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Old 08-01-2010, 11:53 AM   #1
Mike
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Default How do YOU do it?

I'm designing a novel that is to be published with US-style spelling, punctuation, etc.

I've noticed in some US novels I've read recently that they tend not to have the first paragraph of a chapter set full out but indent it the same as the others. Is that the standard way of doing it your side of the pond?

What about the first paragraph after a line space? Is that normally set full out or indented?

And what about line space markers or decorations? We normally only use them when a line space is the last or first line of a page. Is that the normal method in the US as well?

I don't know if this novel is any good or not as I haven't read it yet but I think the publisher is hoping it will sell well in the US. It's set in Juáraz and is set against the background of the murdered women which, the author says, have been overshadowed in recent years by the general level of violence there.

   
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Old 08-01-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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I've noticed in some US novels I've read recently that they tend not to have the first paragraph of a chapter set full out but indent it the same as the others. Is that the standard way of doing it your side of the pond?
Not the standard, no. U.S. style is like the English: no indents for first lines at the start, after subheads or other interruptions in the text.

Fiction from mainstream publishers will probably follow the rules you are familiar with, or most of them anyway. (Except with regard to quotation marks, of course.) But not all books come from mainstream publishers these days, and others may make their own rules.

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And what about line space markers or decorations? We normally only use them when a line space is the last or first line of a page. Is that the normal method in the US as well?
Don’t think this is so regulated as to have common practice. Sometimes we use small decorations to mark a break in thought or action that is not otherwise indicated whether it ends the page or not. And many books simply leave them all blank.

Unless the text is set in sans serif, there aren’t many line spaces. Most books are set in roman, except manuals and other technical works. But they probably do not use any decorations in techie books, in empty lines or anywhere else.

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I don't know if this novel is any good or not as I haven't read it yet but I think the publisher is hoping it will sell well in the US.
I doubt (fear?) American readers are likely to notice any niceties of typography. So much of what we read today is set sort of creatively by designers or others with no training in typography that you could describe the American style as “anything goes.” But that doesn’t mean you need to contribute to it! <g>

   
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:26 PM   #3
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Mike:
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I've noticed in some US novels I've read recently that they tend not to have the first paragraph of a chapter set full out but indent it the same as the others
That was pretty common fifty or sixty years ago in USA, but it is not standard now. I didn't observe much about typography then, but that jarred.

   
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Old 08-02-2010, 05:20 AM   #4
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An indent is given in a paragraph to lead the eye to the start of the next paragraph when it ends the prior one (which may be at any point across the measure).

Such an indicator is not needed when the prior line is a heading or a blank line (actually, try a half or third of a line for the blank line ... it often works better).

As for the effect of typography on sales, as others say it probably isn't a initial factor. However, bad typography can harm a book, as people will be less than satisfied with it (perhaps without knowing why) and thus less likely to recommend it to others.
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Old 08-02-2010, 06:59 AM   #5
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Small nit to pick before the fiesta de paragraphy commences:

Shouldn't that be Juárez rather than Juáraz ?

   
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:56 AM   #6
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Shouldn't that be Juárez rather than Juáraz ?
Oops! Mia culpa.

Thanks for pointing that out. The author spelled correctly but I misspelled it in the running heads. Must remember to send the corrected version to the publisher before it goes for bound proofs.

   
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:46 PM   #7
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Err ... "mea" not "mia"?
;-)

   
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Old 08-04-2010, 01:17 AM   #8
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Err... yes... (he says, suddenly signing an Abba tune.)

   
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Old 08-04-2010, 02:51 AM   #9
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Err... yes... (he says, suddenly signing an Abba tune.)
Um, maybe singing rather than signing?

Sorry, but I couldn't resist jumping on the bandwagon (and carefully proof-reading my response).

   
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:11 AM   #10
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Ah, spell checkers. I generally turn them off or ignore them.

Better the certainty that I *will* make mistakes than the false security of knowing that my computer protects me from doing sew. ;-)

   
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