Questions tagged [formatting]

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

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23
votes
9answers
36k 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 a fiction manuscript? Should the foreign words be italicized and include a translation? Should it just be included in the ...
12
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
438 views

What is generally the accepted format style for telepathic communication in the midst of verbal communication?

At this point in my story, it's already been revealed that 2 characters share a telepathic link with one another that allows them to communicate to each other with their minds. "Now before we get ...
11
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
72
votes
9answers
14k views

The Good, the Bad, and the Semicolon

I completed my novel and an editor friend graciously offered to assist me with formatting. As a former scientist, I am more familiar with technical or academic writing, so formatting fiction can be a ...
25
votes
11answers
76k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
3k views

In end user documentation, should screenshots come before or after the text that references them?

The end user documentation I'm writing makes use of screenshots (and partial screenshots) to show the user what I'm referring to in procedural instructions or conceptual explanations of the software. ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Should I use ellipses or em dashes to denote pauses in speech?

I flipped open its latch and peered inside. A—gold tooth? I flipped open its latch and peered inside. A ... gold tooth? Was it an elephant? No, elephants didn't frequent beaches. It ...
4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

How to write a telephone conversation in a novel?

If Closed Captioning on TV is any guide, then dialogue heard over a phone would be in italics, not in quotes. The same would apply to dialogue audible when the phone is on speaker and as over a walkie-...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Formatting Text from a Sign

I have a dialog heavy scene in which one of the characters walks up to a door marked with a sign. I wrote A warning etched under the sign read “Electromagnetics strictly prohibited.” Is it correct ...
1
vote
2answers
129 views

What is the formal way to write a reference in English?

I am writing my thesis and I need to know the correct way of putting the reference. For example: This is a sentence taken from someone [2]. This is a sentence taken from someone[2]. This ...
14
votes
4answers
580 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
60k 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?
18
votes
7answers
2k views

Indicating multiple different modes of speech (fantasy language or telepathy)

All the viewpoint characters in my story are orcs and speak Orcish as their native tongue, but some are bilingual: they use English to talk to humans. Additionally, the main character has a magic ...
8
votes
3answers
544 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. ...
10
votes
2answers
3k 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 bullets? ...
9
votes
9answers
15k views

Adding breaks in a novel—spaces, asterisks, or a chapter break?

I am editing my first novel and wherever I find a natural break in the story, I add a few spaces. I want to go back and adjust what types of breaks those are, but how best to represent those spaces in ...
5
votes
3answers
53k views

Is there a standard for dealing with lyrics in dialogue and narration in creative writing?

I'm peer-reviewing/editing a paper for a final in my English course and in it, the author has a character singing a song (of the author's creation). The character is singing in dialogue, like so: "...
4
votes
5answers
3k views

How to format multiple inner voices, differentiating the text from dialogue? and omnipresent inner voice

For the occasional use of inner voice, Italics are usually recommended. However I have a protagonist who is speaking with himself all the time, and Italics use quickly becomes tiring and distracting....
1
vote
4answers
123 views

Is it a bad idea to use footnotes to describe new technologies in a science-fiction novel?

I am wondering if we can use footnotes to describe technologies used in a science-fiction novel instead of describing it by switching from an omniscient POV, that describes everything in a poetic way, ...
1
vote
2answers
181 views

Style when intentionally misspelling?

I am copyediting and doing layout on a play that includes a few plays on words and intentional misspellings. At first glance they read like typos. I am wondering if the convention is that I should be ...
16
votes
4answers
9k 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. "...
7
votes
2answers
29k views

How to format news, poems, text messages, and other kinds of written text?

I always find myself wondering how to format written text: news (on TV and newspapers), text messages (from a cellphone), lyrics, and poems. Right now, I just put them in a new paragraph and italicize ...
7
votes
4answers
310 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

How Do I Write a News Broadcast Montage in Different Locations in a Screenplay?

I want to write a sequence in my screenplay where the same news broadcast continues on different screens in different locations. For example, a bunch of people in a bar are watching the broadcast, ...
6
votes
2answers
2k 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?
4
votes
2answers
271 views

Including text file name in footer of compiled Scrivener document?

I'm working on a short story collection using scrivener. Each story is one text file in the scrivener document. I'd like to include the story name in the footer, next to the page number. Is that ...
4
votes
2answers
217 views

How do I fix a text wall when I already have one?

When I write answers to questions on the stack exchange network my end result is often quite lengthy. While length itself isn't a problem for me, sometimes my answers end up like this. This happens ...
4
votes
2answers
154 views

Formatting multiple languages while avoiding italics for native speakers in their POV

Looking at this question, I was trying to figure out how to format a small family of novels and short stories that use a number of languages. My original approach went with the above question's style. ...
4
votes
4answers
440 views

Are paragraph spaces used for emphasis?

I am writing a story and I have these 3 sentences that elaborate on the ending of a first page. This way the reader will continue to read my story. My question is, am I allowed to place paragraph ...
4
votes
4answers
135 views

What format should I use when beginning a chapter with the time and location of the events?

What format should I use when beginning a chapter with the time and location of the events? I was thinking to use: Nine pm. Sunday, in Los Angeles, CA, USA. but I don't think it looks good, so I ...
3
votes
1answer
485 views

Show the translation of foreign language thoughts in a manuscript?

Background Part of an English story takes place in rural South America, where Spanish is the native tongue. Problem A Spanish character thinks to himself. In English (i.e., in the story's native ...
3
votes
4answers
372 views

Position of Footnote on Page

This question isn't about a case that I have a problem with; it's just a purely hypothetical thing that I've been thinking about. Suppose you are writing a book or maybe an article for a journal. At ...
3
votes
2answers
210 views

How do you keep up with all the ebook formats?

There are three main ebook formats that I'm aware of, which look like this: PDF (you have full control over layout) mobi (Amazon - fluid...not much control) epub (Nook, iBookstore...not much control) ...
3
votes
1answer
770 views

Do you italicize fictitious television show in fiction book?

In a fiction novel. For example: Sanjay was watching World News. World News is a real television program so it's in italics. But what about: Sanjay was watching Dingdong News. Should Dingdong News be ...
2
votes
4answers
6k views

Capitalized opening lines

I've noticed that novels and short stories nowadays capitalize the first sentence. Example (This is from Joe Hill's Throttle): Two questions: 1) What's the font size of the capitalized text (right ...
2
votes
1answer
405 views

How do I avoid writing text walls in the first place?

I've recently asked a question about editing away text walls once I've already made the mistake of creating one, but it would probably be best not to have them in the first place. What writing ...
2
votes
1answer
130 views

Typography for a book?

I know this must vary based on preference. I haven't gone to school for writing but regardless have started writing a book. I have a few chapters done, and need to start format and editing it. Should ...