1-Different outputs have different requirements. If you want to self-publish research how to make your kindle book or paperback look professional. Most writers first have their work as a manuscript. A manuscript is a version of your work easy to share with agents, publishers, and other writers for peer review.
2-General manuscript format.
Times New Roman, type 12, double spaced, 1 inch page margins. A title page including your real name, address, e-mail and phone number, the word counts of your work, the name and number of your agent (if you have one!) The title of your manuscript. A header on each page of the manuscript that looks like this AUTHORLASTNAME/TITLE/PAGENUMBER for example AMMAN/AN ITALIAN ADVENTURE/1. The title page should not be numbered or included in your page count. Check out the guidelines from the writer’s digest.
- A new character speaks
- You start a new thought
4-Scenes. A change of scene is necessary if the narration moves to a different place or if time goes by (not narrated), or if there’s a change of POV in a multi-POV story. In this case you need to leave a white line or more commonly a white line with the # symbol centered on it or 3 asterisks ***. When the book will be published this will be replaced with prettier symbols.
6-Narration, speech and thoughts. If your narration has a first person POV, you need to differentiate between narration, the things your main character says in “quotes”, and the things your character thinks. This will be italicized.
7-Foreign words will also be italicized.
8-Words that you want to stress because said with emphasis or with an ironic tone will be italicized or underlined in a manuscript format. Be consistent with whatever option you choose.
9-Footnotes are to be avoided at all cost in fiction. Integrate the essential information into the text (unless you’re James Joyce, then go right ahead).
10-Covers and illustrations. If you are thinking to self-publish you will have to find an artist to draw your illustrations or provide them yourself, but if you are looking for an agent or publisher do not provide a cover or an illustration! Very likely they will want to choose them for you. If they are interested in your work this will be a conversation for later. Do not send illustrations with your manuscript unless they are an integral part of your work.
12-Commas. Learn the proper rules of comma-placement by doing your research. If you don’t know what an Oxford comma is, you need to research punctuation more ;)
PS Register for my monthly newsletter to get a monthly summary of writing posts as well as news about my free writing guide (hopefully ready soon!).
Just keep writing ^_^