Formatting your essay, article, story, or poem can make or break your professional image.
While some publications will have their own guidelines, or break from tradition for a new look (even this blog template demands the new look), here are some basics you can trust as generally acceptable.
- Your article, essay, or story should need to be double-spaced prior to editing. The editor can determine spacing after that. Thus, any submission to a continued process requires double-spacing, and the big caveat is this: Do not Double-double, which leaves giant unnecessary 4-line blocks between paragraphs! Instead, just indent a half-inch or 5 spaces at the beginning of each paragraph and double-space entirely.
- Size 12 for normal text. Titles can be size 14-16 and centered at the top. Headings are size 14 and placed at the left margin.
- Times Roman font saves space over Arial. All the rest are too artsy and not for business.
- Number pages if there are more than two.
- No more double-“enters” after each sentence, like back when we typed on a typewriter. Technology will do that for you now.
- Use the word, not digits, for numbers in a sentence, unless it is a journalistic article, or over two digits long.
- Do not capitalize for emphasis. Italicize instead. You may also italicize when the content deviates in some artistic way, for example, a letter within a story.
- Station all graphics or additional media after the first paragraph and before the last.
- It is popular to break up your writing into manageable bites or paragraphs; today’s readers are easily overwhelmed by large chunks of text. Don’t go overboard in either direction though.
- Place the writer biography, called a “shirttail”, around 75 words, at the bottom, written in third-person. This is for journalistic articles only.
We will discuss the format of poetry, and specifically free verse poems next Friday! Have an awesome weekend, my friends!