Designing the Interior of your novel

Whoever believes interior design is an art must be deathly in love with the craft.

I find it to be a science more along the lines of physics.

Even though I am not a novice, using Adobe Indesign to construct the interior of my novel was not as easy as I imagined.

After laying out the margins correctly:

.25 inch margins (that is what Createspace recommends) I find .50 inch margins to be cleaner.

.75 inches for the gutter

There were other points I had to consider such as:

How many blank pages would I have in the beginning of the novel?

There has to be a copyright, acknowledgements, and so on.

Not only that, but there also has to be enough  blank pages so that my first chapter would end up on an odd page.

If one is also looking at novels, they might have noticed that blank pages are starting to be styled as well.

How much space would I leave for my page numbers and where would I place them?

Out of a slight desire to be lazy, I modeled my interior design off of Stephanie Meyer’s New Moon. If she can do without a title and author in the header, so can I.  

How am I going to design the opening of each new chapter?

It is industry standard never to indent the first paragraph of each chapter.

It can, however, be stylized with the first few words in all caps or through the use of drop caps.

How am I going to show breaks in the chapter?

Page breaks are also never indented. Many do take liberty with the style of the page breaks.

I have seen them styled with four asterisks or a simple space of .25 in leading.

I had to ask myself what fonts do I desire to use for my chapter headings, page numbers, footers, and so on.

This was the hardest decision to make, forcing me to find a font that would speak to the mood of my novel.

Always erring on the side of simplicity, I just chose one of the fonts I used for the cover of my novel.

Finally, how am I to organize this information, so that I have one coherent style across my manuscript?

Organize everything in paragraph and character styles once you have got the look of the first chapter.

My biggest mistake was going through a discovery process as I went through each chapter.

I found out how I wanted to break my chapters in chapter one, but did not figure out the font for my chapter headings till chapter twelve.

This forced me to have to go back to the beginning and update my character and paragraph styles over and over again.

Such a process added hours onto my work. Mind you, I had chosen to use the Adobe book feature, thinking it would be easier to organize and manage the chapters.

Once everything is organized into character and paragraph styles, it is just click and point from there.

Curious about Adobe Indesign?

Adobe Indesign is used primarily for layouts and can be a great tool for interior design.

I sharpened my skills with the program utilizing

To sum up the entire article, here are some tips to constructing a clean manuscript:
  1.       .25 in outside margins at least (I like .50)
  2.       .75 in gutter (inside margins)
  3.       Size 12 pt or 14 pt for body copy
  4.       1.5 * (font size of body to determine the leading)
  5.       Test and plan all in chapter one: chapter fonts, page number fonts, header information, chapter openings, and page breaks
  6.       Master paragraph and character styles
  7.       Do not indent the first paragraph in a chapter
  8.       Do not indent chapter breaks
  9.       Use .25 in for paragraph indents
  10.       REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW for orphans and widows, awkward spacing, and mistakes
Intimidated by design?

Do not be. Anyone who is on a budget can construct the interior of their novel.

My suggestion is, never feel one has to be extravagant. Readers are reading for the story, not for the interior design.

I do have to admit, interesting and unique interior design can sometimes be the icing on the cake.

Check out one of my favorites, The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton, an author who will soon be featured on my blog.

Her interior and exterior design is awesome.


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