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67

In short, this is a disagreement based on technological generations. When everyone was handwriting things, there was no issue - the space after a period was however large the writer thought looked good. But with the first generation of typewriters, a decision had to be made. These were monospace typewriters, and with fixed spacing it was considered ...


40

Very compelling answer to this question on Slate last month. One space is correct, two is wrong. It's not a matter of preference. Two is wrong. Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It's one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion ...


16

Chapter length is often about pace. This can apply to a single chapter (i.e. ending on with a cliffhanger), but it can also apply to your novel as a whole. If each chapter is a radically different size than the last, it may be jarring for the reader. You may want that though. If you have three medium-length chapters followed by a very short one, it is ...


14

You have two options depending on context: 1) If it's a quick exchange and can be figured out in context, put the foreign language in italics. "As-tu le livre?" "Yes, I have the book here." or inline: "You filthy p'taQ!" B'Elanna snarled. 2) If it's a quick exchange without context, put the translation afterwards and italicize that. "Pour ma peine, ...


13

First, commas indicate pauses, so put them where a speaker or reader would naturally pause. "Look, Jones," That one is important, because there's always a bit of a pause between a command and a name. Second, imagine how your speakers are moving physically. Does Dan just point briefly? Does he only mean the castle will belong to Jones? Does he make a ...


12

I know there is tons of disagreement out there, but I have known several people voice their frustration when they see double spaces after periods — I'm no different. It's the 21st century. We don't have typewriters anymore. We have word processors. One space after the period gets the point across. Two spaces after the period feels, to me, somewhat like ...


12

The standard font that I've seen in my experience has been Times New Roman 12pt with 1.5 spacing. Honestly, there is no way to calculate how many pages your book will be until the publisher does all of their unique formatting and prints the book. Books are printed in all different sizes - some large, some small. Publishers also use different margin sizes- ...


11

I'd be inclined to just do a block indent for the web text. If it was pretty short, I might single space it, too, but if it's longer, I think I'd keep it double spaced. And I'd be consistent with that, so if you have ANY longer bits that you're going to want double spaced, I'd double space them all.


11

I have been taught to always leave the first line of a chapter/section unindented, then make all subsequent paragraphs indented. I have also seen all paragraphs indented. I came across a good discussion on first line indents which notes that, in Robert Bringhurst's Elements of Typographic Style, he states that "opening paragraphs" should be "flush left" ...


10

The rule is not "two spaces after a period;" it's "two spaces at the end of a sentence." You will notice that the preceding sentence does not end with a period -- nor does this one! Use two if your text will likely be displayed in a monospace font, such as in e-mail (true e-mail is plain text), a .txt file, source code, or on USENET. It does make it more ...


10

The last line or lines should have some reason for being there. They can: be suspenseful ("What are you doing here?") be funny ("Tinkerty-tonk," I said, and I meant it to sting.) close a scene (She slammed the door behind her, hard enough to make the glass rattle in the windowpanes.) bring resolution to an arc of any size (He held John's eyes for a long ...


10

Web fonts are all over the place these days; I wouldn't stress that. As Kate S. said, block indent. I think you'll get a lot of mileage out of recognizable formatting and context hints, also: To:Lynn From:Erik Subject: Blah blah blah This is a recognizable email format. Block-indented, it would be crystal-clear. Thanks, Erik ErikRobson RT @Lynn If I ...


10

FWIW, I faced exactly this problem in a novel I wrote a few years ago that included a large amount of both spoken and signed dialogue. Having such a large amount of italicized text was distracting for the reasons discussed in other answers, so my approach was a punctuation convention: "Spoken dialogue goes in normal quotes like this," he said. «But ...


9

Follow the standard plot arc: conflict, rising action, and resolution. This is often used to describe plots across a whole novel, but it is equally applicable to a single scene. Each scene needs a conflict of some kind, and the action in that scene will flow from this conflict. When the conflict is resolved (temporarily or permanently), the scene is over. ...


9

It is absolutely acceptable. If your story requires a shift in scenes, for example, it would be totally appropriate to indicate that with some form of break. Whether you identify this by using extra space, an image, or any other means is ultimately a matter of personal preference. The main point is that you are using a common device to let your reader know ...


9

In everyday writing, (say on the web, or an email) I'd use bullets where possible. I think they're more accessible and quicker to scan. Unless there were some reason to actually number things. The Wikipedia style manual spells this out well: Use numbers rather than bullets only if: A need to refer to the elements by number may arise; The ...


8

The way I see it, if the foreign language usage is important to the story, then use it in italics. If not, just avoid putting it explicitly in the text. For example, assume you write a fantasy novel in which Elves always add the word Ur-Sook when addressing little children. Compare: "Not now, Ur-Sook!" the Elf waved the child away. "Not now!" the Elf ...


8

As Yossi Farjoun pointed out on the english.stackexchange incarnation of this question, part of the controversy here comes from a false dichotomy.  There are really two separate questions involved: one of aesthetics, one of implementation. Should text be set with a wider space between sentences?  (‘Wider’ doesn’t have to mean ‘exactly double’, of course.) ...


8

Because a poem is more compact than prose, indentation (and line breaks, spacing, leading, and anything else you can think of) can add additional meaning to the poem. So unlike prose, go ahead and indent however you like... as long as there's a reason for it. In your second example, if the poet likes the idea of pairing the couplets visually, that's the ...


8

The software I use, Scrivener, offers "Project Statistics" which list words, characters, and estimates how many paperback pages (and printed pages) the manuscript will generate. Here's a screen shot of the statistics for a project I'm currently working on: You can see that this is a little less than 400 words per page in paperback. But don't forget that ...


8

It depends on the purpose of including that URL in the first place. If it is a "here's more info about me" site, I'd say put it with your name, address, and email. If it is an example of work you did for a particular employer, then then that block of your employment section makes sense. If it is for a portfolio site, maybe front and center, under your ...


8

Do not add unnecessary details just to fill up your page count of a chapter. The trick in fiction writing is getting rid of the unnecessary stuff, not adding it. Many readers do not want to stop mid-chapter while reading. So you can think about dividing a 30 pages chapter into two chapter, but only if it makes sense to the story. Do not split mid-scene. If ...


8

Markdown is almost certainly the way to go for simple formatting. To then go from Markdown to a proper ebook format, you can use some automated tools to do the conversion for you. Web Book Boilerplate If you want to run locally with your edits, and view them in various formats, the Web Book Boilerplate GitHub project offers an easy way to do this: With ...


8

The question of whether a blank verso facing a chapter title carries its page number is a question of style determined by designers (if their publishing house does not already have a fixed policy.) Since there will be nothing on the page to index, the number is not "necessary" for that purpose. Nevertheless, it will often be be printed simply because it is ...


7

This sounds like the equivalent of the "tabs versus spaces" fight that programmers have. In the end, if you are being held up by the number of spaces after a period, then I'd just quit writing, because you'll never get past that first sentence. Or take the e e cummings approach. Screw punctuation entirely.


7

I would say at the point where you estimate your reader will get to the full stop, curse your name, curse your family's name, swear under their breath and, wearily ignoring the clock telling them they have to be up in four and a half hours for work, mumble: "Go on then, just one more chapter." before looking across to the beginning of the next chapter.


7

Yes, chapters are appropriate for the most part. If you're writing genre fiction, your editor will almost certainly separate into chapters if you don't, anyway--readers often rely on them. If you're not writing genre fiction, of course, you can do whatever the heck you like :) but what is important to keep in mind is that novellas are notoriously hard to ...


7

The best date formats are the ones that are (1) clear and (2) familiar to your audience. You want your readers to focus on the content of your resume/CV, and this will be difficult if they have to "translate" dates to a familiar format in their heads while reading. In general, the two extremes - long, unambiguous dates verses shorter, more informal dates - ...


7

There is no universal answer to this, as there are many ways of indicating emphasis in plain text. Your best bet is to read the submission guidelines of the publication that you're submitting to, as each may have different requirements. In the case of Daily Science Fiction, they have a page of story formatting guidelines. As far as I can tell, they don't ...


6

A short answer: The rule is there is no rule. Now, saying some useful stuff: Unless you want to fit some "standard", the indentation, as most of the punctuation, is yours. Emily Dickinson was heavily criticized for her use of punctuation in her time, although she's widely appreciated nowadays. So, a bit on the standards: every now and then a group of ...



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