Posted by: nancycurteman | June 15, 2019

How to Format Your Mystery Novel

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Every mystery writer should master the critical art of formatting a novel. Why? Because a well-written story will get lost in a poorly formatted writing piece. Instead of focusing on the twists and turns in your mystery, a reader will end up being distracted by inconsistent margins and fonts, unclear scene breaks, incorrect chapter headings and page numbers to mention a few common formatting errors. Here are some basic formatting tips:

Margins: Exterior margins (top, bottom, and outer edge of page) should be set at one half to three quarter inch.  The “gutter” (part of page that is bound) should be set at one inch so when the book is bound, all the inside print will be visible.

Font: Body text should be black, twelve point, Times New Roman font. Only use a larger font size for your title and chapter headings.

Page Numbers: Place your page number at the bottom on the outside each of the  page. No page numbers on the title page.

Headers: Place the author’s name on the left side of even-numbered pages and the book title on the right side of odd-numbered pages. No headers on the title page.

Title and Author Page: Center your title about half way down the page. Double space and add your author name.

Chapters: New chapters begin on odd-numbered pages. Use bold text.

Scene breaks: Insert two or three blank lines for new scenes

Justification: Justified text adds a tailored look to your novel.

Indents: New paragraphs need half-inch indentions.

Formatting your novel will ensure the presentation of your novel will not include any errors that will distract your readers from enjoying your mystery. For a more in-depth explanation of formatting see: How to Format a Novel


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