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How to Format Short Stories

    • 1). Set your page margins to 1 inch on each side, top and bottom of the page. Each page should be double-spaced to make it easier for the editor to read your story.

    • 2). Choose a font that is easy to read. The most widely used and accepted fonts are Courier and Times New Roman, but you can choose a different font if it can be easily read.

    • 3). Type the author's name, address, phone number and email address within a single-spaced block in the upper left corner of the first page only. An agent's name and contact information can be included below the author's information.

    • 4). Round the word count to the nearest 10 and type this in the upper right corner of the first page, directly across from the author's contact information.

    • 5). Type the title of the short story in a font slightly larger than the size of the font used for your story's text. The title should be centered and written about halfway down the first page, providing plenty of room between the title and the author's information.

    • 6). Skip two lines and center the author's name in the byline under the title of the story, using the same size font as the rest of the text. The author's name should be written as it would appear if published, so include your pen name here if you are using one.

    • 7). Skip two more lines and enter the text of your short story in regular size font and use double spacing throughout the manuscript. Align the text on the left size of the page and ensure that there is enough room for approximately 10 words, or 60 characters, on each line.

    • 8). Indent each paragraph with five spaces or use your keyboard's tab key. An extra space is not needed to indicate a new paragraph.

    • 9). Leave two spaces after the period between sentences to ensure that the editor is aware of new sentences.

    • 10

      Include a header on the second page that lists the author's real surname, title of the story in all capital letters and the page number of the manuscript. If the title of the story is long, use a keyword in capital letters instead of the full title.

    • 11

      Indicate scene breaks by including a pound sign (#) between each scene. Italics should be indicated by underlining to guarantee that the editor notices the italicized text.

    • 12

      Print your short story on one side of each sheet of 8.5- by 11-inch good-quality, white paper.

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