Know How

ABC Checklist

Formatting a Manuscript – a few basics

Most editors, agents and publishers ask for submissions in an easy to read font. They are not impressed by fancy fonts or strange colours. Using them may make your submission stand out, but not in the way you hope.

Use 12 point Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier, as these are generally considered acceptable.

ABC Checklist

Commas and Colons

If you're ready to submit your manuscript to an agent, make sure it is in the best possible condition. Check it for typos, for spelling errors and above all else for correct grammar and punctuation. Three common areas for mistake are the use of commas, semi-colons and colons. So this document  is provided as a refresher.

Dialogue Punctuation

Punctuation for dialogue is something that beginner writers often get wrong.

When the dialogue tag forms part of a sentence, you should use a comma after the speech, close the quote marks, and use a lower case letter for the tag.

“You drove me to it,” he said.

Notice that in the examples below a lower case letter is used even when it follows a question mark or exclamation mark. This is because the tag is part of the sentence, not separate to it.

Ellipses

Elipses

An ellipsis (…) shows that words or figures are missing from a piece of writing. Beginner writers often use more than three dots, but the correct punctuation is only three, no more and no less.

An ellipsis is often used with quotations. It usually appears in the middle or at the end of a quotation.

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E-Mail Pitch Letters

The phrase 'time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted' has been attributed to various figures throughout history, but when it comes to getting ready for submission to an agent, it couldn't be truer.