Character and Page Styles

Character Styles

Well done. That’s all the paragraph styles sorted. Next we need to add any character styles we need. Confusingly, these styles can’t directly inherit their font information from a paragraph style, but any settings you don’t change are inherited from their underlying one. In most cases this will do what you expect e.g. if you have a character style called, for example, “Shouting” which just sets the font style to bold and you decide to change the font size in the paragraph style, your text using the “Shouting” style will also be resized; however, if you style shouting by using a bigger font, then a change to the paragraph style’s font won’t change the size of the shouting text. The most frustrating thing about this is that it doesn’t let you have relative sizes e.g. there is no way of saying “make these characters 20% bigger than the rest of the text in the paragraph”. Be aware that if you are wanting to use a character style to increase the size of some text, then, because we have Register-true turned on, the line the bigger text is on will move down the page in increments of paragraph line heights rather than just moving down enough to fit on the bigger text.

You might be wondering at this point why you have to bother with character styles when you could just use direct formatting (e.g. by clicking on the bold and italics icons). There are two reasons for doing it this way. The first reason is that (as of this writing) the Smashwords export has to have all the direct formatting stripped. The second is that it enables us to distinguish between elements that have the same visual appearance but for different reasons (i.e. a date might be italicised for stylistic purposes whereas some words in a piece of dialogue might be italicised to add emphasise to them). Using character styles, these two elements can be rendered differently where appropriate.

Excerpt from Equilateral by Robert A Wood showing a character style being used
Excerpt from Equilateral by Robert A Wood showing a character style being used.

Go on, create any character styles you need. Done? Good, that just leaves us with our page styles to do (the other style types are for things like tables and bulleted lists, which you probably don’t need in a novel, but if you do, add them now).

Page Styles

In the same way that paragraph styles apply to a single paragraph, page styles only apply to a single page, so once you have finished typing a page, a new page is created with a new style. You might, therefore, be surprised to find out that we don’t need to create separate Novel-Page-Odd and Novel-Page-Even styles. The reason for this is that page styles handily understand that odd and even pages commonly have their border etc. mirrored. This convenience goes some way to alleviate the annoyance that page styles currently can’t inherit from other page styles. You’ll just have to remember that if, at a later date, you decide to change, for example, the page size of the book you are going to produce, you have to set it in every page style individually.

Anyway, let’s get to work. Create a new page style (make sure it is a page style and not a frame style!) and call it “Novel-Page” and set the next style to be “Novel-Page” too. On the first tab, “Page”, the most important setting is the page size. This gets set to the size book you want to create on CreateSpace. Here I’m going to use 13.34cm by 20.32cm as this seems like a good size for a quality paperback to me (the reason for the peculiar sounding size is that CreateSpace uses inches). We then need to set the layout to mirrored (so we don’t have deal with odd and even styles). When you select mirrored in the “Page Layout” dropdown, you’ll see that the left and right margins have been renamed inner and outer. The inner margin is the one that appears next to the spine of the book. This inner margin needs to be set slightly bigger than the outer margin to account for the binding. If you have gone with the same size book as me, then an inner margin of 1.91cm and an outer one of 1.27cm are reasonable choices. Whilst you’re at it, set the top and bottom ones. I use 1.02cm and 0.76 for them respectively.

Now we need to turn “Register-true” on and set the reference style. If you remember, “Register-true” is how we make sure that text on all the pages lines up neatly. The reference style we want to snap things to is our Novel-Paragraph style.

That’s that tab done with. The next one we need to deal with is the “Header” one. Here we want to make sure that we have the header turned on, as we are going to be putting stuff in it. Exactly what stuff we put in there isn’t set in stone. I like having the book title and my name up there, other books go for the chapter title. If you’re doing it the same as me, you want to uncheck that “Same content left/right” option as we’ll be putting the book title on the odd pages and the author’s name on the even ones. Next we have the left and right margin, which is in addition to the page’s margin so leave those at 0. “Spacing” refers to the amount of padding between the header and the body text. It can be left at 0.5 cm or you can experiment with other values.

Excerpt from Equilateral by Robert A Wood in which the header shows book title on the odd pages and author's name on the even ones
Excerpt from Equilateral by Robert A Wood in which the header shows book title on the odd pages and author’s name on the even ones.

Next, the “Footer” tab. This is setup identically to header with the exception that we do want the same content on both even and odd pages (the page number), so don’t uncheck same content left/right. The borders, columns and footnotes tabs are all left as is (nb footnotes are a bit tricky to convert, but they aren’t that common in fiction, so hopefully you don’t need them!)

Ok, so that’s our basic page set up. We also need a page style for our front matter. The main differences between the front matter and the rest of the book is that it doesn’t have headers and footers, nor do its pages count towards the page numbering of the book. So go ahead and create one of those. If you have a forward or prolog in your book, you will need a page style for this too. Forwards in books generally use Roman numerals for their page numbering.

Series Navigation<< Paragraph styles cont.Advanced Page Numbering and Headers >>

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