SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

How Do You Format Poetry Manuscript?

Discussion started on

Me again!

How do you normally format poetry manuscripts?  Do you keep your poems single-spaced or double?  Do you keep the poem portion to the left margin while the title is centered?  What do you do?

Thanks!
#1 - September 05, 2013, 07:29 PM

I don't know what the rule is, but for the short little poems I've submitted to High Five, I double space and center them.  For the 400 word poem for Spellbound, I aligned it left, double spaced, and indented every other line.
#2 - September 05, 2013, 08:38 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
I don't know the rule either, but I've generally aligned them left and double spaced unless the type of poem had a set format that was different.
#3 - September 06, 2013, 06:37 AM

Chief Administrator
Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region inlandnw
I have always submitted my poetry stories by centering the title, aligning on the left, double spacing them with an extra space between verses. I've been told that while it's permissible to single-space poetry, editors still prefer to see them double-spaced because it leaves more room for them to write editorial notes. Also, it's a wee bit easier on the eyes and anything I can do to make an editor's life easier is good with me.
#4 - September 06, 2013, 06:49 AM
Verla Kay

Blueboard Problems? Use the Contact A Moderator link in the menu at the top of the message board.

Thank you for the helpful answers, guys!    ;D
#5 - September 06, 2013, 07:31 PM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region austin
Interesting.

I run a poetry chapbook contest with about 1000 entries a year.

I open every single file to check that it is okay before bundling them to send to round one judges. I don't think I saw any instances of double spacing in the manuscripts, even by those who got disqualified by sending a single poem instead of forty pages.

Pretty much everyone put the poems in single-space stanzas, with double spacing between the stanzas, and either left the title left justified or centered it.

These entries included Pushcart Prize winners, authors of multiple volumes of poetry, and professors with a long publishing history.

I'm just throwing this out there since I happen to see so many. I definitely prefer to see the poems in this format. I'd be very confused if I saw the stanzas double spaced and then four spaces between them -- that's way too airy for me. I guess if you were submitting one single poem it wouldn't matter that much either way.
#6 - September 07, 2013, 07:58 AM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction

Chief Administrator
Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region inlandnw
The manuscripts I'm describing sending are for stories-in-rhyme - picture book texts, or short stories-in-rhyme for inclusion in a magazine. TexasGirl. Guess I wasn't clear enough in my previous message. I can certainly see your point for your kinds of submissions.
#7 - September 07, 2013, 08:08 AM
Verla Kay

Blueboard Problems? Use the Contact A Moderator link in the menu at the top of the message board.

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region austin
Ah, yes, that makes sense.
#8 - September 08, 2013, 08:34 AM
Author of iPad apps, MG books, and women's fiction

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region sfnortheastbay
I've submitted poetry to publishers and magazines. My first three books (2 board and one picture) are rhyming. I always double space the stanzas and then put the four lines between stanzas.  I can see where something that is forty pages long would be an exception to that, but as a general rule: what Verla said.
#9 - September 08, 2013, 01:18 PM
Legend of The Beaver's Tail '15
Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts,  '16
Moo La La! Cow Goes Shopping, '17
Piece by Piece, '17

Thanks, guys!  I always get confused when it comes to formatting for poetry.  I feel it is much clearer now!   ;D
#10 - September 09, 2013, 05:33 PM

I get a large charge out of writing poetry for kids and rhyme is my favorite style of text for PB's. It seems to me that there are a couple of commonly accepted formats for poetry submissions. Both are double spaced with an extra double space between stanzas. It's okay to center your title with the body of your poem also centered, or you can align your title and the body of your poem with the left margin.

I've seen poems in which the first letter of the first word in every line is capitalized regardless of whether or not the line is a continuation of a sentence. And I've also seen the first letter of the first word on a line left in lower case because it is the continuation of a sentence. I believe either approach is acceptable.

I'm sure there are some other acceptable variables regarding format.   
#11 - September 22, 2013, 05:59 PM
Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me. - THE POLAR EXPRESS

http://www.robertkarrick.com

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.