To double space, or not to double space. That is the question.

J.D.Rajotte

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I've just about finished putting the edits on my first book and I'm just polishing it up to publish. Problem is, I've single spaced every line of dialogue and narration throughout the entire book. Ex:

Johnny poked Suzan in the ribs.
"Ouch!" Exclaimed Suzan. "Whatch the merchandise you dick!"
"Sorry," Replied Johnny. "I didn't realize you were such a wuss."

As opposed to...

Johnny poked Suzan in the ribs.

"Ouch!" Exclaimed Suzan. "Whatch the merchandise you dick!"

"Sorry," Replied Johnny. "I didn't realize you were such a wuss."

Now I've seen this single spacing style in several books, without an occasional double space in-between long portions of text. Should I implement some double spacing here and there to make reading easier? Or just leave it be excluding the natural breaks between chapters?
 

Alex The G and T

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When writing a joke, attempting to mimic verbal timing. Because timing is everything when writing a joke, I find that spacing and line breaks are paramount for visual representation of vocal pauses and hesitations.

As far as what an editor wants for line breaks, I haven't a clue.

If you really want to start an argument; discuss one space, or two, after a period.
 

Swank

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Have you looked inside a published book? All the ones on my shelf are single spaced and indented.
 

Droflet

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Ask your agent or publisher. Back when I got published they all demanded double space.
 

Toby Frost

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I wouldn't change the format of the text mid-novel. The books I've self-published have been entirely single-spaced, in reasonable-sized text, and nobody's ever complained. If you're submitting to an agent or publisher, I would find out what they require and do exactly that.

(Oh, and that ought to be "watch".)
 

Jo Zebedee

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No double space - that convention dates back to the time of typewriters and isn't needed on screens. But, sorry, your dialogue tags are not correct.

‘Ouch!‘ exclaimed

and ,‘ replied.

I’d also suggest neither are actually needed.

if you haven’t already hit the publish button I’d recommend you pop some up on Critiques. There are bigger things here for reviewers to slam you on than your spacing.
 

tinkerdan

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If you really want to start an argument; discuss one space, or two, after a period.
This is the double space that was necessary in typewriters that had variable spacing based on the keys and the period was virtually no spaces around it so it needed a second space from the next sentence to give the last sentence breathing room.

Computer fonts do not suffer that problem and putting those in will eventually annoy editors who have to take them all out.
When I learned typing on a typewriter I had to build the habit of two spaces and when computers came along it took a while to break that habit and it did annoy the first editors I worked with.

As to line spacing.
Depending on how you are publishing.
You need to find out the publisher or editor rules for how they want the manuscript.

If you self publish then you can do as you please.
However:

Johnny poked Suzan in the ribs.
"Ouch!" Exclaimed Suzan. "Whatch the merchandise you dick!"
"Sorry," Replied Johnny. "I didn't realize you were such a wuss."
This reads well enough.

Johnny poked Suzan in the ribs

"Ouch!" Exclaimed Suzan. "Whatch the merchandise you dick!"

"Sorry," Replied Johnny. "I didn't realize you were such a wuss."
This might become annoying.

Also too much double line spacing would increase your books page requirements and look like you are trying to stuff the book with extra pages and when self publishing that will drive the price of the book up pretty fast out of reasonable range. But if you have written a short story you could easily turn it into what appeared like a novel or novella by all those double spaced lines.

An interesting story.
My first novel was 256kwords and took up 630 pages.
However when I submitted it to Xlibris they said they couldn't publish it as it was because it was well over 800 pages.
I had sent the manuscript double spaced and they had left it that way when trying to determine the number of pages it would take.
So, yes, it is important to know what the requirements are, of the people you work with.
 

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