Perhaps better suited to illustrating a post on editing, this depicts a typical page in standard format.
After meandering around, posting excerpts from the Stone Island Sea Stories and talking a little of my publishing progress, today I'm back to talking about writing. Specifically I'll continue with regards to standard format.
But, first things first. In installment number 27, right near the end, I mentioned something about standard margin settings. Looking back on that, it was an error and should have said standard tab settings. That was in reference to indenting for a new paragraph.
While we are typically going to use everyone of the twenty-three or so lines available per page, there are a few times where we won't. We've already mentioned skipping a line to indicate a scene break. (Some folks might want a series of pound signs or asteriks on the skipped line, but in today's world, simply skipping the line is usually sufficient.) Another place where we will have unused lines is on the first page of a chapter. The very top line will have, "Chapter One" centered. If one titiles one's chapters, the chapter name would go on the next line, also centered. At this point, most sources tell us to go down about a third of the page and start the text of the chapter there. Looking at a couple of printed out chapters I happen to have laying around, it looks as if I start the text on the eighth line down. I suppose if I were to get twenty four lines to a page, I'd drop one more and start on the ninth line.
The last page of a chapter is unique as well. Once the chapter ends, that page is finished, even if there are just a few words or a few lines on the page. The next chapter starts on the next page as described above.
There are some difference in the way the first page of a short story are formatted and the way the first page of the first chapter of a novel are formatted. While I will not go into particulars here, the first page of a short story should also contain contact information about the author,etc. The first page of a novel is simply the first page of the first chapter. Instead, with a novel we use a title page, and that should accompany every submission, where it is a partial of a full.
There are a couple of acceptable formats for a title page, but the so called professional one, the one I use, goes something like this.
In the upper right hand corner, the basic classification or, if you will, the genre of the story. On the next line, estimated word count. We wouldn't want to state, 102,679 words. Instead we'd just say 103,000 words. Centered, top to bottom and left to right, the name of the work, and below it the name of the author. If one uses a pen name, it goes there. In the lower right corner is where you would put your contact information. Here you would use your real legal name. Today, contact information would include mailing address, phone number and e-address. (If an agent is submitting your work to a publisher, his or her contact information would be provided there instead.)