Manuscript and Email Formatting Guidelines

ATTENTION: Submissions will not be considered if our Submission Coordinators notice that you’ve missed any details from the guidelines below and on our main Submission Guidelines page. Use the template and check every item to ensure that your submission has the best chance for success.

Manuscript Formatting Guidelines

We only accept Microsoft word documents (.doc or .docx). We encourage authors to download and use this MS Word template, which contains the proper formatting as outlined below. (If you do not have MS Word, you can import the template into Google Docs and use their free word processing interface.)

In the upper left-hand corner of the document, include:

  • Your name as you would like it to appear in print
  • Your contact information (phone number, email address, and mailing address)
  • The title of your story
  • The word count (excluding the title, your name, and your contact information)

The body of your story should be:

  • Double-spaced
  • Size 12 black Times New Roman font
  • 1” page margins
  • Indented to 0.5″ using the ruler / paragraph settings (not a tab or five spaces)

Email Formatting Guidelines

SUBJECT LINE – Please use the following format for the subject line of your submission email:

SPARK SUBMISSION-<your last name>-<story title>-<month/theme>

Example: SPARK SUBMISSION-McKee-Best Knight Ever-September/Senioritis

BODY OF EMAIL – Include the following in the body of your submission email:

  • Your first and last names (NOTE: If you use a pen name, we need both your real name and your pen name, please.
  • The file names of the attached documents (in case your email and its attachment get separated)
  • For multiple submissions, please send separate emails


Send your story as an email attachment, NOT in the body of the email.

Name your file using this file name format: <your last name>—<story title>—<theme> Example: McKee—Best Knight Ever—Senioritis.doc

Now that you know how to properly format your manuscript, see our Submission Guidelines page for where to send it!