Tag Archives: formatting a manuscript

Can Your Draft Manuscripts Have Two Spaces after Periods?

Dear Honored Readers:

With the advent of word processing programs, the publishing industry changed the number of spaces after a period. Instead of two spaces after a period, as used with typewriters, they changed it to one space after periods. I was going along with that. I set my Word program to make sure I put only one space after every period.

After an agent requested all manuscripts with two spaces after periods this summer, I was wondering if the rules had changed again and I didn’t know. I did research and discovered that they hadn’t changed the rules. In a published work, one space is put after a period.

However, I found many links that said for draft manuscripts, two spaces after periods is allowed. It gives the editors more space to write their notes. In a comment below, William Shunn pointed out that double-spacing gives more room for editors to write their notes. That is true.  I also read where two spaces after periods is for this same reason. Check guidelines of the editor or agent to whom you are sending your submission. If they have specific guidelines, follow them.

I don’t remember reading this in any of the submission guidelines for publishers or agents, except for the one I had contact with.

My advice is: check the guidelines. If the editor or agent says, put two spaces after periods, do it.

Here are the resources I found, who they were written by and what they said:

MLA (Modern Language Association) Manual one space unless instructor asks for different spacing.

AP (Associated Press) Style Guide says one space after periods.

Chicago Book of Style – one space after periods.

James Felici on Creative Pro.com. One space and excellent explanation.

Pro Blog Service: Started a quandary of people upset about using one space after periods.

MLA one space unless instructor asks for different spacing.

William Shunn: Use two spaces in a draft manuscript: William Shunn in Proper Manuscript Format http://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

Sarah Wiederkehr: AP(Associated Press) Style Book: Use two spaces after a period for a draft manuscript.

Robert L. Bacon: Double Spacing after periods in draft manuscripts.

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Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright 2010 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.