Vlog#1: Common Formatting Mistakes Young Writers Make

by Laura Michelle Thomas


Having completed the paid feedback emails, I’m ready to take all the stories from the 2013 Junior Authors Short Story Contest to the shredder. But before doing so, I shot this little video (for our new LauraThomasComm You Tube Channel) about some of the most common formatting mistakes I found when judging.

These mistakes are very easy to fix and will make your manuscript look more professional.

6 TIPS for Formatting a Manuscript

There are six main issues to be aware of when formatting a manuscript for submission to a contest or publisher. Your goal is to make their job easy by not only writing a great story, but taking care to follow the generally accepted industry formatting practices. They are:

  1. Put your contact information, title and name at the top of the first page of your manuscript.
  2. Use one-inch margins around all sides.
  3. Use Times New Roman 12pt font.
  4. Break your story up into paragraphs; and start a new paragraph each time a different character speaks.
  5. Show paragraph breaks by indenting by one TAB. Don’t put in unnecessary spaces between paragraphs.
  6. Justify your manuscript to the left side.


If you have a writing question, email me at laura@laurathomascommunications.com and I might just answer it on You Tube.


Laura Michelle Thomas

About Laura Michelle Thomas

Laura Michelle Thomas is a novelist, freelance writer, writing mentor, and the owner of Laura Thomas Communications. She is the creator and administrator of the Junior Authors Contests and Junior Authors Conferences. Laura is publisher and senior editor of jaBlog! and is dedicated to fostering the development of young writers worldwide.

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