Formatting Guide

The Worcester Review Manuscript Preparation Instructions

To help us in preparing your work for layout, please carefully apply the following formatting and grammatical rules to your poem or story.

As an all-volunteer team, we need your help to be sure we can present the highest quality final product and to ensure we do not introduce errors to your line breaks or spacing when preparing the manuscript for layout.

While some items here are specific to us, such as italicizing contributor names, other things, like how to format a dash, are just good practices for writers. While submitters do not have to format manuscripts as follows, submitters may find the general guidelines helpful in polishing work for submission.

Guidelines that are specific to The Worcester Review

  • Use Times New Roman font size 12.
  • Italicize contributor name at the top of the page. Be sure your name appears exactly as you want it to appear in the publication, and exactly as it appears in your contributor bio. 
  • Skip a couple of lines and then make title bold. Just make the font bold, no need for all caps. Skip a couple of lines between the title and text.

Guidelines that are general good practice for writers and that we hope our contributors will follow:

  • Please do not use the tab key to indent paragraphs or lines of poems. Here's how: 
    • For prose, in your word processor, in the paragraph menu, be sure that the line spacing is set to 1, and that space before and after paragraphs is set to 0. Be sure “first line” is selected under paragraph styles in order to indent each new paragraph (Open the paragraph menu on the home toolbar to accomplish this).
    • For indentations in poetry, we'd prefer you use the space bar to the desired indent
  • Do not leave extra spaces between paragraphs. The indentation is all that is needed to signify a new paragraph. Fiction writers, if you wish to indicate a section break between paragraphs, please do so by placing three asterisks centered on the line between the paragraphs in question.
  • One space only between sentences.
  • Normally poems are single spaced. If a poem requires a different spacing, use the ENTER key each time you are moving to a new line. 
  • Be sure that all dashes are properly formatted em dashes. They look like this:

You format them by typing a word, then typing two hyphens with no spaces between the word and the hyphens, then typing the next word and hitting the space bar. Magically an em dash appears.

Here are some WRONG examples. Avoid any of these!

word – word
word - word
word-- word
word –word

  • Make sure any ellipses are formatted as three simple dots. Add a fourth dot if the ellipsis ends the sentence. No extra spaces between dots.
  • Periods and commas go inside quotation marks. Colons, semicolons, questions marks and exclamation points, unless original to the quotation, go outside. This is MLA style.
  • Always use double quotation marks unless you have a quotation within a quotation (the interior quote is shown with single quotation marks).
  • Follow the simple grammatical rules for writing out numbers, times, etc. For more on numbers, dates, decades:
  • Just say yes to the Oxford, or serial, comma.
  • For possessives, follow the New York Times style. For singular nouns that end in -s, add an apostrophe -s, for example, James’s car, unless the name is biblical or from antiquity, for example, in Jesus’ name.
Submitting scholarly articles? We use MLA style.