Question Hi, I just finished writing 320 page romance. I know the basics of to format a manuscript. I printed out my first three chapters and query letter then it occurred to me that typing my manuscript in double space, wouldn't that make my chapters come up short? I know most chapters are between 8-10 pages. With double spacing they would be short. Do I need to adjust the length of my chapters so they come out right in print?
Answer Hi, Sandy!
I saw your question in the question pool and thought I'd try to help out since I publish romance novels for a living. I guess I'm a little confused about your question, though. The length of a chapter in double spaced text is the same as single spaced. How would it make them shorter? And actually, chapters can be any length, so long as the chapter end comes at a logical point. Try to end each chapter at a critical moment, so the reader feels compelled to turn the page. It can be an action scene or an emotional one---sort of a like a commercial break in a television movie. You have to give the reader a REASON to turn the page. But for length, it really doesn't matter. I have some chapters that are only a page or two and many that are thirty pages or more.
Also, you'll have to start thinking in terms of word count, rather than pages, when it comes time to submit. That's all the publisher is going to want to know, because page length varies depending on your font style and point size. I wrote up a guide to manuscript formatting that might help you out. I posted it over at a writers website where I spend a lot of time (I'm the romance moderator there.) Here's a link:
I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.
I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.
Organizations Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.
Publications Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.
Education/Credentials My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.
Awards and Honors USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.