Competition judges, agents, magazines and publishers expect work to be presented in a certain way. Remember:

  • Use wide margins (so that people can scribble comments in them).
  • Use double spacing (except for poetry).
  • Use a simple font - Times New Roman is acceptable to most publishers. The standard font size is 12 point.
  • Chapter starts/major scene changes should begin from left-hand margin; the rest of the work has indented paragraphs. Indentations can be set up using the ruler at the top of the page in Word. Drag the top arrow in slightly to indent the start of each paragraph automatically.
  • If you have 'cut and pasted' from previous work, check that the punctuation is in the same style throughout (eg double or single quotation marks). Single quotation marks tend to be preferred.
  • Number your pages (but not the cover page – page 1 should be the first page of the story).
  • Put the title of the work and your pseudonym in the header or footer in case pages get split up.
  • Never submit your work without a final grammar and spelling edit.
  • Stay within the prescribed word count or length.
  • Never print double-sided.


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