When you prepare your manuscript to submit to an agent or an editor, you want to have it in a standard format. Here is a common example:
Font: Times New Roman, 12 point, 1" margins
Top left of the page, put your real name, (If you're writing under a pen name, the next line put Writing As Pen Name), your address, phone number, e-mail.
Top right of the page, put word count.
Center Title a few lines down from that with your byline
Indent paragraphs (I just use the tab button)
Inner dialogue is in italics
Other dialogue is it's own paragraph, indented five spaces.
This blog might also help. Nathan used to be a literary agent and he's fun to read and really knowledgeable.
But before you submit the manuscript, make sure it shines. Some common things to watch out for are:
Avoid Repetitive words
Do a Find for all the throwaway words like "so" and "look". Do a search for "lY" and see if all the adverbs you have are necessary. A lot of times they can be deleted or replaced with a stronger verb.
Show, don't Tell
To bring your reader into your world, you have to let them figure out things by describing them. This website has a good example: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/show-dont-tell.aspx
Start the beginning off with a hook
This website has some good ideas, just click the ad so it goes away and you can read them. http://writeitsideways.com/6-ways-to-hook-your-readers-from-the-very-first-line/
Avoid cliches like the plague (grin)
You can get away with using one of these (maybe), but not all of them.
Make the Dialogue Count
Your dialogue has to add something to the story. Make sure it's not ho-hum throw away conversations like we have in real life: "Hi." "Hi." "What's up?" "Nothing. Hanging in. How about you?" "OK." etc. While that's how real people talk, you miss an opportunity to add to the story. Here's an essay by a hilarious funny man, Chuck Wendig, with a potty mouth about dialogue. Read with a grain of salt and If you're easily offended, don't read it.: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2010/02/08/characters-make-talky-talky-how-to-write-dialogue-that-doesnt-suck-moist-open-ass/
Another informative post is http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/crafttechnique/tp/dialogue.htm, but it's not as funny :D
That's all I saw on a quick pass. If you would like me to edit more in depth, I can. Reformat it and make some changes and I can go over it with a red pen and make it stronger and tighter.
There's a couple of websites that are great for beginning authors. My favorite site is:
Their Bewares and Backgrounds forum is invaluable for finding out which publishers aren't scam artists and making a good decision on where to send your work. The also cool part is once you've posted fifty times, you can post your work for critique. Their Query Letter Hell forum is both informative and brutal. You really need a thick skin to post their, but it's sooo worth it for the feedback you get out of it.
They also have market information and when you're ready you can use their site to track the manuscripts you send out.
If you don't think you can write a novel, go here! There's a lot of good information and a November challenge to get you started writing.