Manuscript Format…

Yup, doesn’t get any more basic than that, but so many newer writers have no clue what that even is.

So I made it a requirement of The Great Challenge. I will count your story but not read it if you don’t have your story sent to me in a doc or docx attached file in manuscript format.

A simple Google search will get you what it looks like. In fact, go to this link and there is even a picture of the first page of a manuscript exactly.

I found that link and others with a two second Google search. Oh, the horror…

Point, I do not need courier font, any decent clear font will do. I tend to use New York. If the font looks too small, I bump it to 14 point because readability is more important.

A couple hints… Paragraphs must have indents. And white spaces between paragraphs in fiction means time jump or scene jump.


First off, it is a simple thing that makes you look professional. Duh. It is sometimes the simple things that make a large difference.

Second, the name and address stuff at the top is flat critical. How are we supposed to get a hold of you???

The folks at WMG get mad at me or Kris or any other Fiction River editor who buys a story that is not in manuscript format, with the email at the top left under the name and phone and address.

Why put your name under the title?? Because we write the check to the name in the upper left at the top of the page, we publish the story with the name under the title.

Word count upper right is critical and as an editor one of the first things I glance at. Editors often buy for word count and I want to know the feeling of pacing I should be having when reading a 2,500 word story or an 8,000 word story.

So this first week of challenge, even though I stated it clearly in the rules, I didn’t read a number of stories for manuscript format reasons.

And I didn’t read another because the entire thing didn’t have a paragraph. (Or at least any indents.)

And scanned another one or two because of no depth, all talking heads in the opening.

But still I read some wonderful stories this first week. Great reading. Great fun.

So get the basics correct, folks, when you are sending off your work anywhere. Look and act like a professional.


And yes, a few more spots open in both challenges, novel or short story, and you can start at any time.