OpenOffice Writer

The Writer's Workout accepts submissions in the Chicago Manual of Style (the industry standard) with slight variations.

Formatting is the gift wrapping of your story. It's the presentation; how it looks at a glance. In the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), there are no flourishes or unnecessary symbols. Paragraphs are clean, indented, with no extra spaces. One blank line with no dashes, symbols, or stars signals a scene break. Font is easy to read in Times New Roman or Arial, size 10 or 12.

Some take these steps in advance. This helps them mitigate the time and effort spent reformatting the story or manuscript once the writing and editing phases are finished. Some find it easier to write first and worry about packaging later. Both options work as long as the final product is set to industry standard.

To format in advance, follow the steps for OpenOffice Writer below.

To format after your story is complete, save your work, select all text, and follow the steps for OpenOffice Writer.

Ready to submit your work to The Writer's Workout? Email us at

The Writer's Workout is not responsible for damages that may result from these guidelines. Backup your work externally before you begin and proceed with caution.

While the tools exist to set these options as the default (a "set-it-and-forget-it" method), The Writer's Workout will not discuss these tools due to the potential for file corruption. The Writer's Workout is not responsible for any corrupt, missing, damaged, or misplaced files regardless of your interpretation of this guide. Please proceed with caution.

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Formatting for OpenOffice Writer

    OpenOffice does a good job of following the Chicago Manual of Style in the software's default formatting. This means the program, Writer, is easier to format for most industry standard submissions. Use the four simple steps below to help guide you through the process for OpenOffice Writer.

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Step 1: Font

     Font is the first thing readers notice: is it legible? The Writer's Workout requires Times New Roman or Arial font in size 10 or 12 pt for submissions. Writer's default setting is Times New Roman, 12pt, so you don't have to make changes unless you prefer a smaller font size or Arial font.

     To change the font, look for the wide toolbar across the top of your screen. Click the arrow next to Writer's default font (Times New Roman) and find Arial in the drop-down list. Click to select.

     To change the font size, click the arrow next to the sizing menu (default: 12), choose 10 pt, and click to select. Your font and size is now set, save your document. Move on to the next step.

Step 2: Paragraphs and Line Spacing

     Formatting paragraphs has proven the most complex challenge for Writer's Games participants in general—it seems more complicated than the Events themselves. Ignore your fears, take a deep breath, and understand that paragraph formatting is not as difficult as it looks.

     Unless you have changed the default paragraph settings in OpenOffice Writer, the default is most likely correct. You should check the settings to be sure.

     From the top bar of Writer, choose 'Format' then "Paragraph..." to access the settings menu pictured. Make sure each line is set to 0 or 0.00". Set 'Line Spacing' to "Single". Before you click OK, consider the keys you touch as you type normally. If you are already in the habit of pressing the TAB key to start each paragraph, these settings are perfect and you can click OK (and move to the next step). However if you normally rely on the software to indent your paragraphs, go to the "First Line" space in the 'Indent' section and type 0.5". This will allow the software to indent your paragraphs for you and is a perfectly acceptable formatting option for CMS.

Remember that paragraphs should NEVER  be indented using the space bar.

Step 3: Margins

     Margins in OpenOffice Writer are most definitely not industry standard. By default, margins are set to 0.79" which gives you more room within the body of the document to type, but isn't helpful for people who need to eventually submit a file. From the top bar of Writer, choose 'Format' then "Page..."to access the settings menu pictured.

     In the 'Margins' section, set all four sides to 1.00" to comply with industry standard. Ensure your page size is set to 8.5" wide by 11" tall. This is the default page size for this software. 

Step 4: Scene Breaks 

     CMS celebrates the words. There are no added flourishes, pictures, or symbols in a properly formatted CMS manuscript. Therefore, scene breaks are always designated by a single blank line. Adding a line of stars, hyphens, or other anything else to "help" offset or introduce a new scene is a CMS NO! When changing scenes, simply press the Enter or Return key twice, then start typing your new scene.

    Save your work, you're finished formatting!

Submission Checklist Recap

Formatting for Submission to The Writer's Workout


  • Times New Roman or Arial

  • 10 or 12 pt

Single spaced


  • set at 1"

  • empty on all sides


  • indented at 0.5" using the Tab key OR auto-indent feature

  • NEVER indented using the spacebar

  • NEVER a combination of Tab key AND auto-indent

  • no extra space between paragraphs

  • one blank space between scenes

  • NEVER fill scene breaks with symbols

 Title Information

  • at the top of the document body

  • aligned left

  • Name or Pseudonym

  • Title

  • Event name (Games entries only)

  • Exact word count