The Writer's Journey
- Tips -

The Writer's Journey provides free advice on how to format prose and dialogue. Read a few of the basic guidelines you should try to keep to.

Check out these Essential tips on How To Format Your Writing professionally!

how to format your Manuscript Professionally

Before submitting your writing to The Writer's Journey, it will be helpful to read these tips on how to format your writing professionally.

Where possible, please use the professional formatting detailed below. This will not only help your manuscript become more readable, but it will get you into good practice for presenting your writing in the future at industry standard.

How to Format prose

These are a few of the basic guidelines you should try to keep to:

  • Use double-line spacing.
  • Have margins at set at least 40mm (left), 13mm (right), 25mm (top and bottom). In most cases,30mm is the standard word-processor default setting and will be sufficient for my mentoring purposes). Do not justify lines to the right-hand margin.
  • Use a 12-point font size.
  • Use a standard serif font, such as Times New Roman.
  • The first line of every paragraph should be indented, except for the first line in each new chapter or new section.
  • There should usually be no space between paragraphs. The exception is at a change of scene or chapter.
  • A line space between paragraphs indicates a section break, a change of scene and/or viewpoint, or a sign that time has passed. However, the first line of the next paragraph following this line space should not be indented.
  • Asterisks can be used to emphasise a section break that falls at the end of a page and will otherwise be missed by the reader.
  • If sending a physical copy, use good quality standard plain white A4 paper, printing one-sided only.
  • Include a title page; detailing your piece's title; the total word count; your name and contact details (in the top right-hand corner).
  • Number your pages in the header of the document.
  • Makes sure the title and your name appear in the footer of every page.

Here is a brief example of how your prose manuscript should look after following the above guidelines:

A brief example of how to format prose writing following the set out guidlines.

how to format prose dialogue

The most common rules:

  • Each person's speech should begin a new paragraph with an indentation.
  • Single speech marks should be used for all speech and quotes.
  • Double speech marks should only be used when quoting words or phrases within a passage which already has single speech marks.
  • Only use a single space after a full stop.

Here is a brief example of how your prose dialogue should look after following the above guidelines:

A brief example of how to format prose dialogue following the set out guidlines.

FURTHER HELP

If you are having trouble following these formatting standards, please get in touch: Info@thewritersjourney.co.uk

Upon return of your critiqued manuscript, if the above formatting hasn’t been followed I will do my best to return your manuscript to you with the suggested prose formatting, unless you have specifically asked me not to.