Friday, January 29, 2010

Chapter breaks

Someone asked me, "Should I start a new page after a chapter break?" that is, start the new chapter on a new page, or just skip a few lines and start it at the end of the last chapter.

I think what matters is... do you need this ms to be longer or shorter? :)

Keep in mind that whatever you do, the editor will do it house style. But if you're over 400 pages, well, save the white space and start a few lines down.

Not that any editor is dumb enough to be fooled by page count. Well, I am, but generally we do pay much more attention to word count.

Can't hurt though. It looks like 399 pages? Good!

Remember when books were 550 pages?



Dave Shaw said...

So are you saying we should present our flawed works in the best light, Alicia? ;-)

Edittorrent said...

Well, can't hurt. You could happen on to a dumb editor like me who can't figure out your tricks! :)

James Pray said...

Which "word count" do you pay attention to? I've heard some parties say word count = 250 x pages, in which case white space could be a pretty big deal - but if you care about the actual number of words in the ms, seems like it wouldn't matter. Which is, I think, what you said here? said...

I like the look of starting a new chapter on a new page. cleaner.

Edittorrent said...

Yes, it is cleaner, and I like that look, too. But we have to take out all those page breaks before we send the document to the typesetter. What we're really talking about are working files, not finished files. I think you have more leeway in working files.

Kiolia, there are two schools of thought on the word count thing. I should probably do a post on this explaining the differences in the word counting methods and how that translates into production details. But for now, just check the guidelines. If they specify a counting method, use that. If they don't, you can specify the method you use in your query letter.


Riley Murphy said...

I start a new page for each chapter, but then, if the word count doesn't work - I've been known to shore it up. ;)

Remember when books were 550 pages?

Yep, I remember. I was reading those suckers during high school and university. Calling: Anna Karenina! But I didn’t complain. I was a waitress at the time, and I kept a book in each pocket while I worked (note: that’s when I was thin enough to carry that off. Now? Um, not so much ;) ) But hey, they came in handy. If any of my customers got adventurous - I’d pull those hefty babies out and whack ‘em with it. :D