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PB Manuscript Help

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Hey, everybody. I'm Jessi.  ::-) I'm very new here and to the writing field. I've always, always, always written for fun, but this is the first time that I've ever decided to submit something. And I couldn't be more excited!

This is my first post, so please forgive me if it is in the wrong place. I'll learn!

I've picked up on a lot of the resources there are available to writers (I'm here, right?). I've got my CWIM. I've just joined a critique group in my area (Non scbwi. Those are ALL full around here.  :P). We haven't met yet, but I'm pumped!

I am having trouble formatting my manuscript for my picture book. I know it needs to be double spaced, but is that double spaced and then an extra return between paragraphs? Are there tabs for the beginning of paragraphs? It looks so messy like that because a lot of mine are one liners! I believe that I have a great concept, but not many of my paragraphs get that long.

I also have art notes that HAVE to be included. I really NEED the picture to tell the story, but besides formatting like this: [art: feeds dog under table] I'm not sure how to include it. Do I make this as a separate paragraph?

Ahhhh. I want this to be perfect (obviously), but being SUCH a newbie I am stressing quite a lot.  :bewildered: I just don't want to be one of the ones tossed at first glance!

Is there anywhere that I can find an example picture book manuscript? I would really like to see one that someone else has done.  ;D
#1 - March 13, 2014, 07:08 PM
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 10:35 AM by jessica-balseca »

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Hi Jessica,

There's nothing to stress about. It sounds like you've got the right attitude. You might want to read some of the essays for beginners on Harold Underdown's webpage. He's been in the business for years and really knows what he's talking about.

http://www.underdown.org/basic-articles.htm

Type your name, address, phone number, and email address in the upper left hand corner. Type your word count like this: Word Count: 500. That goes in the upper right hand corner.

You should number your pages, either at the bottom of the page or in the upper right hand corner.  About half way down, put your title (centered).  Then begin the text. Your header should start at the top of the second page and should look like this: JACKSON -- TITLE

To see an example of proper manuscript format, check out this website:
 
http://www.sfwriter.com/ms.pdf

This isn't a picture book, but it's the exact same formatting.

Here's how I do art notes. There are other ways. This is just the one I use:

(NOTE TO ILLUSTRATOR: The girl is feeding the dog under the table.)

Good luck!
#2 - March 13, 2014, 10:12 PM
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 10:20 PM by Betsy »
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

kara.donohoe

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Hi Jessica,
I'm glad you posted this as only last night I was trawling the net looking for more detailed info on formating manuscript submissions. Betsy your reply was helpful and would have saved me a lot of time last night... at least now I have a better idea of what to do.

Great to have found this community.
Kara
#3 - March 14, 2014, 01:21 PM

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Thank you so much Betsy! Your post was very helpful. I'll check out those links right now!  ;D
#4 - March 14, 2014, 05:33 PM

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Well, Betsy beat me to it, but be sure to look for my article on manuscript formatting....
#5 - March 14, 2014, 06:26 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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HaroldU, your website is VERY helpful. Thank you so much!
#6 - March 18, 2014, 09:23 AM

Betsy is always so helpful.  She's the best.


Harold is too. Devour his site. You'll learn a lot.
#7 - March 19, 2014, 07:24 AM

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Thanks for your kind words, Brian.
#8 - March 19, 2014, 07:59 AM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
OCTOPUSES ONE TO TEN
THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
THE BALLAD OF BOOSTER BOGG
BEASTLY BABIES
TOOLING AROUND

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I have another question.

I have my title at the top of each page, but it is a little bit of a longer one. Should I put an abbreviation of the title, the full long-ish title, or are longer titles bad? I am pretty confident in mine (I know that it could be changed, but I like it a lot).

Thanks again!
#9 - March 19, 2014, 08:37 AM

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IMO you don't have to have your title at the top of every page. Your name and page numbers in case the manuscript gets separated is all you need on all pages other than the first page, where you should have the full title and your contact information.
#10 - March 19, 2014, 06:15 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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That sounds great to me. Thanks again! :)
#11 - March 19, 2014, 07:32 PM

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I appreciate, as well, the helpful links and suggestions. Welcome, Jessica, to the boards. I'm new as well. I posted a bit about myself in the introduction thread. If you get the opportunity to attend any writing conferences, I highly suggest it! I attended my first conference last year, and it was incredibly helpful. I'm looking forward to attending my 2nd conference in a few weeks. Best of luck to you, Jessica.
#12 - March 19, 2014, 07:55 PM
http://www.writingonthesly.blogspot.com/ - My author blog
http://awindowintogrief.blogspot.com/ - My grief journey blog in the loss of our 16yo. son

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Hi, Jessica....  Cynthea Liu has an article at Writing For Children & Teens re: formatting your MS.....

http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/writing-basics/how-to-format-your-manuscript/

She shows step by step. Great info.

Good Luck,
Rita

#13 - March 29, 2014, 05:39 PM

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Thank you, Rita! Great link. :)
#14 - March 31, 2014, 12:30 PM

Very good questions Jessica, thank you.  I too am new and I had the same questions.
#15 - April 06, 2014, 05:40 PM
"I am no longer young enough to know everything"
- Oscar Wilde

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