“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
-E.L. Doctorow


Since I started submitting short stories to markets, I found it’s always easier to write, edit, and rewrite the story in a Word document that’s formatted properly. So instead of having to work on the formatting after the story is complete, I can write the story in the correct parameters, hit “SAVE,” and then find a market to send it to.

But there’s a difference in novel formatting and short story formatting. Not a “night and day” difference but more like “night and early evening” difference… They’re related closely but the differences are slight enough to make an impact. For instance, in novel formatting it seems to be common practice for the first page to be the “title page” with absolutely none of the story on it. In a short story manuscript, the first page can hold parts of the actual story.

Here’s a few helpful links I found on how to format a novel manuscript. Not everything said in these links are law (A big “No, thanks” to the two spaces between every sentence suggestion) and there may be slight differences here and there, but I think they all lay a good standard to draw upon. Especially if a publisher offers no specific guidelines, these are sure to guide one wisely.