Writing Books/Manuscript


This is in response to the question I asked below.  I forgot to mention that the book is fiction.

Followup To
Question -
Thank you for your time.

I am writing a manuscript and I was wondering if I am supposed to number the chapters in the manuscript and how I would do this properly.  Also, how many manuscript pages make up a final book page?

Again thank you for your time.
Answer -
Misty, please tell me whether your book is fiction or non-fiction. That influences the answer greatly. When you have done that, I will address your questions.

Dear Misty:

As you know if you have read other fiction books, authors treat their chapters in many different ways. You will see chapters numbered in numerals "Chapter 6," or spelled out, "Chapter Six," or just a plain "6" or "Six." Some will have quotes as chapter headers, many will not.  Sometimes there is only a line: "~~~~~~~" to separate segments. It is your choice. Use whatever looks good and feels right to you.

You will also know that books come in many sizes. Some are very long, some short. The Bridges of Madison County is a short book, Stephen King's It a long one. If you are dealing with fiction, you are dealing with story. Stories have three parts: a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning should be just long enough to get the characters enmeshed in the action. The middle should be longer - the bulk of the book - and the ending should be short and wrap things up, as it were. Once they're wrapped up, quit.

No one but you can say how long your book should be. It should be long enough to tell the story and no longer. In it there should be a good mix/balance of dialogue, action, internal monologue (if appropriate) and narrative. It is up to you to create this balance the best way you know how. As you go on to write other books, your sense of what constitutes a good balance will grow and develop.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my "straight 10" record over 140+ questions!

Good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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