1. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Manuscript formatting - chapter headings

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Tenderiser, Oct 31, 2015.

    I keep reading that chapter headings should start around 1/3 of the way down a new page, with space before and after. A new page I can understand, but why 1/3 of the way down? Is it for the reader to make overall notes about the chapter once they've read it? Is it still relevant in a digital age - most formatting advice articles are several years old when posting paper manuscripts was more common?

    It looks so ugly to me having the random space, and if I understand why I should be doing it I can get over my resistance. :D
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Isn't that for the published version? DO you really have to do even that kind of things before submitting? I've never done that. I thought it was better to let those details to the ones who will make the book?
    Or are you publishing your own book?
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm going to try and get traditionally published - self-publishing would be a last resort. I'm putting the manuscript in standard submission format, and most guides include the '1/3 down the page' rule. Everything else they advise I can understand, just not this one!
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I imagine the 1/3 of the way down the page rule is to make it crystal clear that a new chapter is starting? Without that extra space, it can be a bit unclear on those occasions that the previous chapter ended close to the end of the page.

    That said, I don't format that in, and I've never had a complaint about it. "Chapter X", a blank line or two, and then the chapter.
     
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  5. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, that's good to know. :)

    They're all headed 'Chapter 1/2/3/etc' so that confusion wouldn't arise. I might just put a couple of lines around it rather than a huge space, unless an agent specifically requests a different format.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    As BayView said.

    The agent/editor simply wants to be able to read the manuscript in a clear and efficient manner. The chapter spacing is for the reader benefit when it's published and your publisher will take care of that.

    In general you can center and bold the chapter ...Chapter 1

    And at the end of the chapter, do a page break to start another chapter.

    If there is a scene break use a # centered to identify that. Normally when published, just an extra space is included in the novel's format. Again, the publisher will look that over.

    Normally you will receive a galley to proof (the novel's entire layout) to review prior to it going to print/release, where you can check this concern and more.
     
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  7. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks. :) It's definitely being recommend for submission format though, not print. That's the bit I don't get.
     
  8. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    At this point, unless you're intending to self-publish, stick to submission format concerns. Many agents/publishers indicate their manuscript submission preferences on their website, which is generally easy to provide for them.

    Manuscript format and book format are two different items or two different realms because they serve two different purposes (or audiences).

    Wishing you great success as you press forward!
     
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  9. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    That's what I'm saying! The articles are telling me for submission format I should be putting the chapter heading 1/3 down the page and leaving space after it, too. I'm trying to work out why they're advising that because it looks really weird to me.

    The agents I'm looking at don't go into that much detail about the format they want, so I'm guessing it'll be like @BayView said and as long as it's presentable and easy to read they won't reject me for something silly like chapter headings. But I'd still rather give them as few reasons as possible to reject me, so if the 1/3 down the page thing is standard and there's a good reason for it, I want to be doing it. I just want to understand why :supermad:

    Thank you!
     
  10. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Here are a few examples so people can see what I'm talking about:

    http://theeditorsblog.net/2011/01/05/format-your-novel-for-submission/

    chapters: Begin chapters on new pages (insert a page break or format using styles). Center the chapter title, even if it’s only Chapter One (or Chapter 1), about 1/3 of the way down the page. Skip a couple of spaces and begin the text of the chapter.

    http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/what-are-the-guidelines-for-formating-a-manuscript

    Start each new chapter on its own page, one-third of the way down the page.

     
  11. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    @Tenderiser
    It's mostly for readability and easy-to-see chapter breaks.
    Most publishers will expect it and probably have it in their guidelines if they don't simply refer to Shunn's format guide directly >.>

    Even if you don't think it looks nice, it won't affect the end product.
    What really bothers me is when publishers want the headers to be on the left side rather than the right... Now that's an eyesore.
     
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  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Eep. I've never seen a reference to Shunn's format guide on any agent websites, or seen it come up in Google searches. I have lots to learn... but luckily I'm not planning to submit for a good few months yet. Just thinking ahead of myself as always. :)
     
  13. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Maybe there isn't a reason ... maybe it's just their submission rules ... like some I've submitted to who wanted "first three chapters in double space full justified with author's name at the top of every page ..." etc.

    Saying that, I do like to have a gap at the top of the page where a new chapter starts, although not quite a full third. But when re-formatting for paperback, you need to remember to allow for back pages so that each new chapter begins on a facing page.

    But then if you're going with a trad publisher, they should do all that for you.
     
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  14. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never centered my chapter headings. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to do it, just that it's clearly not a deal-breaker if you don't.
     
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  15. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The more agent guidelines I look at, the more I get the impression that as long as you don't submit it in pink Comic Sans size 8, it's probably okay. I suppose if they had particular bug bears, they would mention them in submission guidelines to give them an excuse to weed you out quickly. Here's hoping, anyway :D
     
  16. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Comic Sans!!! Will someone pleeeeeaaaassseeee kill that font!

    o_O:D:D
     
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  17. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Comic Sans!!! Will someone pleeeeeaaaassseeee kill that font!

    o_O:D:D
     
  18. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My first draft was entirely in pink Comic Sans, I'll have you know. I felt it gave a certain weight to my words :cool:
     
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  19. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    *slaps head and faints*

    :cry:
    :supershock::supershock::supershock:
     
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