Manuscript Templates

David | Jun 9, 2010 min read

Part of being a professional writer is ensuring your submissions meet format guidelines. William Shunn developed a set of format guidelines, originally published in December 1998 edition of Writers Write: The Internet Writing Journal. He also provides a set of templates on his site, but unfortunately they are only for WordPerfect. I use OpenOffice.

I decided to create my own templates based on his guidelines and offer them here for all to use. I emailed Mr. Shunn several times over the past year to ask permission to post these, and never received a response. I decided to go ahead and offer them anyhow, and if Mr. Shunn objects, I will remove them.

Shunn has three format guidelines: Short Story, Novel, and Poem. While I write poetry for my own amusement, I don’t try to market it, so my templates only include Short Story and Novel. If there’s enough interest in a Poem template, I’ll add it.


  1. Download the zip: Shunn OpenOffice Templates
  2. Extract to any directory. You should see two files: “Shunn Novel” and “Shunn Short Story”
  3. In OpenOffice Writer, select File >> Templates >> Organize from the menu.
  4. In the left-hand pane, double-click “My Templates” from the list.
  5. On the right-hand side, select Commands >> Import Templates….
  6. Browse to the extracted files and select one. It should now appear in the left-hand pane under “My Templates”.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6, selecting the other file.

That’s it! You should now be able create a new document by selecting File >> New >> Templates and Documents. You should now have two new templates listed!

I am also working on a set of templates for Microsoft Word since I sometimes use it as well.

Leave comments if you have questions or suggestions for improvement!

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