Work Coming to the Office (This Afternoon), and Formatting Samples You MUST Review


I have gone through a lot of the work you’ve submitted and made both editorial markings in the text, and comments (on most pieces).

The one thing I need to stress to you, above all else, is that while you cannot control your command of English, you certainly can control the formatting. I’m afraid that most of the work submitted to me in this class so far looks nothing like how work should be formatted.

Therefore, though I did provide you with guidelines at the beginning of semester, I’m going to give you some specific examples of manuscript format for the forms you’re working in. (Don’t worry about including your address — your name, student number, and email should suffice.)

Here is a sample for Short Story manuscript format, provided by William Shunn. For those of you writing fiction or creative nonfiction, this is the place to go. Shunn’s guidelines are clearly explained, but even better, the explanation is formatted in exactly the way you need to format your writing. So read it carefully, but also look at it. Your manuscript should look like this too!

Here is a sample of the standard manuscript format for screenplays. You will notice two things:

  1. it looks very different from the format for fiction manuscripts.
  2. it begins in the middle of a long screenplay, unlike the fiction writing sample.

The second problem is solved simply: just see the fiction formatting guide for what to put on the first page. For our class, the format will be the same for both fiction/creative nonfiction and screenplays — all the way down to the title and byline (ie. by Chang Soohee, the line under the title).

You should also read Shunn’s format sample for fiction to see more about things like font size, fonts usable, and so on. The screenwriting format sample doesn’t explain as much as Shunn’s example does for those kinds of things.

As for the first problem — of how to get the formatting right in a screenplay — you have two choices: you can

  • spend hours and hours formatting your file in a regular word processor, or
  • use some screenwriting software to get the format right for you.

Some screenwriting software is expensive, of course, but there is a very good, free, and legal alternative, called Celtx. The program allows you to make a list of characters, include pictures of actors you’d like to cast, and all kinds of other information that can help you organize a bigger screenplay. It might take a little while to learn to use it, but if you are trying to get a screenplay written in the right format, it does a lot of the work for you, once you know what you’re doing.

You can get Celtx from the Celtx website.

One more thing, everyone. If you are using the Hangeul Word Processor (HWP) you unfortuately will have more trouble formatting your work correctly. The Haansoft company doesn’t seem to have a good understanding of what “double space” means for English-language text, and “double space” in HWP comes out looking like 1.5 space. Also, the way HWP formats some punctuation makes it look bad when printed with English fonts, and there’s the additional problem that when using HWP, you might forget to choose an English-appropriate font. (Latin-alphabet text, like English, when printed in Korean fonts looks awful, so please don’t use it.)

If you don’t have a copy of MS Word, I can recommend you a free Open-source word processor called OpenOffice that will do basically everything you need. (It even has English spellcheck and so on.) You can get a copy of OpenOffice here.

I expect that your midterm submissions will follow the sample formats exactly, especially since, as I am warning you now, appropriately following the format will be part of what I consider when formulating your grade on the submission.

I also expect that all of your written work will follow the appropriate format, or work will be returned immediately (and resubmitted late) or will lose marks.

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