Archive for intern

How to Submit a Manuscript. It’s Simple. I Promise.

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by Sara Lilly

My office is dead. 

I haven’t read anything in days so I thought I’d write for a while. I’ve learned a lot of things from interning at this lit agency, notably: 1) I don’t want to work in publishing and 2) So many “writers” have no idea what they’re doing.

Tell me if this is common sense or not. When you submit your story to an agency, never, I mean NEVER put a dedication, a quote, pictures, or any sort of thing like that in the manuscript. You come off as being an egotistical schmuck. Really.

What’s more is, you are trying to be “hired” by an agent so you better as hell, make sure your manuscript is formatted correctly. I don’t care if you’re a genius; if you show up to a job interview in pajamas and a stained sweatshirt with dirt on your face, you’re not getting the job. If you submit a manuscript ridden with typos, grammar errors and a fucking quote in the beginning–you’re not getting the job!

For writers, this is how you format a manuscript. It’s extremely simple and can be found out simply from googling “How to format a manuscript.” It’s what I googled when I tried submitting. Everyone has their own take on it but this is the basic format:

1) Cover page. In the center of the front page, put the title, your name, and how many words it is. By God, do not put 55,628–round up. 55, 628=56,000.
2) Font. Anything legible works, though the standard is either Times New Roman or Courier New, size 12, double-spaced. Try to go for 250 words per page because that’s the usual in a typical book.
3) Heading. On each page, put your last name and the title of the work.
4) For every new chapter, start a new page.

That’s it. Isn’t that simple? How come people can’t do that? Two other things that irritate the SHIZ out of me (yes, I said shiz) when reading manuscripts:
1) Wrong pop culture references. I was reading something that was trying to allude to the Karate Kid. They misquoted the most famous line as “Wash on, wash off.” It was a smack forehead moment. “WAX on WAX off.”
2) Wrong use of quotation marks. I hope to teach creative writing one day at a college level, and I will make it clear in the beginning of class that if anyone misuses quotation marks, I will take off five points immediately. I’ve seen all of this:
“Hi.” Said Joe Schmoe.
“Hi” said Joe Schmoe.
“Hi said Joe Schmoe.”
“WHAT” cried Joe Schmoe!
“WHAT?” Cried Joe Schmoe.

Note to people who do the above: Read a book.  

I’m mean, aren’t I? Maybe. In other news, Cristiano Ronaldo walked the same street that I do every Thursday and Friday. Except he walked there last Tuesday. Oh snap.