You are about to send your manuscript to your chosen literary agent or publishing company. You carefully read the requirements for submission and, to your dismay, you notice you are only allowed to send in your first three words.
Ok, perhaps that's a very slight exaggeration. But most likely they only want your first chapter, or your first 3000 words, or a selected chapter from your manuscript. When you work out your first 3000 words, you find it ends two pages before a dramatic, engaging, exciting, disturbing, hilarious event that the agent or publisher simply MUST read!
Your eyes skip down to where the requirements state, "2.5 inch margins, 12 font, double spaced".
"Ah ha!" you think triumphantly. "I will make my margins 2.4" and my font 11.75 and reduce the line spacing by the tiniest, teeniest, fraction of an inch. Then I can fit more in."
They will know. And it just makes you look sneaky, as though you take them for fools.
They are not.
Sadly, your manuscript, equally as good as Tolkien's of course, might be cast aside onto the, "can't follow the rules" junk pile.
If you are planning this kind of desperately devious deed, instead go back and rewrite your first chapter. Make sure that your first chapter reaches into your readers’ chest and grips their heart.
What you are trying to do is win your agent or publisher over by the quality and appeal of your first chapter. If you can’t win them with your first chapter, it needs re-writing.