If you are sending out oodles of partials of your manuscript, or posting overseas regularly, or printing out multiple copies for your own editing needs, then you may care to have a parallel version of your master MS ready to go in ARC format.
It is closer to what we’re accustomed to reading from the bookshelves, it uses less paper and (therefore) will be cheaper to post.
View a Word version of the ARC layout.
ARC format has many similar formatting features to a regular manuscript format. You still:
- start new chapters 1/3 way down the page
- put the first word or two in uppercase.
- indent 5 spaces (about 1cm).
- leave a blank line or use *** to indicate a section break.
- use white, 80gsm paper.
- put your title, surname and page number in the top right hand header.
Breaks & Fonts
But there ends the similarities. In the case of ARC you:
- Change the page layout to ‘landscape’ (wider than it is tall)
- Change margins to 1.5 all round
- Change the font to a 12 point proportional one such as Times New Roman
- Change the line-spacing to single
- Change the justification to fully justified
- Format the text into two columns of equal width
- New chapter on next available column (not necessarily over leaf) – like a printed book
- Don’t worry about the number of characters in a line or the number of lines to a page. Wordcount is not the purpose of ARC format.
Now, it’s up to you whether you want to maintain one version of your manuscript and then mess around with changing it back and forth between regular and ARC formatting. Seems like an easy way to make a mistake, to me.
The alternative means that any changes you make to your MS you have to remember to make on your ARC copy as well.
It should (in theory) be fine to send your first three chapters (known as a ‘partial’) in ARC format to a publisher or agent for consideration. They won’t be doing any copy-editing on that so they shouldn’t need it in the full manuscript formatting…yet. But you wouldn’t send the whole story in ARC formatting unless requested specifically.
Finally, take your time to fiddle with the ARC version for readability prior to sending it out anywhere that matters. You want to make sure you don?t have any ‘widows’ (single words or lines on a new page) and that all formatting issues are tidied up.