Questions about text appearance: styling, placement, fonts, indents, bullets.

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38
votes
16answers
5k views

Should you use two spaces after a period, or just a single one?

I had heard some debate on this topic, and I had always learned to use two spaces after a period. But it would seem there is an argument against it. However, I do not understand what the issue is ...
12
votes
8answers
3k views

How should I break up chapters in a novel?

Is it acceptable to pace my chapters in terms of an event? Can I get away with a 4 page chapter here, and a 30 page chapter there? Are there any reason why I should or should not be sticking to a ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Writing a programming book: how to present directory structures

What is good/preferred way of presenting directory trees in programming books? My main criteria are following: It should be readable and intuitive It shouldn't take too much page space It ...
11
votes
3answers
326 views

Best e-book formatting process?

The question I would like to ask is this: does anyone else have their own process (or one borrowed from elsewhere) that they use for formatting and then creating their e-books? Are you using other ...
10
votes
6answers
13k views

Should I indent the first line of the first paragraph in a chapter?

I was reading a thesis report of a friend and I noticed that he didn't indent the first line of the first paragraph in each chapter. I don't remember noticing it anywhere before until I saw it there ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the best way to show a foreign language in a manuscript?

What's the best way to show a character speaking a foreign language in fiction manuscript? Should the foreign words be italicized and include a translation? Should it just be included in the sentence ...
9
votes
5answers
805 views

When should a chapter end?

When writing a novel, when should I end a chapter? Note that I'm not talking about chapter word-count (that topic was discussed here). I'm interested to know when should I end my chapters ...
8
votes
5answers
802 views

How should dialog be formatted?

Is there any "official" rule that I should keep in mind when formatting character dialog? Line breaks, placement of quotes, mixing dialog with action descriptions etc. For example, I want to build a ...
8
votes
4answers
12k views

How many pages would my manuscript be in paperback?

Say I have a 100 page manuscript in Courier, 11pt, double-spaced. How many paperback pages is this roughly equivalent to? Is there a better font/spacing to use?
8
votes
5answers
492 views

How does one present spoken dialogue as a secondary language to signed speech?

I was starting to leave a comment on this excellent question when I realized I had come up with a second question which was equally intriguing. If you're writing a story where 95% of the ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the best practice for displaying a personal website url in a resume?

Like most veteran coders in the IT industry, I have an out-of-date website that I use to link to different activities I'm involved with online, like Twitter and Stack Overflow. Up until now, I haven't ...
8
votes
2answers
443 views

How does one include sign language in a dialogue?

If one character is using sign language and lip reading while the other is speaking normally, how do you represent the lines of the former? Quotations with "he signed" attribution or italics? E.g. ...
8
votes
2answers
448 views

Overuse of bullet points

I collaborate with someone who insists on making every sentence (or two) in a business document into a bullet point, by prefacing it with a bullet. This is typically done across a multi-page ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

What's the indent rule of poetry?

I've seen people indent their poems like below: Writing on wall It was just plane writing on wall I must have taken it a serious call She was on and off repeating same thing There was ...
7
votes
4answers
226 views

What's a clear way to simulate web text in a story?

My novel includes excerpts of things like text from websites, tweets, and internet chats. I'm using Courier for the main novel font. Does switching to a san serif font make sense to represent the web ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

Very simple markup language for writing fiction

I'm using a plain text editor (Vim) to write a fiction piece (chapter book), and I'm wondering what markup languages others use for such a task? I'm looking for something exceedingly simple, it does ...
7
votes
4answers
129 views

Formatting for stage, television, and the silver screen

What are the formatting rules for scripts? Are there significant variations? What differences are there between stage plays, television, and movies?
7
votes
3answers
452 views

Converting ms-word to ebook vs. writing from scratch?

Can anyone, who has any experience with writing ebooks, recommend a way for me to proceed? I have a book in Microsoft Word heavy on mathematics: formulas (inline), equations (numbered) and diagrams. ...
7
votes
4answers
408 views

Do any ePublishing systems honor fixed poetry formatting?

As per this article in the Huffington Post, the Kindle discards many kinds of poem formatting. I use a lot of white space, couplets, triplets, and long lines that cannot break. The Kindle wraps text ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

When should one use a section sign (§)?

I recently asked this on English.SE. My question was closed but there was a suggestion to post here. To be clear, the "section sign" ยง is \S in LaTeX, § in HTML and Compose+s+o in the X ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Should a novella have chapters?

Is it appropriate to use chapter breaks in works shorter than novel-length? I feel as though the text requires breakpoints peridocially, and if it were a novel, I'd place chapter breaks there, but in ...
5
votes
5answers
248 views

Using LaTex medium to enhance writing

I asked my Calculus Professor for a recommendation. He said, "Sure. No problem. But write me an essay about yourself and since you're a computer guy, do it in LaTeX." Now I've never used LaTeX ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

When should I use punctuation with bullets?

When writing bulleted items, what are the rules for placing periods? Presumably bulleted items that aren't sentences wouldn't require punctuation: Orange Apple Banana But how about sentence ...
5
votes
5answers
22k views

What is the proper way to write time in a manuscript?

I haven't been able to find an answer to this question for a while now. What is the proper way to write time in a manuscript? I'm referring mostly to A.M. and P.M. Should it be written in caps? With ...
5
votes
2answers
983 views

What is the proper way to write a date containing two days in a row?

I have a presentation that will go from August 4th to the 5th. On my title slide I'd like to list the dates in the most concise and simple way possible. What's the best style? I currently have: ...
5
votes
2answers
84 views

Script Writing as it pertains to TV and Radio lines

If a Radio or TV needs to be audible. How is that written in a Script? Is it written like the characters, or is written in the description in parentheses?
5
votes
2answers
142 views

What's the proper way of formatting writing from a character in a novel?

I'm writing a story that constantly shows what the characters are writing. I would like to know how to format that. Right now I'm doing it like this (please ignore the grammar, it is a rough draft): ...
5
votes
1answer
73 views

Front Matter in a Work in Two Volumes

I am writing a thesis, and the material of said work naturally splits into two self-consistent volumes. Which front matter (abstract, preface, dedication, synopsis, table of contents, list of ...
5
votes
2answers
192 views

How can I prevent, or work around, unfortunate hyphenation in critical words?

In technical documentation, sometimes the tool's automatic hyphenation makes a bad break in the middle of a term, like the name of an environment variable or function. In these cases I would rather ...
4
votes
5answers
379 views

Do empty pages need a number?

I would like to start each chapter on the right side of the book, as there are few chapters with a different point of view. I know numbering has to continue on the white page which might appear in ...
4
votes
3answers
265 views

How to indicate emphasis in plain text manuscripts

Some short story markets (e.g. Daily Science Fiction) request manuscripts in plain text. How do you indicate emphasis in a plain text manuscript?
4
votes
1answer
388 views

Bullets vs. Numbering: which to use when?

A writer can either choose to use bullets or else stick to conventional (or in certain cases non-conventional) numbering. Are there set guidelines about when to use what? Is the use of numbering ...
4
votes
5answers
930 views

What are the advantages of different date formats in resumes and CVs?

I've seen a somewhat related question, but it doesn't answer my question quite right. Say you're writing an event that happened on a single day, and you need to put it in your resume or CV. So how ...
4
votes
4answers
193 views

Is there such a thing as the “master copy” of a book?

The process for movies and music is pretty well-known and thoroughly documented on Wikipedia. You shoot a movie, edit it and then you produce a "master copy" from which all later copies of the movie ...
4
votes
2answers
61 views

Do you bold punctuation directly after bold text?

Do you bold punctuation directly after bold, linked or italic text?
4
votes
4answers
180 views

Are there straightforward instructions for MS WORD 2013 for numbering in different formats, yet maintaining a chronological count?

I have a master's thesis in the humanities undergoing its final throes before readers' examinations. The university's formatting rules are, understandably, very strict and, unfortunately, demand a ...
4
votes
5answers
405 views

What software can handle both revision control and layout?

I'm desperately looking for a book publishing solution that can handle revision control and layouts. My issues/requirements are as follows: Typists are extremely non-technical and I would like to ...
4
votes
3answers
673 views

Best markup language for a little story?

I'm writing a story in plain text using Vim text editor. It doesn't contain big tables, images. However, there will be short listings of source code in several programming languages and syntax ...
4
votes
4answers
191 views

How can I consistently distinguish among tables, fields, and records in a database?

I am describing a database for a scientific publication. The database has many tables, and each table has fields (spreadsheet columns) and records (rows). I spend a lot of time discussing tables and ...
4
votes
3answers
303 views

Background speech with foreground dialogue

A few days ago, I stumbled upon an issue of the type; meaning I had two characters talking between themselves and another character talking in the background; actually delivering a speech. What the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Help Formatting for Kindle Direct Publishing on Mac?

I'm taking up the task of publishing some content to Kindle. I've been reading up on their documentation and been trying to get something to show up in the Kindle Previewer App, using a combination of ...
4
votes
3answers
142 views

What symbols are used after difficult words in a text to refer a reader to a glossary for a definition?

What symbols used after difficult words in a text to refer a reader to a glossary for a definition? I'm really looking for the most commonly used / accepted symbols and I am wondering whether ...
3
votes
3answers
130 views

Formatting blog posts like the pros

I am new to writing. I have seen Jeff Atwood's blog and I am really impressed how he writes. I have seen a similar manner on wordpress docs too. I am still confused with some issues while writing. ...
3
votes
4answers
936 views

Using “Ends.” to indicate the end of a document

I recall seeing the word "Ends." placed at the end of documents to indicate that, obviously, nothing else follows. Is this acceptable standard usage? It feels rather archaic (not that that's ...
3
votes
2answers
965 views

How do you write a character's internal monologue?

I've seen two main methods of writing a character's inner monologue One is to use italics Dean is being silly thought Sam Another is to quote the text "Dean is being silly" thought Sam Or you could ...
3
votes
3answers
175 views

Do writers use highlighting to clarify ideas in their work in progress?

In programming we often use syntax highlight in order to have a better picture of what the role of particular bits of code is (using different colours). I wonder if writers do something similar - ...
3
votes
2answers
585 views

How best to format a novel written in Markdown

I want to use a text editor (Emacs) to write a novel because I don't want to consider page layout and other similar issues. I want to use the Markdown format so that I can convert it to the docx ...
3
votes
2answers
741 views

How should I format a non fiction book with Scrivener?

I have written mainly novels in Scrivener, and am now thinking of writing a small non-fiction work (which I will self publish). When writing a novel, you just keep typing til you reach the end, but ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

From Markdown to .odt and vice-versa: a possible distraction-free writing workflow?

I'm writing a master thesis (Sociology) and I'm really penalized by distractions. I would happily shift to a markdown full-screen environment but I wrote an half of the thesis in .odt via LibreOffice, ...
3
votes
3answers
316 views

Declaring short forms in an essay

I'm writing a critical review of two essays for a university class. Both of these essays have fairly long names. The essay begins like so... This essay will compare The Propaganda of Saints in the ...