Manuscripts should be submitted in 12pt Times New Roman, single-spaced, flush left. We prefer them in Microsoft Word, but will accept and consider all formats including typescript and handwritten.
No indentation; the InDesign desktop publishing program has an auto indent function which will be screwed up by any in the manuscript.
No underlined words; use ital. Book and publication titles in ital; articles and movies with quote marks.
Single space between sentences; no space between paragraphs. Do not use bold for anything in the text. Use ital sparingly for emphasis; never use capital letters for this.
No use of Post Office abbreviations in text. Michigan is Mich., not MI; California is Calif., not CA.
We use the U.S. quote marks system. Single quote marks only within a quoted text. Quote marks denote quotes and shouldn’t be used for irony, e.g., the American “justice” system.
Don’t use quotations from famous writers as an appeal to authority to bolster your argument. Rather, reserve author quotes for unique thoughts that you haven’t developed yourself. Here’s a 1907 quote from Enrico Malatesta which contains a good libertarian sentiment, but would only be cited because its author is a renowned anarchist: “We follow ideas and not men, and rebel against this habit of embodying a principle in a man.” Malatesta implicitly argues against citing him as an authority, and those thoughts such as his can be expressed in your own words.
When quoting, do not list the page number from which it came; that’s for academic papers, not magazine articles. Same with footnotes, bibliographies, and books cited.
The first person narrative should rarely be used; certainly not, “I think,” or, “I believe,” etc. And, limit the use of “etc.!”
Numbers 1-9 should be spelled out, e.g., one to nine. Higher ones should be expressed numerically except when beginning a sentence, e.g., Twenty-one years ago. . .Ellipse need to be like the one following the last sentence with, dot space dot space dot, with the dots abutting the words in between. It’s best to write and edit with the Paragraph sign displayed which is at the top of Word documents.
Clauses should be set off with a long dash—like this—not like – or with two dashes. Word will do it correctly automatically by typing two dashes with no spaces in between the bracketed phrase.
Comma. Always contentious. But a good rule of thumb is Tom, Dick, and Harry, not Tom, Dick and Harry, unless something connects the latter two in the series.
We use the Associated Press Style Book and Libel Guide for answers to questions about what to capitalize and similar quandaries. It doesn’t always agree with other style books, but it’s consistent.
Manuscript Style Sheet updated November 2014