Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 13, 2014

Formatting Novel Manuscript Example


This illustration to help us celebrate Valentine’s Day was sent in by Michlle Kogan. Michelle is an illustrator/painter/instructor and writer from the Chicago area. Here is her website: . Her cards are available in her Etsy shop –


I asked Kit Grindstaff if she still had the manuscript for her THE FLAME IN THE MIST, hoping that it would help some of you see how it was formatted. Please note, I cut as much of the borders away, so you could read it better. You should always use one inch borders all the way around and the preferred font is Times New Roman at 12pt. Kit used a title page and these are still being used, but most editors will tell you that you can skip the title page and start you text about a third way down the page.

Please note the page numbers and name and title in the header on each page. Show new paragraphs by indenting the first line of the new paragraph by five spaces. Also, note that each time a new person speaks in the dialog, that is indented and placed in a new paragraph and all the lines are double spaced.

When you start a new chapter, start on a new page. Though I have seen writers, just drop down a half a page. The reason for starting on a new page is to give the reader(editor or agent) a place to take note and make comments.

Use high quality 8 1/2 x 11 inch white paper and only print on one side of the paper and do not staple the pages together. On page 6, Kit showed a scene break by centering a # sign. She could have also used a *. Always check the submission guidelines to make sure if the publisher wants you to follow the Standard Formatting Guidelines. Occasionally, you might be asked to format your manuscript using other standards.



NOTE: When sending in a first page for critique, you follow most of the guidelines, but you start at the top of the page, so you can get 23 lines on the page.

If you write rhyming picture books, you don’t have to indent, but you still double space your text and run the text down the left side of the page. Hope this helps.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy (bracing for another snow storm. Hope everyone stays safe and warm.)


  1. Thanks for sharing this. Just linked to it on my writing wiki.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not fair – you’ve hooked me on reading the rest! Will have to run out and get the book!
    Thanks for sharing thou – will help with formatting my novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for writing it down..very useful #


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