the minus key simultaneously. Chicago style prefers the em dash with no space between words. On the far right hand side of the Toolbar, click on Select, then Select All on the drop-down.

The following steps will then apply to the entire manuscript.

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Some publishers prefer no indent and a space between paragraphs. The print manager will add the indents back during print production. Enter Ctrl and the F key simultaneously to bring up Find and Replace. On the drop-down menu, select Advanced Find, then select Special.

In the Find What field, enter a space and, under the Special tab, select the Paragraph mark. It will look like this: In the Replace With field, do nothing.To convert your manuscript’s font to Times New Roman, go to the Home tab on the Toolbar.

On the far right hand side of the Toolbar, click on Select, then Select All on the drop-down. The following steps will then apply to the entire manuscript. Like a general fiction novel, a good target word count for a memoir is 80, words. 70, words is probably too short and , words or more is too long.

Do Word Counts Really Matter?

Manuscript Format for Novels

Well, as publishers matter less and less, in some respects, word counts matter less and less. Writing Spy Fiction with an Unputdownable Plot Manuscript Format: Novel Pages. You should lay out the text of the novel itself out using the following rules: The manuscript should always end with a line saying End, so the literary agent or publisher knows that nothing has gone missing from the manuscript.

A book proposal is required when pitching a manuscript to literary agents or editors in pursuit of landing a traditional book deal.

Similar to a business plan for an entrepreneur, writing a book proposal forces the author to dig in and do some important research while also planning the details of the book.

If you want to get started on your novel right now, and get into these topics in more detail, then check out my multimedia course: How to Write a Novel: From First Draft to Finished Manuscript. “The course gave me the knowledge and motivation to finally turn my novel idea into an actual completed book.”.

How to Write Your Book Outline in Just a Few Minutes ~

NY Book Editors – How to write a darn good query letter – I especially like the bit at the end about the numerous submission of accomplished authors.

J.K. Rowlings got tons of rejection letters. I imagine those literary agents have probably questioned their life choices at this point.

Dorrance Publishing Services