m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

about sffms

Sffms is a LaTeX class for printing science fiction and fantasy manuscripts. The files are available here in the class/ directory. See the manual for a fuller introduction to LaTeX and sffms and more detailed instructions. The quick version is below.

The sffms package produces a double-spaced manuscript in a 12-point monospaced font with one-inch margins and running headers of the form Author/TITLE/n, where n is the current page number. On the title page, the author's name and address appear in the upper left corner, the word count and an optional note that the manuscript is disposable in the upper right, and the title and author in the center of the page. For a short story, the text begins four lines below, and for a novel, on the next page. Some publisher-specific variants of the format are also supported, with options for anonymous submissions.

Other features of sffms include an optional single-spaced synopsis, automatic conversion of italics, boldface, and small caps to appropriately underlined text, and a rough automatic word count. Simply by including the nonsubmission option, the same document may be typeset in LaTeX's usual professional way. The non-submission format can be customized without affecting the appearance of the version for submission, allowing the user to print both camera-ready copies and submission manuscripts from a single story file.

You can see some sample input and output in the examples directory. See especially The Country of the Blind [pdf].

Sffms is currently in its sixth public version, 2.1, which includes an option for anonymity, the ability to turn off word counts, and better handling of missing information.

Downloading sffms

You will need to download the files sffms.dtx and sffms.ins.

Depending on your local LaTeX setup, you may also need to download some or all of the following style files: fancyhdr.sty, geometry (geometry.dtx and geometry.ins), setspace.sty, and ulem.sty. They are available here or from http://www.ctan.org/. Use CTAN for up-to-date versions.

Per user request, the most useful files have been zipped for simpler download: [sffms.tar.gz]

Installing sffms

To install sffms:

  1. Place the sffms.ins and sffms.dtx files in the desired directory (either in an appropriate place in your TeX distribution, or in the directory where your manuscript files will be located). If you need the additional style files, they can be put in the same folder.
  2. Run latex on sffms.ins. The files sffms.cls, sffsmart.sty and sffdumb.sty will be created automatically.
  3. Run latex on sffms.dtx. The documentation will be output to the file sffms.dvi or a pdf file, depending on your LaTeX installation.
  4. If necessary, repeat steps 2 and 3 on geometry.ins and geometry.dtx, respectively.

Using sffms

To use sffms to produce a manuscript, make sure you have the following information in the file with your story:

    \title{The Hobbit}
    \author{J. R. R. Tolkien}
    Your story goes here.

That's all it takes. Quotation marks can be handled several ways. More elaborate markup is explained in the documentation.

Bugs & Issues

I think I've squashed all the bugs. I'm still looking for a dumb apostrophe, though.

LaTeX's fixed font has a skinny pitch. Declare the courier option explicitly if you want a real 12pt font.

Your PDF output, if you choose that format, may not look nice on a Mac or with MiKTeX. The quick fix is, again, to use the courier option. See the documentation for details.


sffms is based on sfms.cls by Kevin Russell, as last seen long ago at http://www.crosswinds.net/~prairiesasquatch/sfms.html.

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