Today, I’m going to wind up the series on creating a Clean Manuscript with some words about Styles.
You may have heard about them. If you’re like me, you have ignored them for way too long.
Styles tie in your manuscript with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), which in turn are an essential part of ebooks.
Remember I said ebooks are basically websites?
Well, websites use html for content, and CSS for looks.
In other words, you use Styles to determine how your ebook looks. And using them also makes formatting for print easier.
And that’s why I’m suggesting to use Styles in your manuscript even as you write. It’s shockingly simple for a novel manuscript – you need exactly two Styles: Text Body (if you want to get fancy, you can also use First Line Indent, as I do), and Heading 1. That covers the normal text of your manuscript and the chapter headers. Oh, and using Title for your title is kind of obvious, which makes it three.
Every decent word processor uses Styles. And once you define how exactly your First Line Indent and your Headers look, all you need to do is mark the header when you start a new chapter because the First Line Indent becomes the default you get by adding another paragraph.
I’m showing you how to do this in LibreOffice right here.
It’s similar in Word, but you may have to look around in their weird menu tree to find it.
Best part of using Styles diligently? You can import your manuscript into Jutoh and create an ebook out of it almost instantly.
(I say almost because you do need to add a copyright page, acknowledgement and backmatter stuff to your plain manuscript to make your ebook pull some weight, but that’s fine. You can copy/paste those pages from another ebook and simply edit them to fit the current one.)
So, are you ready to adopt Styles?
Are there problems?
What else do you need to know?
Let me know in a comment!
Here are handy links to the rest of the series. I’m suggesting to start with Part 1. Ahem.
Part 1: Why You Should Create a Clean Manuscript
Part 2: How to Indent and Add a Page Break for a Clean Manuscript
Part 3: The Pitfalls of Quotation Marks in Creating a Clean Manuscript